As a sophomore Vince Sellnow was often a wrestler without a weight class, wrestling at 112 pounds and at other times moving up to 119.
On occasion Sellnow was also the wrestler the Brainerd Warriors depended on not to get pinned when he was matched up against a heavily favored opponent.
"Last year a lot of times Vinny was almost our sacrifice guy because we threw him in against some studs and he could battle and not get pinned," Warriors coach Bob Brakke said.
Vince Sellnow profile
Sport -- Wrestling
Weight -- 103 pounds
Year -- Junior
Age -- 17
Height -- 5-foot-8
Grade-point average -- 3.2
Memorable sports achievement -- Winning the blue Earth Invitational 103 pounds
Favorite subject -- Machine shop
Favorite food -- Steak and potatoes
Favorite movie -- "Tommy Boy"
Hobbies -- Fishing, hunting
Future plans -- Become an electrician
Parents -- Rich and Doreen Sellnow
This season Sellnow has turned the tables on the opposition. He has trimmed down to 103 pounds and has become the wrestler opposing teams consider avoiding. Sellnow has captured championships in the Blue Earth and Paul Bunyan invitationals while winning all seven of his matches, five by fall and one by technical fall.
"I feel more comfortable," Sellnow said. "Weight cutting drags on you for a while. It's not usually too hard. You can stay eating a little bit and working out.
"It was kind of frustrating last year, not having a steady position on the varsity. You never knew if you were going to be able to wrestle or not."
Sellnow charged onto the mat this winter to win the title at Blue Earth. Following a first-round bye he pinned his semifinal opponent. He then scored a technical fall against John Humphrey of St. Paul Johnson for the title.
"In the championship match I pretty much handled him all the way," Sellnow said. "I put him on his back 3-4 times, and technical falled him in the second period."
In the Paul Bunyan, Sellnow opened with a pin in 17 seconds against Blaine's Luke Sundgren. He pinned Chris Black of Bemidji in the semifinals at 56 seconds. His championship match was a 9-2 decision against seventh-grader Kenny Moenkedick of Perham.
"He was strong," Sellnow said of his championship victim. "I couldn't get any of my moves to stick on him. I ended up tipping him one time for a cradle for three (points). My other points were on a takedown and a reversal."
Brakke was impressed with Sellnow's championship match in the Bunyan but thought he might have pinned the seventh-grader.
"Vinny continues to get better," Brakke said. "I think he's one of top the 103-pounders in the state. I think he should be ranked in the top 10 for sure."
Brakke said Sellnow's height (5-foot-8) and physique are edges against many 103-pounders.
"Vinny is taller," Brakke said, "and he's kind of a thicker kid. Toward the end of the season a lot of kids will cut down to 103. Vinny is already there. Especially early in the season that's to his advantage."
Experience is another factor in Sellnow's favor. He's a junior and in his third year of varsity competition. Many of his opponents are junior high age because the younger a wrestler is the easier it is to compete at a lighter weight class.
"Most of them I am taller and I have a little more muscle than some of them," Sellnow said. "That has helped."
Those are among the factors Sellnow hopes land him in the state tournament in March.
"I'm kind of hoping to win the section and at least go to state and place there," he said.
Brakke, likewise, has high expectations for Sellnow.
"Vinny should be able to make it to state and actually have a chance to do pretty well down there," Brakke said.
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Jesse Marohn, wrestling, won the 130-pound title in the Paul Bunyan Invitational.
Molly Smith, gymnastics, won two events and the all-around title against Apollo.
Bruce Droogsma, Josh Schirmer and Ty Goeman, swimming each won two events and were members of two first-place relays against Tech.
Natalie Dunphy, girls' hockey, had a goal and three assists against River Lakes
Tyler John, boys' hockey, made 32 saves against Alexandria.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club.)
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.