Saints wrestling closes out 2020-2021 season with awards banquet

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

On Sunday night, the Saints wrestling program handed out awards and thanked the work of its three seniors in what was a down year for the Saints wrestling program.

"When looking back on the season as a whole, the first thing that sticks out is we, continually as a team, were able to adapt and overcome changes throughout the season," said head coach Jake Johnson. "I don't think I would be first to say that COVID-19 prevented everyone here with a lot of challenges as a team. As a team, we had to overcome scheduling and roster changes, and guys who could and couldn't compete, and teams that couldn't compete."

Johnson also spoke upon the individual improvement throughout the season, and willingness to try and compete and get better every day on the mat.

"From the beginning of the season, one of the things we as coaches emphasized was getting 1% better every day," said Johnson. 

The Saints finished the year at 2-23-1, earning victories over Madelia/Truman and Luverne, and a tie with Wabasso. The Saints bowed out to Pipestone in the first round of the section tournament.

The varsity lineup for the Saints regularly deployed freshmen and middle school wrestlers, who were tasked with facing wrestlers who were sometimes four or five years older than them.

Seventh graders Peyton Wolner and Lane Moser each saw varsity action, with Wolner wrestling 17 times. Eighth-grader Talyn Tande went 6-6.

The Saints featured eight freshmen, including Kollin Anderson, Levi Miest, Gadiel Velasco, Hayden Davis, and David Rathman, all of whom were varsity regulars.

Anderson led the team in wins, going 14-17 with 13 fall wins. Anderson's work earned him team MVP honors. Anderson also placed in the top-six at the section meet.

Miest earned Most Improved, with Johnson citing that the freshman was a "tone-setter," and was motivated from the beginning of the season. Miest earned the most major decision victories for the Saints.

Anderson also paced the Saints in team points.

Sophomore Derek Fast finished 6-16 with a pair of falls.

The three seniors, Cesar and Josh Olivares, as well as Jack Mahoney Berg, were the only upperclassmen on the roster for Johnson's club.

Josh Olivares led the senior class with seven wins and five falls, and finished in the top-six at the individual section meet.

The Saints are slated to return the vast majority of their varsity team for the next two years, leading with Anderson and Miest, who were named team captains at the end of the banquet. 

Other awards:

Spotlight on Scholarship: Jack Mahoney Berg, Cesar Olivares, Alexis Herrera

Man on a Mission (MoM) Award: Levi Miest, Talyn Tande, Kollin Anderson

Letterwinners: Kollin Anderson, Emilio Arreola, Jack Mahoney Berg, Hayden Davis, Julio Esqueda, Derek Fast, Alexis Herrera, Kayl Johnson, Levi Miest, Lane Moser, Cesar Olivares, Josh Olivares, David Rathman, Talyn Tande, Gadiel Velasco, Peyton Wolner

Most Tech-Falls: Gadiel Velasco

Most Takedowns: Kollin Anderson

Most Reversals: Cesar Olivares, Kollin Anderson

Fastest Fall (0:10): Derek Fast, Cesar Olivares

Team Member Award: Kollin Anderson, Emilio Arreola, Hayden Davis, Julio Esqueda, Derek Fast, Jack Mahoney Berg, Levi Miest, Cesar Olivares, Josh Olivares, Adrian Pineda Talyn Tande, Gadiel Velasco, Peyton Wolner

Underdog Award: Hayden Davis, Levi Miest, Emilio Arreola