Pictured are WSHS Activities Director Casey Indra, parents Dave and Jolene Vaselaar, assistant head wrestling coach Joe Hoialmen and Cotter Activities Director Seth Hawn, and seated are Jack Vaselaar and Head Wrestling Coach Matt Drazkowski.
by BEN MCLEOD
Winona wrestling will lose one of its best competitors in recent memory as senior Jack Vaselaar ended his high school career placing fifth in the 145-pounds weight class at the State Wrestling Tournament on March 3 at the Xcel Energy Center. But Winona’s loss is a gain for Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Vaselaar signed a letter outlining his intent to attend Augsburg at an early-morning ceremony at Cotter’s John Nett Athletic Center on Friday, March 22. In addition to Dave and Jolene Vaselaar, Jack’s parents, the athletic directors of Cotter and Winona Senior High, Seth Hawn and Casey Indra, were present. (The Winona varsity wrestling team is a combined roster of both Cotter and WSHS students.) Head wrestling coach Matt Drazkowski and assistant head coach Joe Hoialmen were also in attendance for the proud yet bittersweet conclusion of Vaselaar’s career wrestling for Winona, with 150 career wins, setting a new record for Winona varsity wrestling.
“Three individuals got to state, and we placed two,” said Drazkowski. “It’s been 20 years since more than one kid got to state. All in all, this has been a really good year for us.” Sophomore Ryan Henningson wasn’t under the same senior-year scrutiny as Vaselaar, but with only two losses all year, he placed third among the 106-pound class. Sophomore Trevor Pomeroy joined his teammates at the state level, but was knocked out of contention in his first match of the tournament.
The 2017-18 team had only one senior and one junior, and they will feel Vaselaar’s absence next year. But the coach has some capable young athletes with whom to work. Henningson and Pomeroy are both sophomores with two more years to go. “I expect [Pomeroy] to be place winner next year,” said Drazkowski. “Also Tyler Nachigal. He finished third in his weight, and both of the kids who finished above him were seniors.” The team plans on a visit to the state meet next year, as well. “We’re looking to come back to it again,” said Drazkowski.