Bruner, 2015 team join Hall of Fame
Bryce Bruner, who won the 145-pound Class A state wrestling title in 2016, and the 2015 Minneota Class A state championship team, were inducted into the Wally Pesch Wrestling Hall of Fame at the Minneota Wrestling Banquet Sunday night.
Around 200 people were on hand at the Heritage Event Center south of Taunton for the banquet that brings past and present wrestlers and their families and friends.
Bruner, a senior at the time, defeated Tom Tellers of United North Central 3-0 to claim the state title at Xcel Energy Center. He ended the season with a 46-3 record.
The majority of the 2015 team, which was coached by Joel Skillings, was in attendance to accept the Hall of Fame honor. Minneota beat Zumbrota-Mazeppa 31-30 to win the championship.
The wrestling banquet was not held last year due to the pandemic when Bruner was to be inducted. The 2015 team was this year's inductee. In 2019, the late JoAnn Fier was inducted for her contributions to the sport. Her daughter, Kelly DeVlaeminck, accepted her mother's plaque at this year's banquet.
Todd Traen, a 2004 Minneota graduate, was the guest speaker. He was a four-time state qualifier and a former head wrestling coach at Waseca, as well as being an official for a few years.
The 2021-22 season letters and awards were also handed out at the banquet. Jackson Esping and Jonah Gruenes were recognized as this year's captains. The six individual state entrants, Adam DeVlaeminck, Peyton Gillund, Troy Van Keulen, Zack Fier, Jonah Gruenes and Jackson Esping were also recognized.
The Building Block Awards went to Kaden Lozenski and Kyson Arndt.
The Most Improved Wrestler Award was given to Troy Van Keulen.
Zack Fier earned both the Hardest Worker and Most Valuable Teammate Awards.