2013 Year in Review: Herold-Plakut becomes Woodbury’s all-time leader in career wins
In 2013, Justin Herold-Plakut became the new No. 1.
Herold-Plakut, currently ranked No. 2 at 170 pounds, beat Lakeville South’s Mark Kennedy in the quarterfinals for his 176th career victory to break the previous school record.
Herold-Plakut has gone to the state tournament for the past four years, beginning as an eighth-grader at 103 pounds. Last season, he finished third at 152 pounds and finished 46-4 overall.
That experience has invigorated Herold-Plakut to accomplish his goal of becoming a state champion this season. If successful, he would become just the second wrestler in school history to win a state title and the first since 1979.
“It made me realize this is my last shot,” Herold-Plakut said. “I’ve been working toward this goal since third grade to be a state champion.”
Herold-Plakut has played a pivotal role in the lineup for Woodbury and helped transform the program into a force.
He began wrestling in third grade and has become a leader of the program since he earned a varsity spot in seventh grade.
Herold-Plakut has learned the importance of setting an example for younger wrestlers as a two-year captain of the team. It’s a role he takes seriously through words and action. He has gone out of his way in the past to stay after practice and run extra with others as well as lending a helping hand in practice.
“I think being a captain helped out my wrestling in general because as a captain I’m a role model to these kids and if they see me slack off in practice then they’re going to slack off in practice,” he said.
It’s fitting that Herold-Plakut broke the career victories mark because he has come to embody the tenets of the program.
“He’s the perfect example of starting out maybe with the cards stacked against him,” Royals head coach Justin Smith said. “He was undersized as a 103-pounder. He used to have to drink Gatorade just to make 103. He’s bought into that weightroom philosophy and he’s a great example for all those guys to say, ‘You know what? You’re going to start out here, but you’re definitely going to build it up to the point where you’re going to be one of the biggest and strongest in your weight class.’ He’s shown them now what they can do. Kids look up to him.”