High School Coaches Wrestling With COVID-19

By Brian Jerzak

The 2019-20 high school wrestling season just got in under the wire before the sports world came to a screeching halt. Since that week in March – while we are nowhere near back to normal – the sports world has slowly come back. Some have been able to compete, while others wait – impatiently – for their time to get back to competition. Based on timing, the high school wrestling world has not lost any competitions, but as we have all seen, we do not know what is going to happen two days from now – much less two months from now. How have high school coaches approached an offseason like no other, and what – if any – plans have they made going forward?

I talked with the head coaches from four of Minnesota’s top high school wrestling teams to find out their thoughts on wrestling with COVID-19.

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A Program and Community on the Rise – Stillwater Wrestling

High school wrestling is a sport of numbers. Get that last takedown, extend the margin of victory, work hard for the pin, fight off your back; it all helps your team win. All those numbers lead to team victories. Numbers drive youth, middle school, and varsity success as well. The more wrestlers that try the sport, the better chance of finding the right kids to help the team. Stillwater head coach Tim Hartung has numbers in all the right places. Possibly the most important number is his number of community members that have gotten involved in Stillwater’s rising program.

Growing up in Wisconsin, Hartung’s start in the sport was an escape, an escape from doing his daily chores.

“We grew up on a dairy farm, and my uncle asked us if we wanted to come with our cousins to a local tournament,” Hartung said. “My brother and I looked at each other – anything to get us out of chores, and we are in.”

It didn’t take long before Hartung was hooked.

“We were strong farm kids, so we did well right away, and my love of wrestling grew from there. I liked the physicality and the sense of individual accomplishment. Being out there all by yourself and beating another competitor – it was a feeling that was so different and rewarding from other sports.”

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The Guillotine – May 15, 2020

The May 15, 2020 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Featured content in this issue includes: A Program and Community on the Rise - Stillwater Wrestling | Ponce Trained - In Wrestling and In Life | The Guillotine Academic All-State Wrestlers | Where Have They Gone? - Wayne Lexvold | An Evolving Culture of Wrestling - Kasson-Mantorville.

More content in this issue: Lace ‘Em Up - Academic All-State and Recruiting News | Camps and Training Opportunities | MWCA Report | Ask The Doc - Waiting for the Pandemic to Pass | Officially Speaking - New Rules.

View this issue below.

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MWCA Recognizes 2020 State Individual Team Champions

Since 2013, the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association has recognized the Team Champions from the MSHSL Individual State Tournament. The winning team and runner-up from each class (A, AA, and AAA) earn a plaque to display at their respective schools.

This year the MWCA is proud to recognize Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove as the Class A Champion, Simley as the Class AA Champion, and Stillwater as the Class AAA Champion.

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