By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
After sending a program record 12 wrestlers to individual states this year, the Manchester Wrestling team had seven wrestlers place Division IV All State at Ford Field over the course of Mar. 1-3.
On Mar. 2, the seven wrestlers still in action were fighting for the top eight finishes that got them All State honors.
Junior Simon Lato (Hwt.), freshman Jared Bunn (103), and junior Jacob Kurgin (145) all won their matches. Lato placed seventh with a pin in the first, Jared Bunn finished third pulling away in the second and third periods for the 8-5 decision, and Jacob Kurgin finished seventh by coming away with a 5-4 win in the third after being tied at three after two periods.
Freshman Jacob Bunn (103) finished eighth, junior Drew Gebhardt (119) finished fourth, and senior Grant Tungate (135) finished eighth.
Junior Jacob Shelby (130) was the lone Dutchmen wrestler going for a state title, he faced the no. 1 seed in junior Jamison Ward from Carson City Crystal. Shelby came into the match with a 55-1 record while Shelby carried a 51-5 record.
A first period takedown would prove to be the winner for Ward as Shelby fought back late in the third but couldn’t get on the board as he fell 2-0.
Manchester head coach Steve Vlcek was proud of his team for exceeding expectations this year, both his and theirs.
“As a coach you always set them at a certain standard,” said Vlcek at Ford Field on Mar. 2. “We didn’t get the best draws, but we had kids battle. We had a very good opportunity to probably medal more but that comes with experience. Bringing twelve and only having three of those be seniors is a great sign for the future. This is such a hard weekend, so many ups and downs. I think it’s a great experience for all of them.”
Shelby finished the year with a 51-6 record and will be a leader for the program next year according to Vlcek.
“Shelby wrestled tough all the way there to finals,” said Vlcek. “(Ward) didn’t run away with it. He’ll lead the charge for next year. He leads by example. He’s always had the talent and work ethic, now he’s finally starting understand what he’s capable of doing.”
Photos to be added.