High School Wrestling Focus: Lake City making a difference on and off the mat

The Tigers recently went up to pack meals for Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit that provides meals for malnourished children across the globe.

Lake City wrestling
The Lake City wrestling team smiles after volunteering at the Feed My Starving Children in Eagan. The team packed 209 boxes — equivalent to 445,144 meals — enough to feed 124 kids in need for a year.
Lake City Wrestling / Twitter

EAGAN — After a tough weekend on the mat and with an open date on the schedule, Lake City wrestling coach Doug Vaith knew it was the perfect day for the Tigers' wrestling program to give back.

It ended up being a day many of the Tigers grapplers won't soon forget.

On Monday, all 37 wrestlers plus the Lake City coaching staff bused up to Eagan to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit organization that works with other organizations and ministries across the globe to end world hunger. In 2022, Feed My Starving Children was able to provide 1,237,581 children a daily meal for a year.

The goal is to beat that number in 2023 and thanks to the efforts of the Tigers, the nonprofit is well on its way.

During over an hour of packing meals, the Tigers put together what they were told was a post-pandemic record of 209 boxes — equivalent to 45,144 meals — enough to feed 124 kids a daily meal for a year.


Their coach couldn't have been more proud.

"It was so much fun," Vaith said. "The kids had so much fun doing good for others. It was just so rewarding to watch that, to see that. It was just a lot of fun to watch those kids doing a service and helping others and enjoying it along the way. I was watching it and it got me emotional looking at them. It was just so cool to see them enjoying that.

"These kids were competing for different reasons and it was really what we needed at this point in the season."

The Tigers had just come off a 74-0 dual loss to Zumbrota-Mazeppa, a clash in which Vaith said his team got "our lunch handed to us." And with sections right around the corner, Monday's trip was a great opportunity to put some things into perspective.

Not only did the team get to make a difference in this world, but they took advantage of team bonding on a day that started with breakfast made by Vaith's wife and ended with some bowling and spaghetti.

"We were thinking we could have gone to a Gophers wrestling match again, but you kind of feel as a coach, especially after you have been coaching for so long, you want to teach more than just wrestling," Vaith said. "To do this and to watch them, and to hear them afterwards. I'll bet almost every single person when they left the bowling alley said, 'Thanks for a fun day, coach.' "

In the end, that's all that matters and hopefully, each one of the Tigers will remember this day and the power of giving back.

"My hope is that this shows that it feels good to do good," Vaith said. "Hopefully you want to continue to do more good."


Top standouts

1, Jackson Duellman, Dover-Eyota

The senior is oh so crucial to the Eagles' lineup. With the ability to go between 220 and heavyweight, he's a big reason why D-E reached the state tournament a season ago. Yet, he's an individual state title contender this year. He's ranked as the third best heavyweight in Class A by The Guillotine with individual titles at the Ellsworth, Northfield Larry Severson and Dave Erickson invites. He was also impressive at The Clash, going 5-1, knocking off Kamahao Grace of Staley, Mo. — someone who is favored to win a state title — by a 7-6 decision.

2. Jesse Armbruster, Faribault

The longtime Falcons' head coach earned a major milestone, recording career dual win No. 300 on Jan. 20 with a 56-18 victory over Mahtomedi. The NWCA Division III and Augsburg University Hall of Famer has been with the program for nearly 30 years, with the last two-plus decades coming as the head coach.

3. Dominic Mann, Kasson-Mantorville

The K-M junior notched his 100th career victory during the KoMets' triangular with Stewartville and Pine Island. A state qualifier last year, Mann has wrestled well this year. He's ranked No. 7 at 170 in Class AA and recently went 5-0 to help K-M to a perfect 5-0 record at the Osage Green Devils Duals on Jan. 14 in Osage, Iowa.

4. Dillon Bartel, Kenyon-Wanamingo

Bartel is another junior who recorded his 100th career win. He did it in style, bumping up to 170 to knock off Dover-Eyota's Landon Lehnertz by a 6-3 decision. It was a part of a 37-28 upset victory for the Knights over Class A's No. 1 ranked Eagles. Bartel is ranked No. 9 at 152 in Class A.


5. Bolton Thesing, Dover-Eyota

Thesing, a junior, also recorded his 100th career victory during the Eagles' dual with Kenyon-Wanamingo. He won by a 16-3 major decision and has not dropped a match in nearly a month. He also has individual titles at the Northfield Larry Severson Invitational and the Dave Erickson Invitational, which saw him wrestle up at 138.

The sport of girls wrestling has taken off around the country, but especially in Minnesota the last couple of years. The latest evidence comes in the forms of a larger postseason.

6. Jordan Zibrowski, Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson, Chris Cushman, Wabasha-Kellogg/Alma-Pepin

A pair of Three Rivers Conference wrestlers earned their 100th career victories. Zibrowski — a junior — joined the 100-win club on Jan. 21, while Cushman — a senior — tallied the achievement on Jan. 13.

7. St. Michael-Albertville girls

Although STMA isn’t technically in the Rochester coverage area, the girls program deserves some recognition. The program is in its first season but is already seeing results as was made evident in a close defeat against Mora. Just another sign of the growth of girls wrestling.

Power Rankings

1. Kasson-Mantorville


The KoMets stay atop of our power rankings after an impressive performance against Osage, Iowa. The KoMets — ranked No. 4 in Class AA by The Guillotine — went a perfect 5-0 in duals. That included a 34-28 win over Iowa's top-ranked 2A team Osage, as they claimed the 10-team event. Overall, the KoMets are a perfect 10-0 in duals this year. A big matchup with section rival Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Feb. 4 looms.

2. Dover-Eyota

After an impressive performance at The Clash, the Eagles found themselves ranked No. 1 in Class A by The Guillotine. Yet, Section 1A foe Kenyon-Wanamingo was able to knock them off by the previously mentioned 37-28 score. Yet, the Eagles bounced back in a big way with a team title at the Dave Erickson HOF tourney in Hayfield, thanks to six individual champions.

3. Zumbrota-Mazeppa

Another team that found itself move up the rankings after a stellar showing at The Clash, the Cougars are ranked No. 11 in Class AA. They could move up a couple of spots after sweeping the quadrangular they hosted on the 14th. Z-M roughed up Class AAA schools Owatonna (58-13) and Centennial (62-15) before handling a tough Kenyon-Wanamingo team with relative ease, 39-21. Jack Krier (126) and Kaleb Lochner (152) are both ranked No. 3 in their respective weight classes.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Kaleb Lochner used to freeze at times, overthinking what he wanted to do next. He has now developed into one of the top 152-pounders in Class AA for the Cougars.

4. Mayo

The Spartans are 10-7 overall in duals, but 4-0 against Section 1AAA opponents, including an early season victory over preseason favorite Northfield. Mayo did fall to perennial power Albert Lea, before rebounding with a win over Mankato East and a team title at the Pine Island invite. Mayo finished with 178 points, followed by Park of Cottage Grove (154).

5. Kenyon-Wanamingo


The Knights crack the top five after that upset victory over D-E. The Knights were also tough against Z-M in that quad on Jan. 17 and have seen a number of stellar performances lately. They now sit at 16-4 overall, with a 4-0 record in Section 1A.

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at
What To Read Next
Get Local