By Steve Peterson
Many individual Akron-Westfield athletes received honors at the annual Athletic Awards Banquet May 14.
Senior Taylor James led the Akron-Westfield wrestling team’s accomplishments with a seventh place state tournament finish in Class 1A at 182 pounds.
James finished his season with a 36-7 overall record. He won four individual tournament titles, was WEC champion, Sectional Champion, two-time district qualifier and won the team’s Most Valuable Player Award.
At State, James had lost to Jake Lewis of St. Albert Council Bluffs, 3-1. He then beat Seth Kerr of English Valleys on a 17-0 technical fall in the second round. He beat Taylor Michael of North Linn-Troy Mills by a pin in 3:14. He lost to Dillon Nelson of St. Edmond, Fort Dodge, by a 4-3 decision. He beat Ryan Leonard of Midland Wyoming in a 4-3 decision for the seventh place medal. He had won his trip to state with a 5-3 win over Zack Klingensmith of Woodbury Central at the District Meet. James concluded his career as a Westerner with a 109-44 record.
Chet Willer, a senior, advanced with James to the District Meet in Onawa with a championship at 195 pounds at sectional. He also had three individual tournament titles, was a three-time Sectional Champion, a four-time District qualifier, and a two time State Qualifier with a sixth place finish in 2012. He was a Westerner Award winner for 2012-2013.
Tommy Toben had a 37-11 record at 120 pounds. He had three individual titles, was WEC champion, finished third in the District meet at West Monona, Onawa, was a first-year letter winner and Freshman of the Year Award winner.
Daniel Dirks, a senior, at 138 pounds, had a 34-10 record and finished his career with a 123-55 record. He won three individual tournament titles, was WEC champion, was a two-time State Qualifier, a three-time District Qualifier, a four-year letter winner, and the Westerner Award winner.
Cole Oltmanns, a senior at 145 pounds, had a 34-15 record and finished with a 137-48 career record. He had two individual tournament titles, was second in the WEC, was a two-time district qualifier and a four-year letter winner.
A-W Assistant Wrestling Coach Chad Morrow, subbing for Head Coach Dustin Meinen, presented team awards at banquet.
A-W had a 9-11 dual meet record despite giving up 30 points a match to forfeits. A-W was second in the War Eagle Conference. Overall, A-W had four WEC champions, 16 individual tournament title winners, two sectional champions, five district qualifiers, one state qualifier and one place winner.
“I have been in wrestling my whole life and I can say how hard these guys work. It doesn’t get any more challenging mentally and physically,” said Morrow.
Senior Chance Gant,had a 15-11 season record and a career record of 30-35. “Chance stepped up tremendously for us,” said Morrow.
Dylan Blinde, 152 pounds, had a 28-16 record and won the Most Improved Wrestler honor. He won one individual tournament championship and is a second-year letter winner.
Jacob Bergman, 152 pounds; Trevor Hansen, 220 pounds; and Michael Siebens, 113 pounds, received A-W letters while Zach Bosse and Jonah Anderson won Participation Awards.
Lady Westerners’ basketball coach Kent Johnson summed up the 2012-2013 season, noting A-W had an 8-15 overall record, 3-7 in the War Eagle Conference.
“Our girls fought hard to the end of the game. I enjoyed their attitudes this past season,” said Johnson. “I want to thank the seniors for their role in A-W basketball this past season and the other three years.”
Senior was Captain Haley Coyle.
Junior Dana Hedlund was named All-WEC Honorable Mention and was an A-W letter winner. Other junior letter winners were Sarah Schroeder, Jacynda Banks, Bethany Eastman, Jordan Hansen and Kayla Tindall.
Sophomores were letter winner Kortney Hedlund and participants Cali Westergard, Ryleigh Schnell and Hannah Koele.
Freshmen were Katie Johnson and Sam Johnson.
Managers were Katie Horton, Ann Hedlund, Danika Tindall and Bailey Davis. Dominick Foley helped out as game videographer.
A-W boys basketball coach Jon Harris presented the awards.
Letter winners were freshmen Caleb Colt and Wyatt Heyl; sophomores Tavian Banks, Joel Brenner, and Kevin Carlson; juniors Alex Foley, Chance Hoffman (leading scorer with 7.2 points per game); and Nathan Sanchez; and seniors Kyle Schroeder and game videographer Dominick Foley. Participant Awards were given to freshmen Andy Bowman and Brenden Hansen, and sophomore Tanner Coyle.
“We were quite young and inexperienced, and it often showed as we struggled finding the win column. However, these young men continued to stick together and at times played very well,” said Harris. “As Coach Eric Walkingstick said to me one night, ‘we needed to put the shovel down when things started to go badly instead of continuing to dig.’ We also need to shoot a lot of baskets this summer.”
Award winners for boys’ basketball were
• Chairman of the Boards, Chance Hoffman with 7.25 rebounds per game;
• Westerner Award to the lone senior, Schroeder;
• Floor General Award was given to Carlson who also won the Defense Award; and
• the “Dare to be a Star” Award to sophomores Tavian Banks, Kevin Carlson, Tanner Coyle and Jacob Neubrand.
A-W was 2-20 overall record.