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Vacura brothers make their mark on Gator Wrestling history


Caleb Vacura attempts to break down Hibbing Bluejackets wrestler Thomas Hagen en route to a 9-1 major decision victory. This win gave Vacura win number 99 and helped the Gators to a 55-21 win over the Bluejackets in Hibbing on February 26. (photo by Robin Waage)

Dominik Vacura works towards and eventually earns the pin over Frazee’s Byron Kropuenske, one called by former Gator wrestler Wayne Mooney. This victory would tie Vacura with Mooney for the program record in career wins, at 204. The Gators fell to the Hornets 38-30 and, earlier that day, the Bemidji Lumberjacks 55-11, as part of triangular dual action in Bemidji on February 27. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Almost a week after watching his older brother Dominik Vacura reach the 200-win milestone, Gator junior wrestler Caleb Vacura had a chance to reach his own milestone when the Gators made a trip to Hibbing on February 26 for triangular dual action versus Hibbing and Grand Rapids.

After recording a 9-1 major decision victory over Thomas Hagen during the Gators’ 55-21 victory over the Hibbing Bluejackets, Caleb Vacura sat one win away for this milestone.

Facing the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks’ Matti Rajala, Vacura jumped out to an 8-1 lead after one period. Thirty seconds into the second period, Vacura took Rajala down for a takedown, but, on the way down, ran a half on Rajala to take him right to his back. Just six seconds after scoring the takedown, Vacura earned the pin and with its career victory number 100.

“It’s been a long time coming, and he kind of lives in his brother’s shadow,” Gator Head Coach Isaac Novacek said. “… But, it’s good to see him get credentials too because, I mean, he’s that good a wrestler.”

With this win, Vacura became the forty-second wrestler in program history to reach the milestone.

“Now our 100-win group is just going to keep growing and growing,” Coach Novacek said. “And that’s what we like to see.”

As for his Caleb’s brother Dominik, after securing a pair of wins the night before, Gator senior Dominik Vacura had an opportunity to make more Gator Wrestling program history when he and his Gator teammates competed at Bemidji High School on February 27 for triangular dual action.

With two wins, he would tie Wayne Mooney for the most wins in program history, at 204.

After securing an 11-2 decision over Bemidji Lumberjacks wrestler Caleb Bahr, Vacura sat one win away from 204 heading into the Gators’ second dual of the day— versus the Frazee Hornets.

High school referee Brian Bakke would ref the entire dual between the Gators and Hornets, but would step away for Dominik Vacura’s match to let another individual, who was also refereeing at the event, officiate this match— Wayne Mooney.

Vacura would tie the school record and Mooney made it official, calling a pin for Vacura over the Hornet’s Byron Kropuenske with 23 seconds left in the first period.

“Not every day… he ties the win record in Greenbush and the guy he’s passing is reffing him,” Coach Novacek said. “… I honestly don’t think that’ll ever happen ever, so that was a pretty cool moment for both him and Wayne.”

Mooney had held this record alone since 1995. Vacura has the opportunity to officially break the record on March 5 when the Gators compete in triangular dual action in Perham.

“Hats off to Wayne for holding the record for so long,” Coach Novacek said. “And I’m sure Dominik’s record is going to stay for many, many years.”

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