All-Conference: Fritz, Lunsford
Fairfield wrestlers Michael Fritz and Brendon Lunsford earned 2017 First-Team All-Southeast Conference honors.
“I’m beyond proud of both of them,” said Trojan head wrestling coach Steve Miller. “We take a great deal of pride in just how tough this conference is. Our conference champion, Washington, as a team, finished in the Top 5 at state.
“Plus, this conference had nine wrestlers place at state as individuals. It would have been 10 had Michael not been injured.”
Fritz, a senior, suffered a severe shoulder injury on Feb. 16 in his first match at the State Meet in the 195-pound class. Later in the night, shrugging off that painful and debilitating injury, Fritz pounded his second foe Deigo Samaniego (Bishop Heelan Catholic), winning by major decision 15-6.
While Fritz, due to that injury, was unable to further compete at state, he left one heck of a legacy for the Fairfield wrestling program.
Fritz earned his 100th career victory on Jan. 28, en route to capturing the championship of the Southern Iowa Classic.
On Feb. 11, Fritz earned the District Meet championship in a title-match win over Washington’s Karlton Skubal that won’t ever be forgotten by the estimated 2,000 fans at Fairfield High School who witnessed it.
Fritz was down 6-3 to Skubal with seven seconds left in Round 3.
At once, with a dazzling, daring move, Fritz took down Skubal, earning two points. And before the final horn sounded, Fritz earned two more points via near fall — and, incredibly, raced off the mat with a 7-6 victory.
Witnessing that match was Lunsford, a junior. Watching Fritz win in such an exhilarating fashion, Lunsford said, “Just being so excited for Michael, I didn’t know if I’d have enough energy left to win my match.”
But Lunsford, competing in the 285 class, ultimately showed he did have the energy, winning his district-championship match 7-4 over Tyler Linderbaum (Solon), then ranked No. 4 in Iowa.
The week before, Lunsford captured the title in the Sectional Wrestling Meet.
At the State Meet, Lunsford won three matches, taking the podium as the sixth-place finisher.
“Michael and Brendon wrestled top guys all season,” Miller said. “I’m glad our conference rewarded them with first-team honors. They most definitely deserved this recognition.”
Fairfield Athletics Coordinator Jeff Courtright was also pleased for Fritz and Lunsford.
“To be named First-Team All-Conference is something they can both be proud of for the rest of their lives,” Courtright said. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment.”
Trojan sophomore Carter Spalla (160) earned Second-Team All-Conference honors.
“Carter was dependable,” Miller said. “He came to practice every single day and always wanted to learn. You could always count on him. He had a great attitude.”
Lunsford will return next season and his goal is to compete for the state finals. Fritz, should his injury heal, is hoping to compete in track this spring.
“Brendon getting our conference’s top nod at 285 is an awesome award,” Courtright said. “And I’d take Michael Fritz on my team any day of the week.”