Alexandria takes third at Minnewaska Invite, while Lakers finish second

Blaze Nelson led the Cardinals with a dominant day at 138 pounds.

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Alexandria's Blaze Nelson, top, gets a pin in his match against Moorhead on Dec. 23, 2021. Nelson had two pins and a major-decision win during the Minnewaska Invite on Jan. 8, 2022 as he won the championship at 138 pounds. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Alexandria wrestling team finished third at the 6-team Minnewaska Invite on Saturday as the Cardinals finished with 138.5 team points.

Pequot Lakes-Pine River-Backus, ranked fourth in the Class AA poll, won the invite with 250 points. Minnewaska, part of the Lean and Mean category in the Dec. 23 Class A poll, took second with 229 points.

Blaze Nelson was Alexandria’s top finisher after winning the championship at 138 pounds. He had two pins and a 12-2 major decision win in the tournament.

Nolan Fettig (106) and Kelly Johnson (152) each finished second in their weight classes. They dominated opponents on the way to the finals.

“Kelly lost on a controversial call at the end of regulation that sent the match into overtime where he gave up the takedown,” Alexandria head coach Aldon Struchen said of Johnson's championship match against Chance Abraham of Pequot Lakes. “Although we all walked away feeling sour about the result, Kelly lost to this same opponent earlier this season 9-0, so it was great to see improvement in closing the match score gap. We look forward to seeing this opponent again come section time when it matters most.”


Mason McGrane (120), Landon Seward (160) and Mason Teaser (170) all added third-place finishes for the Cardinals.

Minnewaska got first-place wins by Jayce Kovarik (126), Mason Schiffler (132) and Jacob Blair (145). Kovarik pinned his man in 3:02 during the championship. Schiffler won a 7-3 decision in the finals, and Blair won by major decision (11-3) in his championship match.

Nick Ankeny (120), Nathan Dell (160) and Nathan Rankin (220) also wrestled their way to the finals in their weight classes for the Lakers where they finished second.

Miles Wildman added a third-place finish for Minnewaska with a 14-5 major-decision win in his final match at 106 pounds.

Chase Boelke (182) also took third with a 17-14 decision win in his final match of the day. Dalton Friedrichs (170) and Brady Blair (285) added fourth-place finishes for the Lakers.

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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