The Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) is excited to announce the 2020 Mr. Minnesota Wrestler as Craig Orlando from Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (BHVPP). The three-time state champion displays the character of a champion on and off the mat. The Mr. MN committee was impressed with Craig’s wrestling talent and his volunteer activities within his community.
Orlando was a four-time MN State Tournament entrant at 285 pounds, bringing home the titles in 2018, 2019, and 2020. He was also the National High School Coaches Association National Champion in the sophomore division following the 2018 high school season. The senior finished his final season undefeated with a record of 50-0 and a final career tally of 184-34 with 123 pins. Over his four state individual appearances and two state team appearances, Craig was 18-2 with 15 falls at the MSHSL tournaments. His overall grade point average of 3.616 also made Orlando a member of the MWCA Academic All-State team. The athletic prowess goes beyond wrestling for Craig, as he was a member of the 9-man All-State Football team this fall for Verndale High School. Other football honors were the Minnesota Vikings All-State Team, Academic All-State, and the District Most Valuable Player.
Mr. Orlando also finds time to help out at his school with different events, which was very impressive to the selection committee. He is a member of the National Honor Society, is a part of the Big Buddy Program, is a sensory partner for younger students with disabilities, helps out with Special Olympics at his school and, of course, helps out with youth football and wrestling camps.
His coaches speak very highly of Craig. Here is a sampling of those words:
The BHVPP wrestling team sets goals and talks about how the things you learn in wrestling will help you in other areas of life. However, wrestling is not the top of the list. As the head coach I encourage the athletes to find faith, spend time with family and then focus on academics and wrestling (in that order). Craig does many of these things since he is actively involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, his church, and he helps out in his community.-Bill Wagner (BHV/PP Head Coach)
Craig Orlando is one of the best players I have coached in my 51 years. He is a better person than he is a football player.-Mike Mahlen (Verndale Head Football Coach)
As good as a wrestler that Craig is, he is an even better person. There has been many days throughout the season that he has singled out a JH wrestler and sat down next to them, talked to them and just hung out with them. He has an incredibly big heart and is always concerned about people’s feelings.-Mike Barthel (BHV/PP Coach)
Craig will be bringing his football talents to the University of North Dakota in the fall.
To see the full list of Mr. MN Wrestler Award winners, click on the following link: https://theguillotine.com/mwca-mr-minnesota-high-school-wrestler-award/