The 2019-2020 wrestling season was filled with plenty of excitement. Whether it was conference battles or state tournament appearances, the talent was on full display in the area all season long.
Below is a look at the Herald Journal All-Area Wrestling Team.
Jonah Hamberger (Watertown-Mayer)
A state tournament appearance was the highlight of the season for Watertown-Mayer’s Jonah Hamberger. In his first year of wrestling varsity, the freshman had a season to remember for the Royals.
“Jonah is a very hard worker and a very smart kid,” W-M coach Kurt Becker said. “He looked at his statistics last year and made some adjustments in the off-season to improve his skills. Those improvements showed up in spades this year by not going to his back and improving his takedowns.”
Throughout the season, Hamberger worked hard to put himself in the best position come the section tournament. In the end, it paid off as he reached the Class AA state tournament at 106.
“That kind of intelligence shows up when he competes,” W-M coach Bill McDonald said. “It is a huge accomplishment to qualify for the state tournament as a first-year varsity freshman, much less win two matches there. We look forward to having him around for the next three years, and I’m sure he’ll be a valuable asset to our program for years to come.”
Caleb Boese (HLWW)
The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted wrestling team had a motto of ‘Embrace the grind’ this season. Seventh-grader Caleb Boese did just that for the Lakers.
“Caleb is a model for our team slogan,” HLWW coach Joe Puncochar said. “He had perfect practice and meet attendance.”
Wrestling at 106, Boese was just one of three seventh-graders to reach the Class A state tournament at 106. While being young, Boese didn’t let being young bother him as he brought home a sixth-place finish at the state tournament in his first appearance.
“He never backs down from a challenge, and he is mentally tough well beyond his years,” Puncochar said. “We are in good hands for the next five years at whatever weight class Caleb Boese is wrestling.”
Collin Boese (HLWW)
There’s no doubt that HLWW’s Collin Boese is one of the most talented wrestlers for the Lakers. He proved that by reaching the state tournament once again this season.
“Collin is a pure athlete,” Puncochar said. “The things he’s able to do athletically are unlimited. His mental toughness has improved and his skills are some of the best we’ve had.”
Boese finished the season at the Class A state tournament. After winning his first match of the tournament, Boese finished just one spot short of placing at the state meet.
Being just a sophomore, his coach knows it’s only a matter of time until he puts it all together.
“His biggest obstacle is sometimes himself,” Puncochar said. “Once he figures out the only person to worry about is himself, there is no doubt in my mind he will be on the podium at the end of the year.”
Danny Mosford (HLWW)
No wrestler in the area had a tougher season than HLWW’s Danny Mosford. After battling injuries throughout the season, Mosford got healthy at the right time to qualify for the Class A state tournament.
“Danny has ridden the roller coaster more than most athletes this season,” Puncochar said. “He finds ways to win tough matches and is improving his offensive repertoire.”
Mosford finished one spot short of placing at the Class A state tournament. As Mosford returns for his senior year next year, his coach is excited to see what he can do.
“I am stoked to see what Danny will be able to do in his upcoming senior season,” Puncochar said.
Keegan Lemke (G-SL/LP)
Lester Prairie’s Keegan Lemke found himself in a spot he wasn’t sure was possible at the beginning of the season. Even though his appearance at the Class AA state tournament was short-lived, Lemke took a big step forward for the Panthers this season.
“Overall, it was a great experience and feeling, making it to state,” Lemke said. “Having the towns of Lester Prairie and Glencoe supporting me was an awesome feeling.”
Lemke lost both his matches at the state tournament, but the experience has ignited a fire to get back next season.
“Now, I’ll just need to put more work in on the offseason with camps, and hit the weights harder,” Lemke said. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think state was achievable. I’ve never placed high in sections. But this year, I changed practice partners. Without Zach Voelz, I don’t think I could’ve competed with better competition. He put the time in with me at the gym. This is the first year I’ve finished with a record over .500.”