Three Advance to State Wrestling Tournament
The Wrestling program at Waukee High School (WHS) has not only grown in size, but also competitiveness. Last week, seniors Chris Grow, Troy Gatzionis and Ryan Glenn competed at the state wrestling tournaments.
State Tournament Results
Grow lost his first round to #5 Briar Dittmer of Southeast Polk 9-1 in the opening round. He followed that loss up with a pin over #6 Christian Foote of Pleasant Valley in 5:10. He needed one more win to place and got that with a major decision over Juan Figueroa of Storm Lake, 13-2. Chris then lost to #2 Colby Knight 11-4, dropping him to the 7th and 8th place match. Here he lost to #4 Nathan Twito of Ames 8-2. Chris had a tough road and placing 8th was a great feat for him. He wrestled very well, losing to only highly ranked wrestlers who placed 3rd (knight), 4th (Dittmer) and 7th.
Gatzionis lost to #4 Trey Blaha of CR Prairie by fall in 3:10. Troy was wrestling well when he got pinned. He followed that up with a loss to #6 Randy McPhee of Pleasant Valley. Troy came out to win this match but was defeated 12-6.
Glenn lost in the first round to Landon Johnson of Webster City, 5-2. Ryan came out strong, scoring the first two points. A reversal followed by an injury put Ryan tied 2-2. Late in the third period he was turned for 3. This loss put him against #8 Zac Gillis of CR Washington. Glenn wrestled tough and physical, but he ended up on the wrong end of a scramble, losing by fall in 2:28.
About the Program
There have been years when WHS has only had 25 total wrestlers. This year, they started the season off with almost 60. While not all of those students were able to stick it out for the entire season, the season ended with just under 50 participants.
“This year our boys really bought into the program,” Chad Vollmecke, Head Werestling Coach said. “In the past, we have had a mass exodus after districts, but this season there were about 40 kids working out and helping the ‘G-Unit’ (Grow, Gatzionis and Glenn) prepare for state.”
Vollmecke has been Head Wrestling Coach since fall of 2004. During his time as head coach he has lead several to qualify for state and in 2008 coached a second place finisher. Over the last three years Vollmecke has focused on developing a youth program. Currently 120 wrestlers from kindergarten to eighth grade participate in the program at three levels of ability. Last season the Waukee Youth Wrestling club was crowned 4AAU state champions. Freshman Jakob Allison is a product of the youth program. Allison won 31 matches this season on varsity, tying the freshman win record set in 2005.
“The culture in Waukee is not one where wrestling is a priority. We are trying to change that,” Chad Vollmecke, Wrestling Head Coach said.
About the “G-Unit”
Chris Grow, Senior
Weight Class 132
4 year varsity letter winner.
Current Record – 32-11
Grow has gotten better and better every year since his freshman season. He was a district Champion to qualify for state. Grow has been a big part in the success we have had this season. He works hard lifting weights and wrestling matches in the off season, and as a candidate for valedictorian, he’s been a student of the sport. He also works well with others. The kids respect him and follow his lead.
Troy Gatzionis, Senior
Weight Class 138
3 year varsity letter winner.
Current Record 23-10.
Gatzionis overcame a shoulder injury that he sustained on January 19 in order to place second at districts and qualify for state. He’s a very explosive wrestler who has had to overcome adversity each year of his career.
Ryan Glenn, Senior
Weight Class 285 (actual weight, 265).
3 year varsity letter winner.
Current Record 11-3.
Glenn’s season didn’t really start until after Christmas because of injuries sustained in football. Glenn recently received a full-ride scholarship to Iowa State for football, so his being a part of the wrestling program instead of just focusing on football is a testament to his commitment and desire to be part of a team. Glenn didn’t start wrestling until 8th grade, which makes this accomplishment that much more impressive.