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Minnewaska’s Ryan Stottler grabs hold of Daven Staples of Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena during his semifinals match in the 170-pound weight class at the Class A state tournament in St. Paul this past Saturday. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Minnewaska’s Stottler takes second at state

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Minnewaska had only one wrestler at the state tournament this season, but Ryan Stottler made his run count as he won three matches to finish in second place in the 170-pound bracket of Class A.


Stottler finished his season with a 33-2 record. He ran into undefeated Keegan Moore in the title match as Moore won by technical fall to give Stottler a second-place finish.

“It felt really good,” said the Laker senior. “I put three matches together to make a really good run in the state tournament.”

This was his first appearance at the state tournament since his sophomore year, when he lost his only match.

“I had been here as a sophomore and lost out my first match,” he said. “So that first win was really big for me, and then I just kept wrestling and kept doing the same thing I had before.”

Stottler won a 6-1 decision over Jordan Schroepfer of Wabasso/Red Rock Central in the opening round of the state tournament. From there he defeated Sam Swanson of Trinity School of River Ridge in a 9-1 major decision and Daven Staples of Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena in a 6-2 decision to win his way into the championship match.

“I wanted to place top three, so I would have been happy with second,” Stottler said. “Right now it kind of sucks coming off a loss, but later I know I will look back and it will be fine.”


Ashby’s Hunter Fick finished in fifth place at 195 pounds to lead the West Central Area/Ashby/ Evansville’s five qualifiers at the state tournament.

Fick won a 6-4 decision over Madelia’s Jake Denn in the Class A fifth place match at 195 pounds. This was not a bad result for a junior wrestler who has only wrestled for a total of two seasons.

“I am a second-year wrestler,” Fick said. “I went to state last year and didn’t place. I came to state this year with the goal of placing.”

Fick was primarily a football player at Ashby before he was convinced to join the cooperative wrestling team between Ashby, Brandon-Evansville and West Central Area. Now Fick has two state tournament appearances under his belt.

“I like football and we’re joined with another school, and they kept saying, ‘Hey, come try it,’” Fick recalled. “I went and watched the section meet at their school and thought it was just awesome and violent.”

Four other wrestlers from the West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville team made appearances at the state tournament.

Levi Larkin won his first match by forfeit, but was pinned in his next match in the quarterfinals. Larkin defeated Lucas Reiplinger of Blackduck/Cass Lake Bena in a 4-2 decision in his first wrestle back match but next fell to Osakis’ Trenton Coyer.

Jake Larkin lost his only match of the tournament to Ryan Engfer of Osakis by a 4-1 decision in three overtimes.

Royal Crow won his first match over Jake Magnell of Red Lake County Central 2-1 in three overtimes before losing his next two matches.

Jake Nohre wrestled two matches, dropping his first in a 7-0 decision and falling in the wrestle backs 7-1.

Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is the sports editor at the Pierce County Herald. Before working at the Herald, Blaze was a sports reporter at the Alexandria Echo Press for one year and 10 months. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
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