Eight inducted into the 2016 Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame

Benson, Minn. – Eight new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 30th in Benson, Minn.

The new inductees honored were Paul Cyr, Lyle Freudenberg, Tom Keating, Al “Swede” Olson, Brad Pike, Eric Sanders, Paul Vaith, and Joel Viss. Many past Hall of Fame inductees were in attendance.

MWCA Coach of the Year honorees were Matt Ryan of Kenyon-Wanamingo – Class A, Jamie Heidt of Kasson-Mantorville – Class AA, and Todd Springer of Anoka – Class AAA.

The MWCA selected Matt Ryan as State Head Coach of the Year. Selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year was Les Engler of Minneota. Ryan and Engler, along with MWCA Mr. Minnesota Wrestler selection Mark Hall of Apple Valley represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State (NWCA) award winners, which qualifies them for further NWCA honors at the Regional and National levels.

The MWCA presented State Champion and State Runners-up awards based on the unofficial individual state tournament scoring to: Class A – 1st Frazee, 2nd Dover-Eyota; Class AA – 1st Kasson-Mantorville, 2nd Simley; Class AAA – 1st St. Michael-Albertville, 2nd Apple Valley. Check out 2016 individual-based State team scores here: Class A | Class AA | Class AAA.

Eugene Hildebrandt of St. James was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for coaching longevity.

2016 Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame inductees. Front (L-R): Paul Cyr, Lyle Freudenberg, Paul Vaith, and Eric Sanders. Back (L-R): Al "Swede" Olsen, Joel Viss, and Brad Pike. Not pictured: the late Tom Keating.
2016 Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame inductees. Front (L-R): Paul Cyr, Lyle Freudenberg, Paul Vaith, and Eric Sanders. Back (L-R): Al “Swede” Olson, Joel Viss, and Brad Pike. Not pictured: the late Tom Keating.

Photos by Jill Schmidt.

2016 Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame inductees

[eztable th=”0″ width=”450″]Inductee,Presenter
Paul Cyr,Shawn Larson
Lyle Freudenberg, Jared and Josh Freudenberg
Tom Keating, Erin Keating and Brendan Keating
Al “Swede” Olson,Pat Wolfe
Brad Pike,Mark Voyce
Eric Sanders,Ron Sanders
Paul Vaith,Josh McLay
Joel Viss,Spencer Yohe[/eztable]

Paul Cyr, Coach

Paul attended Oklee High School. He thought that he was a basketball player until coach Charlie Bishop arrived in Oklee in the fall of 1970 and convinced him otherwise. After graduating in 1972, he attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, where he earned an education degree in 1978, which was part of his 23-year college career (off and on), which had stops at Moorhead State, St. John’s (a lot of life’s lessons), Bemidji State (Masters Degree in Math Education), and concluded at Mankato State (6th year Certificate, principal’s license) in 1995. Paul began his coaching career in 1977 at Fertile-Beltrami, helping to lay the foundation for a team that would win four consecutive Region 8 titles. After taking some time away from teaching, attending St. John’s (helping John Elton coach in 1982-83), he took a job in New Richland, first with New Richland-Hartland, and then with the consolidated NRHEG school. Paul taught math, was the middle school principal, and finally the HS principal during his 27 years in new Richland. His coaching record was 445-304-12. His teams collected 11 conference titles, and four of his teams qualified for the MSHSL tournament. He had six wrestlers win seven state championships, and three of his former wrestlers went on to win national titles: Kory Mosher (Fertile-Beltrami/UND), Joe Moon (NRHEG/Augsburg), and Matt Petsinger (NRHEG/MSU-Mankato). Paul prided himself in having teams that were in very good condition and were excellent on their feet.

Paul served as the MWCA President in 2009-10. He is a competitive trap shooter and served as the President of the Owatonna Gun Club for a number of years before he moved back to Oklee. He will be inducted into the Minnesota Trapshooting Hall of Fame this July for his contributions to the sport. He is currently in his 42nd year as a MSHSL official an umpire. He was honored as Section Coach of the year in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2013. Today, Paul gives back to the sport as a volunteer assistant at RLCC in Oklee. He also is the voice of RLCC wrestling as announcer and scorekeeper at their home meets. Paul is also a substitute teacher, and as he likes to tell his students, “I have four jobs: subbing, reffing and umpiring, hunting ducks, and shooting trap. Two of those involve a shotgun going off, so speak up!”

Lyle Freudenberg, Coach

Lyle Freudenberg attended Parker’s Prairie High School where he participated in football, wrestling, and track. As a senior, Lyle was third in the State at 138 pounds in the one class system. He lost to Mark Lange from Caledonia in a hard fought semifinal match. Years afterward, Lange would talk about his first state title, saying, “I don’t remember his name, but that kid from Parker’s Prairie was one tough dude”. Lyle played offensive guard and linebacker in football and also participated in track and field, but went out mainly because his football and wrestling coach, Andy McCarty, also coached track and field.

After graduation, Freudenberg enrolled at Moorhead State where he wrestled for Bill Garland’s Dragons. As a senior captain, Lyle went 24-3 and was an NSIC Conference Champion. After graduating from Moorhead, Freudenberg was hired to teach biology and chemistry in Oakes, North Dakota, where he was also called on to coach football, wrestling and track.

After three enjoyable years, Lyle was hired as a science at Foley High School where he remained for 36 years, serving as head wrestling coach for the last 32 years. Under Coach Freudenberg, Foley qualified for the state tournament 20 times, placing every year except one. Foley took the Consolation Championship five times, placed fourth twice, finished third six times, were two-time state runners-up and three-time Minnesota State Team Champions. During that span, Freudenberg coached 72 state place-winners and compiled an overall dual meet record of 710-137-6 with a winning percentage of 83%. Freudenberg was awarded section coach of the year honors ten times and was a three-time MWCA Coach of the Year. Lyle spent his last two years sharing the head coaching duties with longtime assistant and former Foley wrestler, Scott Gorecki, who was part of the 1993 State Championship Team.

Lyle was known for his passion for the sport of wrestling and the way he promoted the excitement of dual meet competition. If you ever saw his teams entering the Civic Center Arena at the State Wrestling Tournament, you know what we are talking about. Team Foley’s pre-match warmup before tournaments and duals was truly impressive. The long standing tradition of excellence of Foley wrestling is evidence of Freudenberg’s dedication to building a rock-solid youth program. Lyle and his wife, Lynn, have three children; Josh, Jared, and Laura.

Al “Swede” Olson, Contributor

Al Olson attended Fosston High School, graduating in 1975. He was a four-year varsity wrestler compiling a 52 – 27 record while wrestling from 119# to Heavyweight. Al continued to give back to the sport he loved, serving as a coach at Fosston, later Fosston-Bagley, for 33 years and serving as a wrestling official for 37 years. The “Old Guard” as well as the younger coaches have the utmost respect for the quality of Al’s officiating as well as his professionalism on and off the mat. Al loves to laugh and made seeding meetings, dual meets, and tournaments more enjoyable for everyone with his sense of humor. Along with Hall of Fame Coach Jeff “Bro” Olsen, Swede put together a Region 8 newsletter that was a must read at the Region Tournament. Al started a scholarship program with Rob Ulyott and Mark Aho in memory of his father, Alfred. Swede was also instrumental in the formation of the North Star Wrestling Conference, as well as helping to put several Invitational Wrestling Tournaments together, namely the Big Bear and the Alfred Olson Memorial Wrestling Tournament. Al was the Section 8AA Assistant Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2004 and received the Dean Fox Sportsmanship Award in 2009.

Swede is involved in the sport of wrestling for the right reasons. He has helped many tough undisciplined kids become productive citizens. His “How can I help” attitude will long be remembered and appreciated by those who have known and worked with him.

Al and his wife, Jackie have two children – son Matthew and daughter in law Kelly, and daughter Rebecca and son in law Aaron and one grandson, Cameron.

Brad Pike, Athlete

Brad Pike attended Hayfield High School, graduating in 1996. His High School wrestling record was 190–17–1 and finished his career with102 consecutive wins. Pike pinned 96 of his opponents and was never pinned at the High School level. Brad was a five-time state place winner and a three-time Minnesota State Wrestling Champion. He was 6th at 103#, fourth at 112#, and won his titles at 125#, 135#, and 140# to close out his High School career. He helped his Hayfield Vikings to State Runner-up finishes in 1993 and again in 1996. Pike was a National High School Wrestling Champion as well as a Junior National Greco-Roman Champ that same year.

After graduating from Hayfield, Brad enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he participated in a strong Gopher wrestling program, winning the Big Ten Title in 1999 and 2001. Pike was a two-time National place winner, finishing 7th at 165# in 2000 and 4th at the same weight in 2001. He was a co-captain of Minnesota’s first ever National Championship team which featured 10 National place winners, the only time it has been done in NCAA history.

Brad graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Education degree in degree in Industrial Technology. Currently, Brad works for the Bloomington Public School District in the Technology Education Department. He served as assistant wrestling coach in the Bloominton Kennedy program for ten years. Brad and his wife, Jesse, reside in Burnsville their children, daughter Harlow and son Tannin.

Eric Sanders, Athlete

Eric attended Wabasha-Kellogg High School, graduating from there in 2003. He was the 2nd five time MN State Champion in Minnesota history. He won state titles in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 (from 103-119 lbs.). He had 223 wins in high school. Eric was named Mr. Minnesota in 2003, and was a NHSCA All-American in 2003) He received the Dave Schultz High School Excellence State Award. Eric attended NDSU, qualifying for the Div. II Nationals as a true freshman. Eric helped the Bison make the transition to Div. 1, and was a charter member of the Bison’s first D-1 team. He was third at the NCAA Division 1 Western Regional in 2007 and 2008. He was on the All-Conference Third Team as a junior and a senior. Eric was an excellent student at NDSU, making the Dean’s list four semesters. He was named to the WWC All-Academic team in 2008. He compiled 75 wins at NDSU, and he won the Bison Open in 2006 and the Dragon Open in 2007. Today Eric is a systems administrator in the Moorhead Area Public Schools. He also serves as an assistant coach at Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

Paul Vaith, Coach

Paul Vaith graduated from Blooming Prairie in 1976, finishing his High School wrestling career with a record of 84-14-1. He was a four-year letter winner, a four-year all-conference selection, a two-year captain and a state participant. Vaith attended the College of St. Thomas where he compiled a 28-7 record in his first two years before a series of knee injuries ended his college wrestling career. He graduated from St. Thomas in 1980 with a degree in Business Management. He served as an assistant wrestling coach at St. Thomas for the 1979-1981 seasons. He spent one year as assistant wrestling coach at Bloomington Lincoln in 1982 before returning to St. Thomas for four more years. Paul went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education from St. Thomas in 1987 and later an Education Administrative Degree at Mankato State in 1993.

Paul was hired to teach business at Hastings beginning in the fall of 1986. He served as assistant wrestling coach for four years before taking over the head coaching duties for the 1990-91 season. From 1991 to 2009, Paul’s Hastings teams won twelve conference titles and eight section championships. Vaith’s teams reached the state finals three times, winning the State Championship in 1996. Paul coached 128 state qualifiers, 55 state place-winners, 18 finalists and Six Minnesota State Wrestling Champions. His overall dual meet record was 412-99-1. Paul was the AAA Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2007.

More important than accolades, Paul Vaith has served as an incredible role model for both athletes and coaches throughout his wrestling career. Vaith continues to give back to the wrestling program as well as the Hastings community in numerous ways. Hasting continues to be a solid, well-respected wrestling program due in a large part to Paul’s influence. Paul and his wife, Jill, have six children: Beth, Niki, Maddy, John Paul, Luke, and Mark.

Tom Keating, Contributor

Tom attended De LaSalle High School, graduating from there in 1966. Tom continued his studies at St. Cloud State, earning a Phy. Ed. and Health degree before graduating in 1971. (He eventually obtained his Masters in Curriculum in 1993 from St. Mary’s. Tom served as the Foley JV Coach from 1971-1980, as well as the Head Coach from 1980-1982. While the Head coach at Foley his teams amassed a 25-5-1 record. He served as the Monticello JV Coach from 1982-1995.

In addition to coaching and officiating, Tom was active in the community and at the state level in service work. While at Monticello he started a student hardship program in the school system in order to help kids that had social and emotional difficulties. He worked for 13 years as a motivational speaker, offering kids life lessons to take with them beyond high school He was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 2004. He received the Paul Harris Fellow Award given by the Rotary Club for Humanitarian work. He was awarded recognition for his work to prevent underage drinking by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Tom worked with troubled kids in a variety of ways. He was the keynote speaker at many functions including the Minnesota State Student Council Convention. He worked with and spoke to new graduating teachers from St. Cloud State. He put on workshops in conjunction with the MSHSL on at-risk kids. Tom worked with students and families internationally as well, specifically with the Children’s Program of Northern Ireland, covering conflict resolution and team-building

Tom passed away in 2006, but his work that he did for kids will long be remembered. Tom cared about kids on and off the mat, and it is very evident in all who came in contact with him. The Tom Keating Foundation has been formed to carry on Tom’s work of helping at-risk students. Tom’s wife is Mary Sue, and their kids’ names are Erin, Ryan, Shane, and Brendan.

Joel Viss, Coach

Joel attended Hancock High School, graduating from there in 1979. Joel wrestled under Hall of Fame Inductee Spencer Yohe. Joel was a Pheasant Conference runner-up and a Region qualifier. Joel attended Bemidji State University, where he captured a runner-up finish in the NIC and was a NAIA Qualifier. Joel’s career at Chatfield began in 1984, and he continued coaching until 2015. When Joel arrived in Chatfield, he took over a program that was struggling. Little by little Joel rebuilt the program, and when he finished Joel’s coaching record was 399-242-5. His teams advanced to the state tournament in 2000 (4th), 2013 (3rd) and 2014 (State Champions) He was the Class A Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and he was a 3-time Section Coach of the Year. In 2015 Joel was inducted into the Region 1 Hall of Fame. Joel is active in his church and community. He joined the Marine Corp reserves after his first year of college, and was stationed in Paris Island, Minneapolis MN, and Quantico VA .He served as Section Rep in 1A for four years. Today Joel is working at the Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield, as a CNA. He also works for Teachers On Call as a substitute teacher, and Barth Construction out of Saint Charles. He is attending college, pursuing his Registered Nurse Licensure. Joel married Chatfield native and sister to many Chatfield wrestlers, Margaret. They have two boys. Justin is a sophomore at Eau Claire where he is majoring in Chemistry and playing defensive end for the Blue Golds. Isaac is a senior at Chatfield High School and plans to attend Winona State University in the fall to major in Biology and Business. The big draw for Joel and coaching wrestling was the life lessons that it had to offer for nothing more than hard work. He has never met a wrestler with qualities that he didn’t admire.