2023 MWCA Award Recipients Honored
Benson, Minn. – Eleven new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 30th, in Benson, Minn.
The new inductees honored were Blaine Dravis, Greg Dravis, Jeff Dravis, Todd Fuller, Chad Kraft, Steve Ricard, Darren Ripley, Bob Ruedy, Joel Toedter, Dalen Wasmund, and Neal Hofland. Each new inductee gave a speech.
MWCA Coach of the Year honorees for 2023 were Class A – Shay Mahoney of Caledonia-Houston, Class AA – Dan Wagner of New Prague, and Class AAA – Nick Hackman of Waconia.
The MWCA selected Tim Haneberg of Hastings as State Head Coach of the Year. Selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year was Mark Krier of Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Haneberg and Krier, along with MWCA Mr. Minnesota Wrestler selection Max McEnelly of Waconia and Ms. Minnesota Wrestler selection Joel Makem of Shakopee, represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State (NWCA) award winners, which qualifies them for further NWCA Scholastic Awards 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 Jackson County Central, 2nd Dover-Eyota; Class AA – 1st Simley, 2nd New Prague; Class AAA – 1st St. Michael-Albertville, 2nd (tie) Eden Prairie and Hastings; Girls – 1st Apple Valley, 2nd Northfield. View the 2023 individual-based top-ten State team scores.
Coaches recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for coaching longevity (30+ years) were Bob Adams of Coon Rapids, Bill Maresh of Champlin Park, Bob Montague of Coon Rapids, Tim Olson of Fertile-Beltrami, Doug Salo of New York Mills, and Kevin Stenson of Chisago Lakes.
Read program biographies of the latest inductees below.
Photos by Jeff Beshey:
Neal Hofland, Pioneer
Neal Hofland attended Veblen High School, graduating from there in 1959. He attended Huron College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in PE and Heath with a minor in English. Neal began coaching football in 1963. He led the Chokio-Alberta football team to two state titles in 1991 and 1993. He was inducted into the MN Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Neal was the head baseball coach for ten years as well. Neal started the wrestling program in 1967. He was looking for something for his athletes to do in the off-season, so he approached the administration about starting a wrestling program. “I got a lot of help from the coaches of area schools. Neal said, “There wasn’t much to go on as far as wrestling books, but I did find one or two.” Neal coached three state entrants- Terry Tubbs, Rick Benson, and Tim Schuster. Neal coached wrestling for ten years before turning the reins over to Bruce Novak. Neal has four children- Beth, Dave, Lynn, and Amy. He has eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. He was married to his late wife Jeanne for 59 years.
Today Neal resides in Morris, MN. He still enjoys volunteer coaching football and girls’ basketball, and softball for Morris Area Schools.
Steve Ricard, Contributor
Steve Ricard attended Fertile-Beltrami High School, graduating from there in 1986. He was active in football, wrestling, band, choir, and Student Council. He was a two-time Sub-Sectional Champ and also a two-time Conference Champion. His career record over two years on varsity was 61-7. He was a part of two Region 8 Champion teams (1983-84 and 1984-85), placed 3rd at 185 lbs. as a junior, and he was a state entrant his senior year at 167 lbs.
Steve attended Moorhead State University to pursue a degree in Social Studies. He wrestled for two years under head coach Jim Aguiar, and then his last two years for John Sterner. Bob Purcell was the assistant all four years. Steve won the 167 lb. Northern Intercollegiate Conference title his senior year, and he was a four-time NAIA national qualifier, as well as a two-time NAIA Academic All-American. Steve’s college record was 89-48. Steve served as an assistant for Paul Marquardt at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton for a year, then took a teaching and coaching position in Benson in the fall of 1991. For five years, Steve served as an assistant to Gary Williams. Steve then took the head job in Benson for the next 11 years, serving as the head coach, youth coach, and freestyle coach. Steve noted, “It was a lot of fun watching Benson’s first state champion, and now Head Coach Scott Thompson win Benson’s first state wrestling title. A lot of people had a hand in that, from former coaches at all levels to parents that bought into the program. I am proud of all the kids in our program for finishing thru their senior year, regardless of record. I am very grateful for being able to work with former head coach Gary Williams and also for my assistants over the years, especially Bill Kehoe and Bryan Verhelst.” Steve stepped down from the head job in 2007 but continued to coach the youth. Steve then coached at KMS for good friend Wes Haglund for four years. Steve commented, “It was very special to be a part of the 2009 KMS State Championship team.” Steve finished his years coaching youth wrestling with former wrestler Ryan Thompson. It is very gratifying to watch wrestlers whom I had the honor of working with now working with their sons and daughters in any sport. It is fun to visit with former students and wrestlers, especially to see where and what they are doing now.”
Steve coached for 30 years. Upon completing his coaching career, he picked up a whistle for folkstyle wrestling and is a part of the Southern MN Officials Association as well as the St. Cloud Officials Association. Steve has had many mentors in officiating: Jim Williams, Brian Lindberg, Byron Olson, Roger Wilson, Rick Rud, Paul Fischbauer, Jim Repke, Scott Snobl, and many others. Steve started officiating freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling back in 2000, and Tim Lewis and Mark Shankey were a huge help to him, as was Tom Kuisle. He has officiated at many local, state, regional, and national tournaments. Steve served as Section Rep for 22 years, and he served on the MSHSL Advisory Board for two years.
Steve attended his first Hall of Fame banquet in 2000 when he went to help honor former Oklee-Plummer head coach Charlie Bishop. Steve joined the Hall of Fame committee the next year, and in 2003 Steve coordinated his first Hall of Fame banquet with the help of Bill and Jill Schmidt. This year marks Steve’s 22nd banquet. Steve is also a committee member of the National Wrestling Hal of Fame, MN Chapter. Steve said, “The friends I have made around the state because of my involvement with this sport has been amazing. I am truly blessed to be a part of it.” Steve is thankful to his parents, Larry and Elaine, for demonstrating hard work and for letting him join Saturday Sports in 1975. He is grateful to his first wrestling coach Bob Thorson who him under his wing in much more than just wrestling. He is also very thankful for his wife, Maureen and for his four kids: Holland, Hannah, Grace, and Claire. Steve is still teaching Social Studies in Benson.
Dalen Wasmund, Coach
Dalen Wasmund attended Worthington High School, wrestling for Head Coach Ken Droegemueller. He
earned two state titles at 119 (1976) and 126 (1977) and a third-place finish at 105 (1974). He compiled a record of 118-4. He was named a high school All-American. Dalen attended the Naval Academy for one year, placing 5th in the EIWA tournament. He then transferred to the University of Minnesota, wrestling for Head Coach Wally Johnson. Dalen was a two-year captain for the Gophers and was twice a Williams Scholar Award winner. Dalen was a three-time Big 10 Conference Top 3 finisher, placing first (1981), second (1982), and third (1980) at 134 pounds. He was an NCAA Division 1 All-American in 1981, placing 4th. He compiled a college record of 109-24-3. Dalen earned a B.S. in Math Education from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and later earned a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Mankato State University.
Dalen competed nationally and internationally and was a two-time National Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and a 5-time finalist. He was a two-time World Team member, placing 8th (1987) and 10th (1985). He was a 2-time World Cup Team member, placing second (1985) and third (1984), a two-time Olympic Alternate (1984 & 1988), a bronze medalist at the Pan Am games (1987), and a gold medalist at the Olympic Festival (1985). In his early years of coaching, Dalen continued to be active in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, serving on the coaching staff of the MN/USA teams for more than 15 years. Dalen began coaching at Apple Valley in 1982 and moved to in Eagan in 1991, starting the wrestling program there. He remained there until 2000, when he moved back to Apple Valley High School. In total, he was an assistant for Apple Valley for 23 years. Dalen took over as the Head Coach at Apple Valley from 2012-2017. His teams compiled a record of 123-8-1. He led his team to five state championships.
Dalen continues to teach math at Apple Valley High School. He is married to Catherine, and they have three sons: Neil, Bryce, and Ryan. They also have two grandsons, Connor and Lincoln.
Chad Kraft, Athlete
Chad Kraft attended Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield High School, graduating from there in 1994. Chad was also active in football, playing cornerback and quarterback.
Chad compiled a record of 195-14-1 in high school. He was 5th in the state as a freshman, then finished his last three years with three state titles (at 125 lbs. as a sophomore in 1992, at 140 lbs. as a junior in 1993, and at 145 lbs. his senior year in 1994). He won 80 consecutive matches for HLOL. Chad was a National Junior All-American his junior year (3rd) and a champion his senior year. He was named Mr. Minnesota his senior year and made the Cadet World Team in high school. Head Coach Randy Baker wrote, “Chad was a very coachable athlete with the ability to visualize technique and put it into application immediately. He was a team leader early on, helping our team to qualify for state in 1993. His leadership directly enabled us to get past Canby, who had dominated our Section for the previous 18 years in a row.”
Chad continued his wrestling at the University of Minnesota, where he was a four-time All-American: He placed 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and 5th. He made the NCAA finals as a junior, where he faced Eric Sibert from Illinois (whom he had beaten five times but suffered an ankle injury in the match and lost 7-3.) He was a part of the Big Ten Runnier-up team in 1997 and the Big Ten Champion Team in 1999. He helped the Gophers place 3rd as a team in 1997 and were 2nd in 1998 and 1999. His college record was 115-23. Chad was the first four-time All-American in any sport at the University of Minnesota.
Today Chad resides in Eagan and is a pilot for Delta Airlines. He is married to Tami, and they have three kids: Madeline, Jaxon, and Colton.
Greg Dravis, Athlete
Greg attended Staples High School, graduating from there in 1980. He participated in football and wrestling.
Greg compiled a high school record of 130-14-1. He was a member of two state title teams, 1978 and 1980, and was also a member of the 1977 5th place team and the 1979 2nd place team. Greg was a three-time state place winner, placing 2nd as a sophomore at 98 lbs., 4th as a junior at 105 lbs, and 3rd as a senior at 105 lbs.
After graduation, Greg attended Augustana College and qualified for Division 2 nationals at 118 lbs. He then transferred to the University of Minnesota-Morris, where he continued to wrestle. Greg, as a sophomore, placed 2nd in Division 3 and qualified for the Division 1 NCAA tournament wrestling at 126 lbs. As a junior, an injury kept him from participating in the National tournament. In his senior year, he was an NAIA National Champion at 118 lbs.
Today Greg is a retired Physical Education Teacher. He taught at Scott Highland’s Middle School, where he coached wrestling for 30 years and a variety of other middle school sports. He also coached high school wrestling at various schools in District 196. In 2015, he was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association.
Greg is married to Traci, and they have two sons, Derek and Casey. He and his family live in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and will be moving to Park Rapids, Minnesota at the end of June.
Blaine Dravis, Athlete
Blaine attended Staples High School, graduating from there in 1982. He participated in football, wrestling, and golf. He enjoyed a very successful high school career, winning three District titles and 2 Region 6 titles. He was a member of 4 state teams. Staples was 2nd in 1979 and state team champs in 1980, 1981, and 1982. His high school record was 132-9-1. He was a state runner-up in 1980 at 98 lbs. and the State Class A Champion at 119 lbs. in 1982. After graduation Blaine attended the University of Duluth, wrestling for Hall of Fame Coach Neil Ladsen. Blaine was a three-time Northern Intercollegiate Conference champ as well as a two-time Div. 2 National qualifier. He was an All-American in the 1986 NAIA national tournament, placing third. Blaine lives in Eagan, works for UPS, and has three kids.
Jeff Dravis, Athlete
Jeff attended Staples High School, graduating from there in 1983. He compiled a high school record of 121-14.
Jeff was also active in baseball and was a member of the Staples Cardinal 1983 state championship baseball team. Jeff was a member of four team Staple state class A championship wrestling teams in 1980, 1981,1982, and 1983. He won three Conference titles, 2 District titles, and 2 Region titles. He was a Class A runner-up in 1981 at 98 lbs., a runner-up in 1982 at 105 lbs., and a runner-up in 1983 at 112 lbs. Upon graduating from high school in 1983, Jeff attended Willmar Community College, wrestling for Hall of Fame Coach Roy Minter. He then transferred to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, wrestling for Hall of Fame Head Coach Neil Ladsen. Jeff was a 3-time NAIA All-American, placing 5th in 1986, 2nd in 1987, and 4th in 1988, all at 142 lbs.
After college, Jeff taught Industrial Tech at Staples-Motley High School and coached the Staples-Motley Cardinal Wrestling team from 1995-2001, earning a dual meet record of 108-72. Jeff’s teams won three section titles during his tenure at Staples-Motley, and his teams placed 3rd and 5th. Jeff coached four state individual state champions, three of them in 1999. Jeff began teaching Industrial Tech. at Park Rapids High School in 2004, where he still teaches and is an assistant coach today.
Jeff is married to Tara, and they have four kids: Justin, Cody, Taylor, and Kate.
Todd Fuller, Athlete
Todd Fuller attended Maple Lake High School, graduating from there in 1998. He was a four-time letter winner in football and baseball, as well as a four-time state entrant in wrestling. Under Head Coach Bruce Bartels. Todd compiled a record of 186-39, which included three state medals: third as a sophomore at 119 lbs., third as a junior at 140 lbs., and a state champion as a senior at 152 lbs.
After high school, Todd continued his studies at NDSU. Todd wrestled and played baseball (outfield and pitcher) at NDSU. Todd, who was coached by Bucky Maughan, compiled a record of 101-29 in wrestling, earning three Division II national titles from 2000-2002. He also helped his team win the Division II National title in 2000 and 2001.
Today Todd is co-owner of 3X Gear, co-owner of the Heard and Horns Bar and Grill, co-owner of Rough House Athletics in Louisville, Tennessee, and co-founder and co-director of the Rumble on the Red Wrestling Tournament.
Darren Ripley, Coach
Darren Ripley attended Riceville High School in Iowa and graduated from there in 1982. Darren participated in football, wrestling, track, and baseball as he was an all-around athlete. In his senior year was a 2nd Team All-State Football Defensive Back, an Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament qualifier at 132 pounds, an Honorable Mention All-State Baseball Outfielder, while also an All-Conference Track performer.
After high school, Darren attended Winona State University, where he was a three-year starter on the football team and was a Northern Inter-Collegiate Conference All-Conference Wide Receiver in 1986. Darren graduated from Winona State with a degree in Social Science Education, and he went on to teach and coach in Iowa for ten years before coming to Minnesota in the Fall of 1998. Darren’s coaching tenure in Iowa was highlighted by Sumner’s 5th place finish in the 1994 Iowa High School Class A State Wrestling Tournament and his Sumner Aces Baseball Team that won the 1995 Iowa High School Class AA State Baseball Championship.
Darren coached at Scott West for 22 years as either the Head or Co-Head Coach for the Wrestling seasons from 1999-2020 and has an overall coaching career record of 500-145-5. This includes a total of 151 individual state qualifiers, 85 state place winners, with 13 state champions.
Ripley said. “It was a great opportunity to help lead and coach such an outstanding wrestling program for 22 years as Scott West Wrestling is not only highly regarded throughout the state of Minnesota but throughout the country as well with our National Team Rankings in 2011 and 2012. While I will always be proud of our success on the mat over the course of those years that are highlighted by 15 Section 2AA Team Championships, four State Team Runner-up and six State Team 3rd place Finishes, along with five Rumble on the Red Team Championships up in Fargo, it is also the development of physically and mentally tough young men with the traits of desire, drive and dedication along with the relationships within the program itself and the greater wrestling community that I will cherish most.”
Darren is married to Beverly, and today Darren continues to teach in Jordan.
Bob Ruedy, Athlete
Bob Ruedy attended Hastings High School, graduating from there in 1965. Bob had a record of 111-6-1, and he was a three-time state place winner: (State runner-up in 1963, a state champion in 1964, and 3rd in 1965. He was All-Conference from 1964-1965 and a 4-time District Champ from 1962-1965. He had a .941 winning percentage.
Bob attended St. Cloud State and continued to wrestle there. Bob had a college record of 20-3. Bob was a Northern Intercollegiate Conference Champ, as well as an NAIA All-American, placing third in 1966. Bob left college after one year and started working for 3M, in 1969, which he continued to do for 37 years. During this time, he continued to wrestle in a variety of AAU tournaments while assisting coaches at Hastings High School and fundraising for the wrestling program. Bob is a founding member of the Tom Keene Memorial Wrestling Scholarship Fund, which has gifted scholarships to members of the Hastings High School wrestling program since 1998. Bob’s greatest accomplishment in his life has been his 43-year marriage to his wife Val, and their two children, Nate and Natalie, and their three grandchildren, Kington, Presley, and Gabriella. Today Bob spends his free time traveling to Colorado (where his grandkids live), completing woodworking projects, and attending Hastings wrestling events.
Joel Toedter, Contributor
Joel Toedter attended Perham High School, graduating from there in 1980. He was active in football, wrestling, class plays and National Honor Society. Joel competed on two Region 6 runner-up wrestling teams but never advanced to the state wrestling tournament.
He attended the University of MN Morris for two years, competing on the Cougars wrestling team. He then transferred to St. Cloud State, where he wrestled for the Huskies for two years, finishing in 1986. He assisted Neil Jennissen as coach at St. Cloud Apollo High School from 1986-1988.
Joel began officiating in 1982. He has worked out of the St. Cloud Association and has been an official for 41 years. He has worked 26 state tournaments and has officiated college for 30 years. Roger Wilson, former St. Cloud Officials Association Assignment Secretary, wrote, “Joel is one of the best officials in the state. He has an outstanding personality and gets along with all coaches and wrestlers.” Joel is married to Julie, and they have five kids, Joshua, Jenna, Jaydee, Jake and Jazlyn. He has one grandson with another grandchild on the way and hoping for more! Joel works construction and resides with his wife Julie in Becker, MN.