New wrestling coaches to make debut

Milaca’s wrestling team opens its 2012-2013 season Saturday at the Waconia Invitational.

The tournament will also mark the debut of new co-head coaches Mitch Vedders and Clay Hoeck. The former Milaca wrestling standouts take over for longtime coach Randy Zimmer and his longtime assistant Roger Rahm, who stepped down last spring following the state tournament.

“That’s exciting for Clay and I and it’s an honor to be coaching Milaca’s strong program,” said Vedders.

Milaca returns several wrestlers from last year’s team that won the consolation title at the Class AA State Team Tournament. The Wolves, who are ranked No. 6 in Class AA in The Guillotine wrestling magazine’s pre-season ratings, were 30-10 in duals last season.

“Practice has gone great and we’re excited to see the team mesh together as we move into the season,” said Hoeck. “The team is working hard and pushing one another to get better.

“We’re working on our lineup and we’re anxious to get the season underway.”

The field for the Waconia tourney includes LeSueur-Henderson, Marshall, Shakopee, Milaca and the host Wildcats.

The round-robin format has Milaca facing LeSueur-Henderson at 9 a.m., Marshall at 10:30, Waconia at noon and Shakopee at 3. Shakopee topped Milaca 40-27 last year in what proved to be the title match.

Shakopee is ranked No. 11 in Class AAA heading into the season.

“It’s a good way to open the season,” said Vedders. “We’ll see some good teams and good individuals.

The meet also has a junior varsity division.

The Wolves will travel to Mora for an early-season showdown Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Milaca hosts its invitational Saturday, Dec. 8, with the opening round at 9 a.m.

The field will include Elk River, Holdingford, Nashwauk-Keewatin, Aitkin and Milaca.