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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MWCA Fall Clinic set for October 26th in Inver Grove Heights

The 2019 Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Fall Clinic will feature University of Minnesota Coach Brandon Eggum, Southwest Minnesota State Coach Jesse Nelson, and Technique with Jared Lawrence. The Clinic will take place on Saturday, October 26th at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.

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8 inducted into the 2019 Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame

Eight new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 in Benson, Minn.

The new inductees honored were Marty Aho, Chad Erikson, Brad Gibson, Maury Meyer, Doug Paulson, Dennis Schermerhorn, Bill Schmidt, and Wes Tessman.

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Simley’s Greg Kerkvliet Chosen as 2019 Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler

Simley’s four time state champion, Greg Kerkvliet has been chosen as the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association’s Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler for 2019. Kerkvliet completed an undefeated senior season by claiming his fourth state championship with a first period pin in the state finals. The Cadet World Champion has represented Simley High School and Minnesota wrestling in a very impressive fashion. Please read the letter below from Simley Head Coach to understand how impressive has been throughout his career.

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Trinity School at River Ridge, Delano, and Willmar are top MWCA Academic Teams

Every year coaches prepare for the postseason and have to limit their team roster from their full squad down to 19 guys for the team postseason from the competitive side of things. From the academic side, coaches will take those 19 guys and whittle down to the top ten members of that team from an academic standpoint as well. Coaches will then average each of those ten athletes cumulative grade point average to see if they have earned the MWCA Silver Academic award (3.0-3.49) or the MWCA Gold Academic award (3.50+).

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2019 MWCA All-State Academic Wrestling Team Named

The 2019 edition of the MWCA All-State Academic Wrestling Team is a group of great wrestlers that consists of 22 seniors and six juniors. “The MWCA gives this award to the state’s best wrestlers who also excel in the classroom. These young wrestlers are not only dedicated on the mat but also exemplify what it means to be a student-athlete. Coaches should be striving to develop young adults like the wrestlers recognized for the award,” commented Joe Puncochar, MWCA All-State Academic Chairperson.

On this year’s team, four student-athletes carry a perfect 4.0 GPA: Ben Lunn of Shakopee, Sebas Swiggum of Apple Valley, Kellen Schauer of Grand Rapids, and Garson Schorr of Kasson-Mantorville. Overall, this year’s squad carried a 3.59 combined GPA. These student-athletes are not only getting it done on the mat, but they are also getting it done in the classroom! The 28 selected to be recognized were among 134 applicants statewide. The dedicated coaches of the MWCA has increased the number of nominations over each of the past three seasons.

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