February 28, 2018 06:55 PM
(ABC 6 News) – The Chatfield Gophers will send two wrestlers to the Minnesota Individual State Tournament on Friday and Saturday—for one of those wrestlers, it’ll be an ending to a top-level high school career on the mats.
At the Section 1A individual wrestling meet last weekend, Chatfield freshman Seth Goetzinger (106 pounds) and senior Jake Mandt (145 pounds) clinched spots in the Class A Individual Wrestling Tournament. For Mandt, it’s another trip to state.
“He’s a strong kid,” Gophers head wrestling coach Travis Bartels said. “Tough wrestler.”
Mandt doesn’t stand-out among the crowd—he stands well short of six-feet tall, but when he’s in the wrestling circle, this year, he’s a perfect 38-0.
“I would have a hard time betting against him,” Bartels said. “He’s got a lot of natural ability, there’s no doubt, but he puts his time in with camps and just the way he works in practice, he works really hard at it.”
Mandt, who was part of the Gophers’ 2014 state championship team as an 8th grader, was also the Class A 145-pound individual champion as a junior in 2017.
“He’s always in the state tournament,” Bartels added. “He took 5th (as a freshman), 3rd (sophomore), and first (junior) and he’s going for another state title this year.”
It’s been awhile since Mandt had last lost in a wrestling match—he lost two matches in December of 2016 at the “Rumble on the Red” Wrestling Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, losing back-to-back matches to Shakopee senior and current Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestler Alex Crowe, and Jackson County Central’s Jacob Tvinnereim.
Since losing those back-to-back matches, Mandt is perfect, and he said those losses made him a better wrestler.
“It kind of hit me like a bus, but it was a good feeling,” Mandt recalled. “It makes you realize you’re human, everyone is beatable, and it’s kind of driven me to work hard consistently.”
At this year’s individual state wrestling tournament, come Friday, Mandt said his 38-0 record and number-one ranking in the Minnesota Guillotine 145-pound rankings, won’t matter.
“I’m going to be thinking about wrestling my perfect match, not the perfect record,” Mandt said. “If I wrestle a perfect match, I think things are going to take care of themselves and that’s what I’m worried about is wrestling to the best of my ability.”
Mandt is a talented wrestler, but it also helps that he’s become a true “student of the sport.”
“It doesn’t take anything amazing,” Mandt said. “But overall, it’s about coming in here every day, trying to get better, trying to improve yourself.”
Bartels, who has coached wrestling at Chatfield for the last 17 seasons, said Mandt is “one of the best” he’s ever coached at the school, and added that Mandt would be a “great wrestling coach” someday—a compliment which Mandt said he takes to heart.
“He’s like having another coach in the room,” Bartels said. “He’s always looking out and helping other kids and giving them little pointers. His technique is spot-on.”
“I just have a little bit to teach everyone,” Mandt said. “It’s not a great amount, but if I can tell a couple of little kids something to do better, tell them something they’re doing wrong, in the same way, they can tell me, it’s pretty awesome.”
“We’re going to really miss him next year,” Bartels said.
Next year, Mandt will take his wrestling career to the collegiate level, as he will compete at St. Cloud State University next year.
Updated: February 28, 2018 06:55 PM
Created: February 28, 2018 05:31 PM
Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company