The Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame honored inductees and area teams and wrestlers this past weekend at the Southeastern Minnesota Wrestling Seniors Banquet in Rochester, Minn.
The host Clash Committee selected their Class Wrestlers of the Year in Southeastern Minnesota:
- Class A: Colton Krell of Westfield – 195-pound state champion
- Class AA: Patrick Kennedy of Kasson-Mantorville – 182-pound state champion
- Class AAA: Ryan Henningson of Winona – 120-pound state champion
2020 MCC Region 1 Hall of Fame Class.
Jesse Armbruster (Faribault) Athlete
Jesse was one of the finest wrestlers in the history of Faribault High School and Augsburg College. He was an All-State Wrestler, Team MVP, and went on to greater heights at Augsburg College. Jesse was a three-time All-American. Finishing 3rd, 1st, and 2nd for the Auggies. He has coached for 28 seasons at Faribault High School. Jesse has been head coach for 20 seasons and is closing in on 300 career wins. He is a member of the Faribault, NWCA Division III, and Augsburg Halls of Fame.
Don Dahl (Dover-Eyota) Athlete/Coach
Don Dahl was the first person to win the 185-Pound MSHSL Championship in Class A in 1978. He had a varsity record of 87-10 for Hall of Fame Coach Mike Mazzitelli. Don gave back to the sport of wrestling for over 20 years. Don served as an assistant coach three years to HOF Coach Chuck Siefert (RCTC). He was an assistant for six seasons at Zumbrota-Mazeppa and 13 years as a youth coach at Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Don farms today, supplies trucks for Menards, and raises whitetail deer.
Derek Johnson (Owatonna) Athlete
One of the most dominant lightweight wrestlers in Owatonna wrestling history, Derek was a four-time state placerwinner. He won two state titles. His career record was a sterling 168-12. Derek was a key leader in Owatonna’s four-year run, winning the state team title in 1998, state team runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2001, and consolation champs in 2000. He was an Academic All-American. Derek earned a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin but had a career-ending injury. Grandfather Del Johnson is also a member of the Mayo Civic Center Hall of Fame.
Eric Sanders (Wabasha-Kellogg)
Eric attended Wabasha-Kellogg High School where he wrestled for his father Ron. A six-time entrant into the Minnesota State High School League Wrestling Tournament, Eric was a five-time individual state champion (1999-2003); the second wrestler to accomplish this in Minnesota history. Eric was named MWCA’s Mr. Minnesota in 2003. After high school, Eric attended North Dakota State University, where he qualified for the Division II National Tournament as a true freshman. Eric helped the Bison Wrestling Team make the transition to Division I, and he was a charter member of the Bison’s first Division I Team, coached by Bucky Maughn. From 2011-2017, Eric was an assistant wrestling coach at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, under head coach Kris Nelson. In 2016, Eric was inducted Into the Dave Bartelma MWCA HOF. Eric currently lives in Pine Island, Minnesota, where he is an assistant wrestling coach.
Justin Smith (Winona) Athlete
Justin Smith, without a doubt, is one of the finest wrestlers to ever come out of the Winona High School program. He will join former Winona three-time state champ, the late Kermit Selke in the MCC Region 1 Hall as an athlete. Justin wrestled for Coach Bill Ihrke and was a two-time state entrant, placing sixth at state. Justin took it to the next level at Minnesota State University Mankato where he won the NCAA DII National Championship in 1994 at 167 pounds and earned another All-American honor for The Mavericks. He has given back to the sport for 24 years. Justin has assisted at Minnesota State and Henry Sibley High School. He was head coach at Winona HS and is currently at Woodbury since 2008, where his teams have had close to 200 varsity victories.
Ron Sanders (Wabasha-Kellogg) Coach
Ron is in his 41st year as head coach at Wabasha-Kellogg. He has 389 coaching wins (and counting). Ten of his wrestlers have over 100 career wins, and both Eric and Zach lead the program with 223 wins each. Ron is the only coach in Minnesota wrestling history to coach his two sons to five individual state titles. Ron directed two of his teams to the MSHSL Dual Meet Tournament (in 1999 and 2006). He coached national MN/USA freestyle and Greco Roman teams in Cadets and Juniors from 2000-2008. Ron has coached five wrestlers that have gone on to compete for DI programs. The “Sanders Scrapper” Award was named in Ron’s honor at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Dave Erickson (Stewartville) Assistant Coach
Dave gave back 25 years to the Sport. The former Owatonna High School standout served as a head coach at Truman for four years. He served 21 years under Hall of Fame Coach Darrel Jaeger at Stewartville High School. Dave coached Doyle Johnson in junior high at Stewartville, who is the father of Derek Johnson, who is also a member of the 2020 MCC Region 1 Hall of Fame Class. Dave was an outstanding assistant football coach as well at Stewartville High School and was honored when the football team finished as state runners-up one year. He was nominated by Hall of Fame Charter Member DeWaine Silker. Dave wrestled at Austin Community College and St. Cloud State.
Ed Hruska (Rochester) Contributor
Ed Hruska has helped put Rochester on the map as a national site host for a number of sports, including wrestling! Ed served 15 years as Executive Director of Rochester Sports (formerly Rochester Amateur Sports Committee) from 2003-2018. Rochester is considered by many wrestling fans and coaches to be “The Wrestling Tournament Capital of Minnesota” by hosting The Clash National Duals, The Minnesota Christmas Tournament, NJCAA National Wrestling Championships, among many other wrestling events. Ed also brought AAU National Basketball, and USA Hockey Nationals and more to Rochester.
Heidi Schmitz (Stewartville) Meritorious Service
Heidi has been involved with the Stewartville Wrestling Club since 1990. She has run concessions and been a cheerleader advisor. Heidi is currently on the book committee and runs youth registration. She keeps track of every youth uniform. Heidi has been involved with MN/USA Wrestling since 2000 and is still active as the State Membership Director. She supported sons Cory and Mike above all else. Mike won a National title at UW-LaCrosse. Husband Dale has also been involved with MN/USA Wrestling forever and is a long-time assistant and youth coach at Stewartville.