Perhaps the worst-kept secret in Benton County is that Lyle Freudenberg plans to retire as Foley’s head wrestling coach at the end of the season.
He has told his wrestlers and Scott Gorecki, the probable replacement, has been listed as the co-head coach the past two seasons.
When it happens, know this: Freudenberg is likely going out quite loudly with what looks like one of his better teams.
The No. 1-ranked Falcons beat Becker 49-16 Thursday night at Foley High School.
“We plan on sending him out with a bang,” said Foley’s Tyler Midas, a senior 195-pounder who won with a pin in 4:43, one of six the Falcons recorded Thursday. “He’s a great guy.”
He has an impressive team. Foley has seven state-ranked wrestlers this season, though only six were in the lineup.
Luke Kelvington was out with mononucleosis. Christian Halverson is also “dinged up,” Freudenberg said. Mitch Rothfork is dealing with a knee issue.
But who was in singlets looked sharp this night, though Midas and Tyler Funk, for two, say they are not in top condition yet.
“We wrestled tough, but we’re not conditioned yet,” said Funk, a senior 132-pounder who won in a pin at 2:27. He’s ranked second in the state at 126.
“We’ve got a lot of sick guys right now, but we did wrestle good,” Funk said. “They (the Bulldogs) have a couple good guys. It was a good dual.
“You don’t want to peak yet. You definitely want to wait for sections and state, obviously.”
That’s when this team will be judged in comparing Foley squads that Freudenberg has coached the past 36 years.
There is some heady company to measure the 2013-14 team up to, including state champions in 1989, ’93 and ’94 and second-place squads in 2009 and ’10.
“(Assistant coach Larry) Herm will get them there,” Freudenberg said with a smile about conditioning.
“He does an outstanding job with the weight-training and conditioning for all our kids.”
Five of the six state-ranked wrestlers won Thursday for Foley, including No. 4 Carter Nielsen at 152 (a pin in 5:26), No. 4 Mitch Struffert at 220 (6-0 decision) and No. 7 Mitch Keeler at 285 (pin in 4:32).
The match of the night, at least for the Bulldogs, was at 145. There, junior Caleb Vekved beat fifth-ranked Randy Jenson 4-3.
“It wasn’t too bad for wrestling the No. 1 team in the state,” Becker head coach Matt Aho said of the evening. “Our goal was to have some great individual matches and to battle our best.”
Becker definitely did that. The Bulldogs got a pin from Josh Lumley at 113 in 5:27 and a 15-4 major decision from Bobby Lee at 170. Lee is ranked second in the state.
Like Foley, Becker is missing folks, too. Zach Zimmer, ranked fifth at 152, is out. So is Adam Bauman. Both are recovering from football injuries.
“We’re being patient early in the year,” Aho said, noting that he hopes Becker is a serious Section 6-2A contender in February, where Foley is a likely No. 1.
Freudenberg isn’t convinced the Falcons are the top team in the state, though he appreciates the honor.
Kasson-Mantorville is the defending state 2A champion and ranked third. Simley, a five-time state champ in the past decade, is fourth and looks strong, Freudenberg said. Totino-Grace is ranked second.
But there’s a lot of wrestling to do before that will be sorted out.
“I think we deserve it,” Funk said of the No. 1 ranking. “We definitely work hard.
“We have a couple guys out the last couple meets and so we haven’t really shown our best. But when it comes to state, we’ll be there.”
For the moment, there’s the Frazee Duals at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Falcons wrestle Lisbon (N.D.), which is state-ranked.
State-ranked teams from Frazee, Perham, Minneota and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial also compete.
“It should be a good one,” Freudenberg said.
Freudenberg plans to let his superintendent know about his intentions soon. He plans to remain in the classroom, at least for another year.
“He doesn’t want to make an official statement,” Midas said. “But that’s the plan.”
106 — John Dierkes (F) dec. Mikey James, 1-0; 113 — Josh Lumley (B) pinned Cody O’Neil 5:27; 120 — Taylor Jurek (F) pinned Andrew Berglund 3:44; 126 — Colten Demant (B) dec. Simon Bryce, 9-4; 132 — Tyler Funk (F) pinned George Lomeli 2:17; 138 — Logan Lunde (F) pinned Andy Johnson 1:41; 145 — Caleb Vekved (B) dec. Randy Jenson, 4-3; 152 — Carter Nielsen (F) pinned Cody Ferris, 5:26; 160 — Tyler Beehler (F) major dec. Jaylin Hildebrandt, 9-1; 170 — Bobby Lee (B) major dec. Spencer Elwell, 15-4; 182 John Garceau (F) dec. Tyler France 5-4; 195 — Tyler Midas (F) pinned Chris Weberg, 4:43; 220 — Mitch Struffert (F) dec. Mason Olson 6-0; 285 — Mitch Keeler (F) pinned Casey Vesledahl, 4:32.