2024 MCC Region I Hall of Fame Banquet to take place on March 9th

The Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame Committee has selected eight new members for induction on Saturday, March 9th, 2024. This year’s inductees are Michael Schmitz, Roger Knutson, Prentice Smith, Doug Vaith, Charlie Brannon, Dale Schmitz, Jill Schmidt, and Dean Nelson.

The MCC Region I Hall of Fame and Section 1 High School Seniors Recognition Banquet will be held at Charlie’s Eatery, 1654 US 52 N, Rochester, Minn.

Registration will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the cost per meal is $35. For tickets or more details, contact Rick Ties at rickties@gmail.com or 507-358-7075.

2024 Hall of Fame Honorees:

Michael Schmitz (Stewartville) – Athlete
A four-time state entrant, placing second and a two-time state champion. Mike was a four-time All-American at UW-La Crosse, where he won the championship in his sophomore year. He had 209 career high school wins and 99 falls. He is a member of The Clash All-Tournament Team. Mike is now teaching and coaching at Century High School in Rochester.

Roger Knutson (Stewartville and Caledonia) – Athlete and Contributor
Roger won the 167-pound Class A State Championship in 1976 for the Stewartville Tigers. Also, he was a main contributor coach with Mike Buringa, Bill Kinney, and Spencer Yohe as they headed the NHSCA High School Championship in Pittsburgh, PA, for ten years, and when Team Minnesota won the 1998 National High School Championship. Roger was also a successful coach at Caledonia for 17 years, where he coached Mayo Civic Center Hall of Fame Member and two-time state champ Trent Hatlevig, 24 state place winners, and 47 state qualifiers. Roger also officiated for a number of years as well. Roger will join his late father, Roger, who was one of the best, to be inducted into the MCC Region 1 Hall.

Prentice Smith (Winona) – Athlete/Coach/Activities Director
Prentice was a six-year varsity starter for Winona High School Winhawks, where he set a state takedown season record with 258 (later broken by Matt Shankey) and was a state runner-up his senior year. Prentice wrestled at both Mankato State (with his older brother, Justin) and at UWL. He was a head wrestling coach at Two Rivers High School for 12 seasons (formerly Henry Sibley High School) and two seasons in Lexington, KY. Prentice coached his teams to over 200 career wins and is currently Activities Director at Two Rivers and serves as Section 3AAA Tournament Manager.

Doug Vaith (Lake City) – Coach
Doug has two tours of duty: head wrestling coach for 28 years and two years as assistant coach at Lake City. Doug’s teams notched 322 career wins; he also served as Athletic Director. Doug coached 45 state participants and 18 state place winners. He served his Coaches Association well. He was a Section Representative for several seasons and MWCA President in 2001-02. A standout at Blooming Prairie High School, Doug joins his brother, Paul, in the MCC Region 1 HOF. He wrestled at the University of St. Thomas.

Charlie Brannon (Rochester) – Contributor
Charlie, owner of Charlie’s Pub and Eatery, has hosted the MCC Region 1 and Senior Section Awards Banquet on an annual basis and has been a wrestling supporter over the years. Charlie has had his business in Rochester for over 25 years. He serves great food, and we all know how wrestlers like to eat.

Dale Schmitz – Assistant Coach
Dale was an assistant coach, youth coach and Minnesota USA coach and board member for over 35 years. Dale was an MN/USA board member for 20-plus years, holding the offices of President and Chairman. Dale brought back the Freestyle/Greco program to Stewartville, which was formerly started by Roger Knutson. It is a family affair for the Schmitz family, as wife, Heidi, is a Meritorious Service Award Winner, selected by The Clash Committee as well. Dale coached sons Cory and Michael all the way from K-12. Son Cory continues to also be involved in wrestling as a youth coach as well as being asked to coach the MN/USA Cadet and Junior Girls in Fargo at the National tournament. Dale has been involved in the youth program as a coach for over 40 years. It’s great to see father and son inducted together.

Jill Schmidt (Winona) – Meritorious Service
Jill and her husband, Bill, have formed a great wrestling family in Winona known as Mr. and Mrs. Winona Wrestling. Jill took all the kids to wrestling matches and worked with Bill, starting and helping to run the 16-team Winona High Invitational Tournament. Jill organized banquets and helped Bill with establishing the Winona Hall of Fame. Jill helped organize the MWCA State Wrestling Brunch for coaches and athletes for many years, attended by 1200 plus individuals. Along with Bill, Jill is instrumental in helping Steve Ricard with the MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame. In 2018, Jill and Bill were honored as Winona Area Volunteers of the Year by Ashley for the Arts.

Dean Nelson (Mantorville) – Official
Dean started officiating in 2007 and has officiated 12 state Tournaments. He wrestled for Dave Erickson at Hayfield. Dean coached youth wrestling for 30 years at Kasson-Mantorville and spent 15 years as a varsity assistant. Dean has been with The Clash for all 21 years, helping Al Chihak assign table workers, the National Anthem, and awards. Dean has also been involved with NYWA as a regional director. He also helped Byron start their youth wrestling programs. Dean is highly respected by the Section 1 coaches.

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