Kenny Moenkedick wins State title
By John George email@example.com As one individual champ after another was crowned on the floor of the XCel Center in St. Paul, there was one constant...the celebrations. The pure joy and relief of winning a title brings these hard-nosed wrestlers t...
By John George
As one individual champ after another was crowned on the floor of the XCel Center in St. Paul, there was one constant...the celebrations. The pure joy and relief of winning a title brings these hard-nosed wrestlers to the edge of tears while jumping for joy and grinning from ear-to-ear.
Then Perhams 171-pound Kenny Moenkedick stepped onto the mat in front of nearly 14,000 fans at The X. For Kenny, a quite, well mannered country kid, it was business as usual. And Kenny is in the business of winning.
Moenkedick capped a storybook senior season with a perfect 43-0 record and winning his first State Championship. He beat No. 6 ranked Parker Brand, a sophomore from Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson, 6-2 in the title match.
As the final whistle blew and the ref went to raise his arm in victory, Kenny looked up briefly at the cheering Perham crowd, walked to the scorers table to sign his card, hugged his coaches and quietly stepped out of the spotlight.
Business as usual.
I was like, wow. Tons of sweat. Tons of minutes. Its all done now, Moenkedick said. And I went out on top.
I looked over at the coaches and then up at the fans and was very thankful to grow up in a town like Perham that was behind me all the way. It brought back lots of good memories.
Memories like growing up in the Perham elementary program with Gary Flatau. Then moving on to junior high and varsity matches.
Those memories were popping into his head before he stepped out for his last high school match. While warming up, rather than thinking back on his own achievements, he was thinking of everyone but himself.
I was thinking of all the people who have helped me get to where Im at, Moenkedick said. I was basically doing it for them because theyve done such a great job in preparing me. I give all the credit to (Robb) Moser, (Chris) Pirotta, (Terry) Weller, (Darren) Glynn and J.J. Kratzke. Other people like Justin Staebler, who helped me out over Christmas and the Flataus and anyone else whos helped out since I was in kindergarten.
Ive had so much fun in this program and I just was thankful for all the people who helped out through the years in preparing me for this, he added.
He admitted to thinking of some not so great memories, like going undefeated in the regular season last year only to lose at sections. He did advance to State, but didnt place.
Id do it all over again in a heartbeat, Moenkedick said. Its been such a blast. But I know how much harder I would have worked so I could have got here sooner. Thats about my only regret.
This year, he was on a mission from the beginning. He dominated the W-DC Invite to start the season and never let up. He rolled through the Heart O Lakes, winning his second conference title. Then he ripped through sections, leaving no doubt he earned the No. 1 ranking he held all year.
He beat his first round State opponent, Phil Heitner of Montgomery-Lonsdale/LeCentre, 11-1. Blayne Johnson of Litchfield was his quarterfinal victim, 6-2.
Moenkedick met his first ranked opponent in the semifinals. But No. 4 Joe Slaughter of Orono proved to be no match, as Kenny moved on to the title match, 14-5.
Kennys always so in control, head coach Robb Moser said. Hes so smooth, but so powerful. He dictates the tempo of every match. He has no flaws.
Moenkedick lost control, momentarily, in the championship match. An escape by Brand made the score 4-2 midway through the third period.
I got a little bit nervous when he got away with like a minute left, Moenkedick said. That bothered me a little bit because I when we got back on our feet he got in on a shot and that kinda shook me for a second. Then I got that whizzer in and took control. Then I didnt think we was going to be able to score again. When he tried something something at the end, I was ready for it and got the takedown.
That takedown made the final, 6-2.
Kenny finishes his career second on Perhams all-time win list with 164. Teammate Tyler Doll finished his great career with 171. Kennys brother Philip, a junior, is close behind with 150.
He is also the first State Champ from Perham since Justin Staebler won back-to-back titles in 1997-98. He is the eighth individual champ from PHS, joining the list of: Anthony Mollins (1996), Jesse Curtis (1993), Wayne Werner (1984), Dan Werner (1982, 84), Steve Werner (1978-79) and Steve Hammers (1979).
Kenny doesnt only excel on the wrestling mat. Hes a 4.0 student and was named to the All-State All-Academic list with his brother, Philip. They helped lead the Jackets to the Class AA Team Academic State Championship.
It shows that wrestlers can be great in the classroom too, Moenkedick said. Our coaches teach us not only to be good athletes, but to be good in class and in other areas of life.
I credit my parents (Katy and Andy) and coaches for teaching me that. To be a complete person, he added. That theres more to life than just wrestling.
To that end, Kenny hasnt decided on where hes going to college, or whether or not hell wrestle. Several colleges have come calling, but Kenny told them all he wasnt going to think about it until after the season was over.
Ill probably get a few more calls now, he joked.
Any school would be lucky to have him. Not only to boost their academic standing, but as an outstanding wrestler and an even better person.
The excitable side of me was disappointed not to have a chance to take a picture of Kenny letting loose, jumping into the arms of his coaches after winning the title. But I shouldve known better, that just wouldnt be Kenny.
He doesnt do a lot of talking, he lets his actions speak for him, and his actions say champion, loud and clear.
A smile, once in a while, would be nice though.
Its just sinking in that it was my last high school match, that its all over, he said. Its been a fun career. This is a fun way to end it.