Wrestling sees success in 2018-19 season

Wrestling sees success in 2018-19 season

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Editor

Another year has come and gone for the Winona State University wrestling club, with the 2019 season ending with a sixth-place team finish at nationals.

Head coach Louie Orr was impressed with how the year went for the team, and was happy with the increased interest from people around campus.

“Things went real well for us this year, better than most,” Orr said. “We had a lot of school participation with number of students wanting to work out and be a little bit fit and, that was both men and women and that’s always good because that’s what this was all about. We had a number of wrestlers who wanted to compete and they did, and those who wanted to compete even more went further, so that was all good.”

From the competition side, Orr told The Winonan how this year proved to be one of the best since the ‘90’s, as the team competed in ten tournaments and one team duel, all against well-versed competition.

The highest note of the season came at the end, as the team flirted with the lead in team points during nationals.

“We scored well at the national tournament and we had a number of wrestlers who worked pretty deep into the tournament that helped in the scoring part of it, the team scoring,” Orr said. “To build on the top of that, you got to realize they were competing against other schools that actually have scholared athletes. So for us to finish as high as six, that’s very, very good.”

Leading the team in his final year was senior Giovanni Guarnero, who Orr has built a strong relationship with.

“I’ve been working with Giovanni for three years. He’s an exceptional athlete,” Orr said.

Orr said one of the biggest strengths in their relationship is communication, as the duo are able to understand where each other are coming from. Orr said this has contributed to the success Guarnero has seen.

“When he’s into the match, he’s there all the way and we knew each other from my perspective from the corner to him being on the mat,” Orr said. “When we called out something, we were in agreement from a coaching and athlete perspective, there was no miscommunications. And that was really what drove a lot of the success that we had between the two of us.”

At his final nationals appearance, Guarnero, wrestling at 235 lbs, placed third and earned his second All-American status, the only member of the team to receive the honor.

While the senior’s time at Winona State is coming to an end, Orr said he is hopeful in the potential of junior Austin Lasee, whom he has also worked closely with.

Lasee, who spent the season wrestling at 174 lbs, was apart of the four members of the Winona State wrestling team who were at nationals, alongside Guarnero, sophomore Skyler Redmond and first-year Tyler Laures.

“Austin has been following the path that we’ve laid out for him to become an All-American,” Orr said. “He understands what we’re telling him and he has been working on the moves to build him into that position where he’s going to be into what we call winning wrestling.”

Heading into next season, Orr said he hopes to see the relationship between the club and the university continue to grow, along the with the growth of his team as they look for more success.