In Head Wrestling Coach Joseph Umlauf’s 4th year at the helm, the Itasca Vikings are heading into the spring semester looking to make a statement on the NJCAA map. The Vikings will compete on Jan 6th in “The Battle of the North” rivalry dual vs. Northland in Grand Rapids, MN, followed by the eight-team Northwoods Team Duals the next day in Grand Rapids, MN, which will feature multiple ranked teams in the country. The following week the Minnesota community colleges will participate in their MCAC Conference Dual Tournament in Worthington, MN, where a five-team round-robin tournament will take place on Jan 14th. Last year, the Vikings had a dual record of 11-1 and looked to continue to build the momentum as the schedule got more challenging and the team looked tougher.
Battle of the North
In the first year of “The Battle of the North” rivalry dual, Northland came out on top. With a second season being canceled due to COVID-19, the rematch was set for last year, in which Itasca won. The third bout goes back to Grand Rapids, MN, where the Vikings will host the Pioneers at 1 pm in Mullins Hall this Friday.
Northwoods Team Duals
In the second annual Northwoods Dual Tournament, the teams being brought in are at a new level. Last year, the Vikings came in and won the Northwoods duals dominating in the 4-team pool play and then beating Carthage College in the finals.
This year, teams include #2 ranked Triton College, Morton College #21, Ridgewater College #21 in pre-season rankings, Northland College, and the last junior college team, Itasca. Other teams include NAIA powerhouse- Jamestown, led by former D1 National Coach of the Year for the great Iowa Hawkeyes, James Zalesky, Division 3 rising contender in Buena Vista of Iowa, and the growing Division 3 team of Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).
The tournament will be set with two 4-Team Round Robin Pool Play, with the championship round based on the pool play placement.
This event will be in Mullins Hall at Itasca College in Grand Rapids, MN, at 8 am.
A Closer Look At The Vikings
Returning National Qualifiers include:
-Zayne Brown, at 125 lbs, was a National Qualifier for Itasca last year, improving leaps and bounds throughout the year. Brown is from Annandale, MN.
-Lorenzo Paez, at 133 lbs, was also a National Qualifier for Itasca last year and had a great second part of the season, coming in as the last seed and being the first wild card voted into the National Tournament by the MCAC coaches. Paez is from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area.
-Charlie Black, at 141 lbs, was the third in a row who was a National Qualifier for Itasca, who is back. Charlie is a stand-out from Kansas and looks to turn that corner and have a fun spring semester.
-Andrew Dostal, at 184 lbs, is another returning National Qualifier who beat multiple ranked opponents last year and numerous university starters. Dostal got banged up at the end of the year to slow down his Freshman campaign but is primed to make a run at the podium this spring. The Greenbush native is looking to cap off his wrestling career by getting on the podium at the end of the year.
-Wyatt Olson, at 197 lbs, is a returning National Qualifier ranked 8th in pre-season rankings. Olson is a stand-out from Minnesota, where he was a multiple-time state place winner. Olson, the military veteran, is looking to finish his wrestling career with a big college national podium finish to stamp the hard work he has put in over his wrestling career.
Showcasing some outstanding new Viking wrestlers who were unattached as competitors who will look to break into the starting lineup for the Vikings and make a run down to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in March are the following:
-David Platt of Hibbing, MN, has gone 14-3 this fall unattached at 157 lbs with ten pins and 13 wins with bonus points.
-Victor Garcia of Minot, ND, took 2nd at the tough Jimmie Open this fall at 133. Garcia is a 2x state finalist who is looking to catapult his name into the Division One wrestling scene with a big season.
-Connor Bleymeyer of Chisago Lakes, MN, who was a state finalist as a senior for Chisago Lakes, is looking to make a big splash for Itasca. Bleymeyer, the HWT wrestler, placed at both the Pointer Open and the Dragon Open unattached, beating a previous national qualifier and another high-level starter.
-Kristian Orloff of Southwestern Wisconsin is a hard-working, blue-collar wrestler who has already made significant strides placing fourth at the Dragon Open with multiple bonus points at 165 lbs. Orloff looks to wrestle either 157-174 this spring.
Other returning starters include Joshua Worral and Seth Cobb, who put in impressive Freshman campaigns.
Other highlighted Minnesota freshman wrestlers include Peyton Hermann of Lakeville, who was a state place winner last spring, Brent Holzem of the great Simley High School, and Gavin O’Neill of Farmington.
Spring Itasca Wrestling Roster
-Zayne Brown- So, MN
-Jack Herbes- So, MN
-Johnny Colon- Fr, PA
-Logan Harel- Fr, WI
-Lorenzo Paez- So, WI
-Victor Garcia- Fr, ND
-James Erickson- Fr, MN
-Charlie Black- So, KA
-Nelson Anderson- Fr, MN
-Tim Jobe- Fr, MN
-Hayden Trupe- Fr, MN
-David Platt- So, MN
-Seth Cobb- So, AZ
-Frank Tomberlin- Fr, MN
-Kristian Orloff- Fr, WI
-Peyton Carll- So, MN
-Alan Garcia- Fr, UT
-Peyton Hermann- Fr, MN
-Mark Haba- Fr, MN
-Robert Solorio- So, AZ
-Kohlter Mariscal- So, AK
-Brent Holzem- Fr, MN
Aidan Vega- Fr, FL
-Andrew Dostal- So, MN
-Linus Brown- Fr, MN
-Wyatt Olson- So, MN
-Henry LaBorde- So, MN
-Gavin O’Neill- Fr, MN
-Connor Bleymeyer- Fr, MN
-Andreas Barnett- Fr, MN
-Kyle Arnold- Fr, AZ
-Hakeem Culberson- So, FL
-Mitchell Sadjek- So, MN
Head Coach- Joseph Umlauf
Head Assistant Coach- Alexander LaPierre
Assistant Coach- Roy Umlauf
Manager- Kaitlyn Weimer
Itasca Spring Schedule
Jan 6th- HOME: Northland Dual @ 1 pm
Jan 7th- HOME: Northwoods Team Duals @ 8 am
Jan 14th- WORTHINGTON, MN: MCAC Conference Duals @ 10 am
Jan 21st- WORTHINGTON, MN: OPEN TOURNAMENT
Jan 22nd- ST.JOHN’S: OPEN TOURNAMENT
Jan 27th- HOME: St. John’s Dual @ 1 pm
Feb 4th- THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN: OPEN TOURNAMENT
FEB 19th- THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN: NATIONAL QUALIFIER