WORTHINGTON -- New Minnesota West wrestling coach Randy Baker introduced two fresh recruits on Tuesday, and both hail from southwest Minnesota.
Worthington High School graduate Lay K Paw and Jackson County Central standout Dalton Wagner signed letters of intent at the Center for Health and Wellness.
“It’s good to get a local kid with Lay Paw. I watched him a few times when he was in high school. He’s good on his feet. He’s just got to eliminate some mistakes. I think he can be real competitive,” said Baker.
Wagner was an undefeated 195-pound high school champion in 2018 who placed second in the state his previous year as a junior. He hasn’t wrestled competitively since high school, however, when Baker was his coach.
“He’s already started working out. I think he knows what it takes. He’s a pretty good athlete,” Baker testified.
There is probably no one who is as familiar as Baker is with what Wagner can do on a wrestling mat. Wagner missed significant time as a JCC senior due to personal issues. That he still went undefeated that year and dominated his championship match in St. Paul testifies to his mat acumen.
It was Wagner who contacted Baker, saying he was ready to be reunited with his high school coach.
“I found out he was coaching here. I plan on getting a (college) title. I wanted to win a title with Randy,” he said, adding that he intends to work diligently along the way. “The main thing I want to work on this year is always going. Never stopping.”
Lay K Paw will be leaving on June 18 to Fort Benning, Ga., to join the National Guard. That should get him in good shape before he joins the Minnesota West mat program.
Paw placed third at 132 pounds in section tournament competition his senior year in high school. That wasn’t good enough, in his mind.
“When I finished high school, I wasn’t satisfied with how I finished. I wanted more in college wrestling,” he said.