Wanzek bulks up and finds success

The Inver Grove Heights native has moved up a weight class to 174 pounds.

by Jack White

Redshirt sophomore Nick Wanzek is wrestling at a different weight class than last year, but he is producing even better results.
Wanzek is 13-7 at 174 pounds compared to his record of 16-12 at 165 pounds last year. 
“I think he’s getting some confidence in what he’s doing,” head coach J Robinson said. “He’s also up a weight class, so he’s not cutting as much weight, which I think is a big deal for him. He can concentrate on getting better instead of concentrating on cutting weight.”
Wanzek was a three-time state champion in high school and showed promise in open meets his freshman year. He had an 18-4 record in open tournaments and was set to compete for a starting position in his redshirt freshman year.
“We planned on him being a starter,” Robinson said. “He comes from a storied wrestling program over there at [Simley High School], and we just planned for it.”
Wanzek was able to start at 165 pounds last season as a redshirt freshman. He managed to have a winning overall record  and decided to work in the weight room and move up a weight class this year. 
Minnesota lost five All-American starters last season, leaving plenty of open spots on the team that needed filling. Wanzek replaced All-American Logan Storley, who graduated last year. 
Wanzek said his lifting regime has helped him transition. 
“I’ve just been lifting a lot more times and a lot more weight, too,” Wanzek said. “I’m also eating a lot more than last year. Last year, I was dieting a lot more to get down, and now it’s the opposite.”
Wanzek is close with teammate Jake Short, a redshirt sophomore, who said he’s seen improvement in his friend this year.
“I think he’s really freed up his mind, and he’s able to compete at his highest ability,” Short said.
Wanzek injured his back earlier this season, and the team was 0-2 in duals in his absence. The redshirt sophomore has a dual record of 6-4 this year. 
“It’s still kind of an ongoing thing. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I just wrestled through it,” Wanzek said. “If it was at the NCAAs, I would be wrestling. I think it’s good practice to be able to get mentally past that.”
Wanzek had a 2-7 record against ranked wrestlers at 165 pounds in his redshirt freshman season. He is 1-2 facing ranked opponents this year at 174 pounds, with his lone victory coming over then-No. 12 Elliot Riddick of Lehigh University.
Wanzek lost both his matches at 165 pounds in the Big Ten Championships last season. This year, he’s trying to go farther at 174 pounds.
“I’m looking to redeem myself this year,” Wanzek said.