2020 Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Dinner postponed to October 3rd

The 2020 Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association David Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, originally scheduled for May 2nd, has been rescheduled to take place October 3rd in Benson, Minn. Inductees will be Brian Bakke, Tom Campanaro, Mark Costello, Dave Droegemuller, Loren Hacker, Dan Jinks, Don Kussinen, Brian “Buck” Lindberg, and Bob Mueller.

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Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie’s Craig Orlando Chosen as 2020 Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler

The Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) is excited to announce the 2020 Mr. Minnesota Wrestler as Craig Orlando from Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (BHVPP). The three-time state champion displays the character of a champion on and off the mat. The Mr. MN committee was impressed with Craig’s wrestling talent and his volunteer activities within his community.

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Wirtjes, McPherson, and Boeck are MWCA Coaches of the Year

Every spring at tournament time coaches from each high school section vote for their respective Section Head and Assistant Coach of the Year. Head coach selections are then put on a ballot to be voted on by all coaches at the State Tournament for Class AAA, AA, and A Coach of the Year.

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Trinity School at River Ridge, Albany, and Waconia are top MWCA Academic Teams

Each year coaches look at their post-season roster and take ten of those individuals to compile their team GPA. These teams can either qualify for a Silver Award (3.00-3.49) or Gold Award (3.5+) cumulative GPA.

In 2020 we had 114 teams qualify for these two levels of academic awards. Class A had 33 teams submit for an academic award with 13 being Gold and 20 being Silver led by Trinity School at River Ridge which boasted a 3.99 team GPA (top in Class A and top overall).

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2020 MWCA All-State Academic Wrestling Team Named

The 2020 edition of the MWCA All-State Academic Wrestling Team is comprised of 28 student-athletes with a combined average GPA of 3.72. They have amassed over 4000 wins while maintaining a nearly 81% winning percentage. The MWCA gives this award to the state’s best wrestlers who also excel in the classroom. “We are looking to recognize the best student-athletes Minnesota has to offer in each weight class,” commented Joe Puncochar, MWCA All-State Academic Chairperson, “These students certainly represent what it means to be student-athletes, as they are successful in both the classroom and on the mat.

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Brian Bakke is the National Medal of Courage Award Recipient

By Jeff Bro Olsen

Let’s cut to the chase. Brian Bakke, a gifted athlete, got a raw deal in life being born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.

But don’t tell that to Brian or his father, Jeff, the retired East Grand Forks High School head wrestling coach. They know that life throws spitballs and knockdowns. You just get right back up.

Jeff Bakke, a smaller version of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former infantry officer in Vietnam, didn’t coddle his son. No sir!

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