MEDFORD WRESTLING HISTORY
By most accounts the Medford wrestling team, along with football, have been the schools most successful sports. Four teams have qualified for the Minnesota State High School League wrestling tournament, including a state championship in 2002 and a 3rd place finish in 2009. The 2000 & 2001 teams also saw state tourney appearances.
2002 State Championship Team
In 2002, the wrestling team won a class 'A' state team title, battling Frazee to a 25-25 draw in the finals. Because tiebreakers were only used when necessary for a team to advance, the match was officially declared a tie and both schools were crowned co-champs. In the opening round, Medford defeated Pierz 30-20. In the semi-finals versus Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, the Tigers came out victorious 31-24.
The 2002 wrestling team's lineup was:
103 Danny Simmons
112 Dusty Kavitz*
119 Matt Barta
125 Greg Brendemuehl*
130 Nick Yule*
135 Brent Yule*
140 Brent Reinhard*
145 Mitch Kuhlman*
152 Brent Glende
160 Steve Maas*
171 Scott Balzer
189 Bob Hanson*
275 Paul Karow
** In the LCWM duel, Chad Mifek wrestled at 140 and Mitch Elzen wrestled at 189. Along with the state team tournament, eight of these wrestlers also made the individual portion of the state tournament. They are denoted with an * .
2009 3rd place Team
The Medford wrestling team placed 3rd at the 2009 state wrestling tournament. In the quarterfinal round Medford defeated Border West 56-10. In the semi-finals, a tough Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (KMS) edged Medford by a score of 33-26. KMS would go on win the title. The 3rd place match saw Medford defeat Atwater Cosmos/Grove City 29-24.
2000 & 2001 state tournament teams
In 2000 & 2001, Medford qualified teams for the state tournament. The 2000 team lost 45-21 to Frazee, won 38-13 over Eden Valley Watkins, and lost 25-23 to Canby. The 2001 team lost 29-22 to state champion Goodhue, won 26-18 over Saint James, and lost 29-21 to consolation champion Adrian.
The Medford wrestling team began competing in the 1959-60 season under head coach Chancey Brau. Two years later in 1961, Jim Slifka took over what would prove to be a 36 year run as a wrestling coach in Medford. Jim spent most of his time as the head coach but also served as an assistant coach. From 1961 to 1997 coach Slifka compiled 158 varsity wins. His tenure also saw Medford crown it's first individual state champion with John Mikel in 1984. Jim was inducted into the Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999. Following coach Slifka were short stints from Steve Emerson and Byron Clemson. Terry Keller then took the reins for a brief but notable run which helped lay the foundation for the successes that were to quickly follow. The 1998-1999 season saw Dennis Whitman begin what is to date the most successful period in school history. Under coach Whitman four teams have made the state wrestling tournament. The 2002 team won a class 'A' championship. Seven years later, the 2009 team finished 3rd. Coach Whitman currently has 204 career wins.
Individually, Medford wrestlers have won 10 state championships, produced many more state placewinners, and have had literally dozens and dozens of state entrants. From a state tournament point of view, the success of the wrestlers dwarfs all other Medford sports combined.
Medford's first state champion was John Mikel in 1984. John, wrestling at 155 pounds, won by scores of 12-2, 14-3, 11-5, and finally 6-2 in the finals. He finished the season with a perfect 31-0 record. This was his only state tournament appearance.
In 2000, Blaine Kuhlman became Medford's second state champion. Blaine won the 130 pound championship with scores of 9-3, 14-2, 4-2, and by pin in 3:39 in the finals. He finished the season undefeated at 33-0. Blaine was a runner up as a Junior in 1999, finished 6th his Sophomore year in 1998, and was a state entrant in both 1997 & 1996.
Brent Reinhard captured his state title in 2001 as a Junior. Wrestling at 135 pounds, Brent won by scores of 18-6,4-2, 8-7, and 5-3 in the finals. He finished 33-5 on the year. Brent also placed twice, 3rd in 2002 at 140 and 5th in 2000 at 125. As a Freshman at 103, Brent made his first state tournament appearance.
Mitch Kuhlman became Medford's first multiple time state champion, claiming 3 crowns in his illustrious high school career. Mitch's first title came as a 140 pound sophomore in 2001. He won by pin in 1:54, 13-1, 8-4 (versus a defending state champion) and 8-0 in the finals. Mitch finished that year with a 40-1 record. In 2002, Mitch went thru the state tournament field with relative ease, winning the 145 crown with a tech fall in 3:21, pin in 3:25, 12-1 and 7-0 in the finals. He finished out the season at 41-1. As a Senior at 152 pounds, Mitch went undefeated at 44-0. His state tourney scores that year were wins by a 17-2 tech fall, 10-3, 9-6, and 10-3. Aside from the state championships, Mitch finished 3rd in 2000 at 135 & 3rd in 1999 at 119. He was also a state entrant in 1998 as a 7th grader. Mitch holds many of Medford wrestling's school records, including most career wins (233) and highest winning percentage (95.5%). He went on to wrestle for the University of Minnesota.
Tyler Yule won his state championship as a 152 pound Senior in 2009. Tyler won by scores of 15-5, 7-4, 10-6, and 9-5 in the finals. His record that year was 40-6. Tyler also made the state tournament as a Freshman at 103 in 2006.
In 2012 Curt Maas won his third consecutive state title. Competing as a Senior at 152 pounds, Curt won by scores of pin in 5:06, 7-0, 8-2, and pin in 3:04. His season record was 43-1. In 2011 as a 145 pound Junior, Curt won the state championship with scores of 6-3, 8-5, 9-1 and 3-0. He finished with a perfect 37-0 record. Curt's first title came as a Sophomore in 2010. Competing at 135 pounds, Curt won by scores of 7-2, 15-1, 7-1 and 4-2. He compiled a record of 37-2. Curt was also a 125 pound state runner up as a Freshman in 2009 and an 8th grade state entrant at 112 in 2008. He currently wrestles collegiately at Northern Iowa.
Terry Keller: 3rd at 132 in 1977, 3rd at 138 in 1978, 3rd at 138 in 1979
Brian Mikel: 4th at 155 in 1986
Greg Brendemuehl: 2nd at 103 in 2000, 2nd at 112 in 2001, 3rd at 125 in 2002
Nick Yule: 4th at 119 in 2001, 6th at 130 in 2002
Dusty Kavitz: 5th at 112 in 2002, 3rd at 135 in 2004
Steve Maas: 6th at 160 in 2002
Brent Yule: 2nd at 189 in 2004
Mitch Elzen: 5th at 275 in 2004
Ty Svenby: 6th at 189 in 2005, 3rd at 189 in 2006, 5th at 189 in 2007
Austin Peters: 6th at 119 in 2008, 2nd at 119 in 2009
Zach Keller: 2nd at 103 in 2009, 3rd at 112 in 2010
Zach Katzenbach: 2nd at 140 in 2009
Jake Elzen: 6th at 160 in 2009
Cole Kavitz: 3rd at 145 in 2010
Brad Keller: 2nd at 152 in 2010
Brad Maas: 6th at 125 in 2010, 3rd at 145 in 2012
Seth Elwood: 2nd at 106 in 2013
Tyler Keller: 5th at 103 in 2011, 4th at 113 in 2012, 3rd at 126 in 2013, 5th at 138 in 2014
Jeron Matson: 4th at 106 in 2015
Nate Elzen: 6th at 285 in 2015
Charlie Elwood: 2nd at 106 in 2018
Willie VonRuden: 3rd at 138 in 2018
Medford's "60 win club" contains all Medford wrestlers who won sixty or more matches during their career. It is ordered by most wins. The "winning percentage" list displays the top career winning percentages of all Medford wrestlers with more than 60 career wins.
60 WIN CLUB - Updated 3/06/15
TOP 10 WINNING PERCENTAGE