RCTC wrestling program in great spot after runner-up finish at nationals

The Yellowjackets recently placed second at nationals, snapping their three-year run at the top.

RCTC wresting
The Rochester Community and Technical College wrestling team. The Yellowjackets placed second at nationals on March 5.
Contributed / RCTC wrestling

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Community and Technical College wrestling team's three-year run as NJCAA wrestling champs came to an end this past weekend, yet some could argue the program has never been more stable.

Of course, it goes back to those before him, but coach Andy Hackenmueller — after just completing his second season — feels the share sentiment.

"It's a pretty stable thing going on right now," Hackenmueller said. "It starts with the coaching staff — for the most part, they have been with me from the start. We're all on the same page and it's just kind of sweet with our group growing and building our brand. I think more and more people are starting to see that. So I'm pretty confident and feel good with where we're at."

Hackenmueller's confidence stems from the number of guys who are expected to return next season, including All-American Antony Tuttle, who was one of three Yellowjackets to earn All-America honors this past weekend, joining Walker Ingham (184, eighth) and Nate Beberg (eighth, 285). Beberg and Tuttle, who placed fourth at 184, are both are expected back next year — two of many.

"We have a lot of guys that are coming back," Hackenmueller said. "Guys should be great to start the year next year. We have stuff to get a good base to build out here. The teams that beat us, they have a lot of second-year guys that were all previous All-Americans and things like that. With the guys that we should have returning, plus a few guys that we're pretty confident in, recruits that are coming here, we should have a really good team for next year."


Hackenmueller is also excited about two names that many around the wrestling community are well aware of: Byron grad Jake Thompson and Plainview-Elgin-Millville grad Martin Prieto, both of whom won matches at nationals as true freshmen. Both are instrumental for Hackenmueller, as he continues to put his stamp on this program. But Prieto is the one who has drawn rave reviews and is a great ambassador for RCTC.

"Martin is just a guy that everybody wants in their room," Hackenmueller said. "He can wrestle with anybody and then it's always, 'yes sir, I'll work on that. I'll do it,' and he'll get it done 100 percent what you tell him to do and he fully believes in it. That's why he is so successful, because he has bought in and has faith in his coaching staff and his partners. He went pretty deep in the tournament and there were a lot of returning All-Americans at that weight class. Martin is just tough and made them all fight. He definitely put his name on the map.

"With these guys doing well, it just helps sell the program that much more and ultimately keep this thing going."

Both Thompson and Prieto fit the mold for what Hackenmueller is looking for moving forward. He considers both of them key parts of the equation for a number of reasons.

"With these guys doing well it just helps this thing that much more and ultimately keeps this thing growing," Hackenmueller said.

That's Hackenmueller's next task: Continue recruiting and continue to build upon the base he has laid in his first two seasons as coach — two seasons that have resulted in a national championship and national runner-up finish.

"A lot of these guys that we have that I was able to recruit last year, they're the kind of guys that we want and I have full trust in them," Hackenmueller said. "So I think even during this offseason, they're going to keep working out, they're going to keep helping us recruit as well. They really want to see the program do well. So I feel like it's not just me out there pushing and holding people accountable, it's, we have some guys on the team that are going to help lead."

But for now, after a long six months of training and competing the Yellowjackets are going to enjoy their spring break this week. After that, training once again starts with freestyle competitions in full swing. The Yellowjackets also help out the youth at the Guerrilla Club that is held at RCTC as well.


"We try and stay active," Hackenmueller said. "The offseason is about getting bigger and getting healthy, refine some techniques and try to give back a little bit."

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
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