By Joe Puncochar, MWCA Individual All-State Academic Chairman
The 2023 MWCA All-State Academic Individual Wrestling Team currently holds the bragging rights for the best student-athlete squad ever recognized by the MWCA. Not only did they surpass the 200 mark in nominations (the highest in at least 15 years.) They also have the highest average GPA of any MWCA All-State Individual Team with an astounding 3.78 GPA. This team is made up of great students who are also some of the best wrestlers that all of Minnesota has to offer. Earning a spot on this team can be more challenging than making the varsity squad at most schools. The MWCA only takes the top two student-athletes at each weight class to be recognized for this honor. With over 200 nominees and only 28 that receive the award, it’s quite the feat to be recognized!
This year’s team had nine students who boast a perfect 4.0 unweighted cumulative GPA! Beau Hudoba of Ogilvie, Deagan Captain and David Revering of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, Zach Hanson of Lakeville North, Seth Newby of Bemidji, Luke Knudsen of New London-Spicer, Cade Jackson of Detroit Lakes, Soren Herzog of Simley and Will Sather of Eden Prairie. Each of these students currently finds themselves in the state rankings or have been past state placewinners. Not only making them great students but also top-notch athletes!
This year’s roster includes 18 seniors and ten juniors. Class AA leads the way with eleven students on the team, followed by Class A with ten and Class AAA with seven. All six juniors who made the team in 2022 have also earned the honor again in 2023. These student-athletes are Dylan Dauffenbach of Stillwater, Zach Hanson, Cade Jackson, Max McEnelly of Waconia, Soren Herzog, and Gavin Nelson. You can often find this group of wrestlers at the top of the podium. They have amassed 17 state titles won by ten different student-athletes. McEnelly leads the way with three titles. Other state champions include Jack Nelson of Mound-Westonka, Nolan Ambrose of Jackson County Central, Koy Buesgens of New Prague, Zach Hanson, Ryder Rogotzke of Stillwater, Thomas Dineen of Benson, Ethan Boll of Crookston, Gavin Nelson of Simley and Will Sather. Many of these wrestlers are far above the 3.0 GPA requirement for consideration for this honor. 24 of 28 have over a 3.5 GPA. They definitely know how to work hard in the classroom as well as on the mat! This is even more evident by the fact this team has combined to win a total of 4648 matches over their impressive careers while attaining many other academic honors in their high school careers.
The members of this team are selected by using the following criteria:
- Cumulative GPA – example: 3.95 x 2 = 790 points
- Overall matches wrestled – wins and losses – 1 point per match
- Winning percentage – 77% = 77 points
- State Tournament Participation – 25 points per year
- State Tournament Placement – 1st (50 points), 2nd (40), 3rd (35), 4th (25), 5th (20) and 6th (10)
This year’s group was made up of individuals from 24 schools. Simley, Jackson County Central, Stillwater, and Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie each had two students selected. It also just happens that those four schools also have solid wrestling teams! There is typically a correlation between success in the classroom and success on the mat. These students and their teammates most definitely understand that.
This year our award winners are exceptional. There were also many outstanding nominees that we were unable to recognize. Our state’s coaches do a wonderful job of nominating their wrestlers. We have wrestlers from all over the state each year. Thanks to our dedicated coaches for taking the time to get their wrestlers recognized.
The 28 honorees will be recognized and awarded plaques by the MWCA during the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, March 2-4.
2023 Academic Individual All-State Team
|113||Cole Sykora||12||Border West|
|113||Michael Olson||11||Albert Lea|
|120||Simon Kruse||12||St. Clair|
|132||Nolan Ambrose||11||Jackson County Central|
|138||Davin Rose||12||Morris Area-HA-CA|
|138||Deagan Captain||12||Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie|
|145||Koy Buesgens||12||New Prague|
|145||Logan Butzon||12||Jackson County Central|
|152||Zach Hanson||12||Lakeville North|
|152||David Revering||11||Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie|
|160||Luke Knudsen||11||New London-Spicer|
|170||Jed Wester||11||St. Michael-Albertville|
|182||Cade Jackson||12||Detroit Lakes|
|Hwt.||Will Sather||11||Eden Prairie|