Three local wrestlers earn Hall of Fame honors
Three former wrestlers with ties to southeastern Minnesota were selected to the Minnesota Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Two others were inducted to the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame.
Two wrestling associations recently held their Hall of Fame banquets and a number of area men were inducted.
Chuck Siefert, Jerry Reker and Don Krusemark were among the nine new members selected to the Minnesota Chapter National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.
• Siefert, a native of Goodhue, started his coaching career in 1977 after playing Division I football and wrestling at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah. He became a long-time wrestling and football coach at Rochester Community and Technical College, where he earned numerous awards. Among the wrestling awards were MCCC Coach of The Year, NJCAA Region XIII Coach of The Year and NJCAA Man of The Year.
Siefert has also been a wrestling official, promoter and has helped bring a numerous high-level events to the area. He has been named Wrestling USA Minnesota’s Wrestling Person of the Year, inducted into the Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Alumni Hall of Fame and also inducted into The Clash HOF.
• Reker, a native of Fulda, has had a long career as a coach and official. He had a 94-45 record as a football coach at Grand Meadow, including a state runner-up finish, and a wrestling coaching record of 103-13-1. He then started officiating wrestling in 1985 and has continued for 36 years. He has worked many high-level events in high school and college and has served in the capacity of head clinician for the Southern Minnesota Wrestling Officials Association.
Reker, who had a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings in 1975, is a member of the inaugural Southwest Minnesota State University Hall of Fame, Mayo Civic Center and Region One Hall of Fame, Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association, National Wrestling Officials Association, Intercollegiate College Wrestling Officials Association, Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame, Minnesota State High School League Distinguished Service Award, and was recognized in 2005 and 2007 as the Section 1AA and Section 1A Official of the Year.
• Krusemark, a native of Blue Earth, was a two-time state champion at Rochester Community College and then a two-time NCAA National Qualifier at Division I Indiana State as a wrestler. He was a football, softball and wrestling coach at the high school level and has spent the last 35 years at Mankato West. He retired from coaching wrestling in 2011 with a 415-286-3 record. He is still the softball coach at Mankato West, a position he has held for 23 years and he has guided the Scarlets to the state championship game three times and a state title in 2016.
Krusemark was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame in 2021 after being inducted into the Mankato Area Softball Hall of Fame back in 2011.
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Ron Sanders and his son, Zach Sanders, are both selected to the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame.
Ron Sanders posted a 61-14-3 record in high school at Truman and later wrestled at Minnesota-Morris. He then coach wrestling at Wabasha-Kellogg for 41 years from 1980-2020. He earned 391 career dual meet wins and coached 36 state place winners. He is one of the few that have coached two five-time state champs, his sons Eric and Zach. He guided two teams to the state tournament, in 1999 and again in 2006.
• Zach Sanders is a 2007 grad of Wabasha-Kellogg High School. He became just the third wrestler in Minnesota to win five state individual championships. His high school record was 223-5. In high school, he was an All-American in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Zach Sanders went on to have a stellar college career at the University of Minnesota, where he became the seventh wrestler in school history to achieve All-American status four times. He continued to pursue wrestling at the international level following his college career. He has represented the United States national team a number of time and has been a qualifier for the World and Olympic Team Trials. His is currently an assistant wrestling coach for the Gophers at Minnesota.
Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .