Monarchs bring home four medals
The Aquinas wrestling team sent 11 wrestlers to the state tournament, crowned one champion, advanced another into a finals match and came home with a total of four pieces of hardware.
The highlight of the tournament for the Monarchs was when senior Joseph Reimers (182) won his third consecutive state championship. His victory capped off another perfect season and made Reimers the most decorated champion in Aquinas history.
He’s the first to end a season on top of a state podium three times.
For more on Reimers, check out his feature story on B2.
“Our young guys did really well,” said co-head coach Eric Pflum. “That will help us with next year. That’s a good deal. To come down here, see some success and win some matches. We have a lot these kids coming back.”
Sophomore Zach Zitek (113) settled for silver after losing his first match of the season. Though he missed the first month with injury he returned as strong as ever and didn’t lose until in the championship bout to Valentine’s Chris Williams by a 7-5 decision.
“Williams is tough,” said Pflum. “We were right in there.”
Zitek won his first two matches in the tournament by pin, and defeated Logan View’s Dru Mueller 8-0 in the semifinals.
Sophomore Cameron Schrad (126) placed fourth.
He won in the opening round, but lost in the quarterfinals, placing him in the second round consolations.
He then went on a three-match run before losing in the third place match.
Freshman Hunter Vandenberg (106) placed sixth. Much like Schrad, Vandenberg started 1-1.
He then won his next two matches, put himself in position for third but ended in sixth.
“There’s a lot of guys ready to step in,” Pflum said. “We have a really young team coming. Next year we’ll have our three juniors. All three were state qualifiers this year.”
Freshman Christopher Nickolite (132), sophomore Nolan Eller (152) and junior Ben Kment (170) all went 2-2.
Junior Nolan Schultz (195) and senior Tad Naiberk (220) both earned a win at the state tournament.
Senior Creighton Redler (138) and junior Owen Schramm (285) completed the list of Aquinas state qualifiers.
“We tell them to push every year to get better,” Pflum said. “You have to have a full team. We’re trying to get kids to come out. We’re building a big wrestling family. Big things are coming. That’s what we’re trying to preach to the kids.”
As a team, Aquinas finished in fifth place behind Valentine, Broken Bow, David City and Battle Creek.
The next closest team was Arlington, 21 points behind the Monarchs.
With eight of the 11 state qualifiers returning and the addition of Noah Scott, who was ranked with a good chance to medal at state before an unfortunate ended his season during the district tournament, the Monarchs aim to be a top team in Class C next season.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net