Le Mars boys wrestling wins convincingly on senior night

Monday, January 16, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Le Mars Community’s Matthew Vondrak takes on West’s Jaelonni Small on Thursday. He got the win by fall in both of his 152 pound matches.

LE MARS — The Le Mars Community boys wrestling team picked up a pair of convincing dual wins over Missouri River Activities Conference foes Sioux City East and Sioux City West on Thursday.

“We’ve really been focusing on not wrestling down to our competition,” Le Mars Head Coach Shane Hessenius said. “We’ve just got to go wrestle and be aggressive no matter who we’re wrestling. I was just proud that they competed to their best ability.”

Recognize four seniors

The Bulldogs recognized four senior wrestlers between their two victories as the careers of Arik Burnett, Matthew Vondrak, Conner Peterson and Dylan DeRocher begin to enter their final stretch.

“It’s tough because all of those seniors I’ve coached since they were little kids,” Hessenius said. “To say goodbye to them and goodbye to their family, and I hope tonight was special for them and their family, is tough. This night reminds you that the end of the road is coming. I’m glad we got some parents in the coaches chairs tonight.”

Burnett won his 170 match against West’s Alonso Cota by fall in 4:50.

“Arik Burnett, he’s right there close to a varsity spot and he’s not complaining. He’s working his butt off and he’s a great leader,” Hessenius said.

DeRocher got the other 170 win against East, pinning Gavin Palazzo in 40 seconds.

“Dylan DeRocher, the kid has a steel rod in his back and to go compete like he is is unbelievable and shows so much heart and desire to our younger kids,” Hessenius said.

Vondrak wrestled at 152 and pinned East’s Jesus Sanchez in 35 seconds and West’s Jaelonni Small in 1:02.

“Matthew Vondrak, gosh he’s physical. He was the kid who a couple years ago would get up big and then get pinned and now he’s overtaken that,” Hessenius said.

Peterson competed at 132, pinning West’s Evan Tweet in 31 seconds and East’s Luke Brockelsby in 3:59.

“Conner Peterson, he’s gotten so much better. He was not very good when he came to us right away, and he’s improved. He’s a good leader,” Hessenius said.

(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Le Mars Community’s Conner Peterson wrestles at 132 against East’s Luke Brockelsby who he beat by fall in 3:59.

Younger wrestlers also do well

Along with wins for the seniors, the younger classes also did well as they helped the team to a 77-6 win over West and a 64-18 win over East.

Jefferson Sitzmann wrestled at 126 in both duals. He won by a 16-1 score for a technical fall against West’s Daniel Meza in the first match of the night and then pinned East’s Luis Ortez in 1:30 to finish off the dual against the Black Raiders.

Michael Murra added two wins. He won by forfeit at 138 against West and then pinned East’s Kade Preston in 1:35.

Keegan Kayser also won by forfeit against West at 145 and then added a pin against East’s Jesus Sanchez in 35 seconds.

At 160, Alex Allen got two quick wins by fall, pinning West’s Richard Barillas in 18 seconds and finishing off East’s Tyler Cook in 26 seconds.

At 182, Evan Jalas picked up a pair of pins. He finished off West’s Antonio Medina in 5:34 and East’s Damian Cardenis in 45 seconds.

Camden Feuerhelm got two wins at 195. First he pinned West’s Julio Santos in 2:43 and then he got the win by fall in 2:58 against East’s Yrhynest Lipscomb.

At 220, Ayden Hoag went uncontested for a forfeit win against West and then he pinned East’s Garrett Walling in 3:54.

Aiden Kramer dropped both of his heavyweight matches, losing by fall in 2:15 to West’s Kaden Buss and then losing by fall in 1:38 against East’s Luke Vander Weide.

At 106 and 113, David Henry and Brock Hessenius won by forfeit against West before losing to their opponents from East. Henry lost by fall in 3:54 to Timothy Sanchez and Hessenius was pinned in 1:50 by Danny Cleveland.

In the 120 class, Degi Kabongo won both of his matches by fall. He pinned West’s Colton McCabe in 32 seconds and East’s Sairus Samayoa in 1:08.

In extra matches, Kougar Sargisson, Kaleb Breuer, Kreed Schroeder, Reed Larson and Lawson Ostermyer all picked up pins. Hayden Sitzmann added a 7-1 decision win in another extra match.

Hoping to make case for regional duals

With the two dual wins, the Bulldogs are now 16-3 in duals this season. In the Dec. 19 IWCOA rankings, Le Mars was ranked No. 28 with only the top 24 teams advancing to regional duals. Hessenius said he hopes these wins coupled with their competition at the Linn-Mar Duals will help the Bulldogs climb a few more spots when the next set of rankings are released Monday.

He added Tuesday’s dual meet at Spencer, where the team will face the currently 3A No. 24 ranked Tigers and Class 2A No. 25 ranked MOC-Floyd Valley, may very well determine whether the team qualifies for regional duals or not.

“It’s a lot about rankings, so it’s like we have to put up the biggest number we can,” Hessenius said. “We still have some work to do. I think the big deal is going to be Spencer on Tuesday night. We could lose and still go, but if we win, that really sells it for us. It gets rowdy in that Spencer gym. We’re going to have to be tough. We’re going to have to be physical and not listen to that big crowd up there. We’re going to have to travel well and get a lot of fans up there and that will help.”

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