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.
Early fireworks key New Prague’s trip to State
By Brian Jerzak
The state tournament is a great event. The electricity in the building – especially Saturday night during the individual finals – is spectacular. While the sheer number of people is dwarfed, the atmosphere in a packed gym during a section team tournament – in some ways – is even better. The 2AA semifinals featured three of the top six ranked teams in AA and a fourth that was deemed Lean and Mean by the latest Guillotine rankings. To say the atmosphere in New Prague Saturday night was electric would be an understatement.
“Our fans are awesome,” New Prague head coach Dan Wagner said. “They got everyone here. We told them that could be a difference maker – the atmosphere. Our kids wrestle better at home in that atmosphere, and the fans showed up.”
Sometimes in wrestling, the critical match of the dual takes place before the crowd is even settled into their seats. That was the case during the Section 2AA team finals between New Prague and Watertown-Mayer. Lightning struck early and paved the way to the Trojans’ 37-32 victory and a trip to the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament.
The Trojans and Royals would be tested to get to the finals. Although New Prague would win the match by a comfortable margin – 38-20, Coach Wagner knew it would take a complete team effort.
Community Raised – Dan Wagner and New Prague Wrestling
By Brian Jerzak
I haven't talked to many coaches of successful high school programs – wrestling or otherwise – that haven't had great support from their community. Wrestling programs around the state are littered with alumni – both paid and volunteer – rolling with the kids on the mat or raising money to help pay for those mats - doing what they can to help the program they grew up loving.
The New Prague wrestling program has a very similar story – with one key difference. Not only was the Trojans' wrestling program raised by a passionate wrestling community, but so was their head coach.
Dan Wagner was born and raised in New Prague. He got involved in wrestling early.
"Dr. John Berg had started a youth wrestling program before my time," Wagner said. "My dad asked me if I wanted to try wrestling, and that is where it started. I didn't have much wrestling background in my family, but New Prague was a small town, and the doctor in town was running some youth practices."
Success on the mat didn't come immediately for the future coach.
The Guillotine – February 16, 2023
The February 16, 2023, issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Content in this issue includes: No Longer The Hunter - Zach Hanson | Thinking Globally - Skylar Little Soldier | Lace ‘Em Up | Camps, Clinics, and Training | High School Rankings | Just Do It - Essay by Logan Ash | Following In The Footsteps - Koy Buesgens | MWCA Report | View From The Matbird Seat | Officially Speaking | Where Have They Gone? Dave Carlsrud | MSHSL State Tournament Schedule | Performance Nutrition - Artificial Sweeteners | Ask The Doc.
View this issue below.
Following In The Footsteps – Koy Buesgens
By Brian Jerzak
New Prague senior Koy Buesgens has a chance to enter some rare air when it comes to high school wrestling in Minnesota. He has an opportunity to become a three-time state champion. Like most successful wrestlers, Buesgens' parents have played a huge role in his success. For Koy – his dad – unintentionally gave his son even more motivation to become one of Minnesota's best.
"Winning a state championship was always one of my goals," Buesgens said. "One, because winning a state championship is awesome, but two, my dad took second at State, and I always have wanted to one-up him."
The former state finalist introduced his son to the sport early.
"I was born in Tennessee, and when I was four years old, my dad introduced me to wrestling," Buesgens said. "He was a wrestler at Belle Plaine high school. So, I just wrestled in the little community program. Then we moved to Minnesota, and it continued from there."
College Recruiting: two-time state finalist Novak to University of Wyoming
Joey Novak of New Prague has committed to wrestling for the University of Wyoming in 2023.
College Recruiting: three-time state placewinner Bornholdt to St. Cloud State University
Colton Bornholdt of New Prague has committed to wrestling for St. Cloud State University in 2023.