The Alexandria wrestling team was the fourth seed in the Section 8AA tournament that opened up on Tuesday night, and the Cardinals breezed through fifth-seeded Sauk Centre-Melrose.
That placed Alexandria into a match-up against top-seeded Perham, where the Yellowjackets defended their home mat in a 44-24 win that ended the Cardinals’ team season.
“The coaching staff couldn't be more proud of the performance our guys put on display tonight,” Alexandria head coach Aldon Struchen said. “We continue to jump levels and will carry a lot of momentum and confidence going into the individual section tournament next week.”
Alexandria controlled its first match with a 51-18 win. The Cardinals rattled off six straight wins to start that match and took nine of the 14 weight classes. Mason McGrane, Blaze Nelson, Kelly Johnson, AJ Sparr, Ryan Borris, Landon Seward, Mason Teaser, JP Rodel and Stone Smith all got wins against Sauk Centre-Melrose.
The Cardinals knew they had their work cut out for them against fifth-ranked Perham, and Struchen was proud of how his guys responded.
“The boys really let it fly from the get-go, wrestling aggressive and we didn't concede anything easy to our opponents,” he said. “The team score was 26-24 going into the 195-pound weight class, and if we had just a couple more pieces to the puzzle we could have pulled off a heck of an upset.”
Nelson, Johnson, Sparr, Rodel and Cody Richardson all had wins against Perham, but the Yellowjackets had a little more depth.
Alexandria’s section individual tournament is set for Feb. 21 and 22 at Pequot Lakes.
Knights roll into semifinals
West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville left no doubt in its opening match of the Section 6A Tournament as the Knights won a 60-9 match against seventh-seeded Border West on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers won 66-15 against Breckenridge in their opener, but they were no match for second-seeded WCA-A-B-E in the nightcap. The Knights won the final 11 weight classes to run away with things.
Hunter Gruchow got things started for his team with a pin in 1:47 at 113 pounds. Ashton Danner then started the run of 11 straight wins at 126 pounds with a major-decision win (9-1).
Dierk Goeden followed suit with a pin in 1:22 at 132. Anthony Sykora got a 14-5 major decision at 138, and Kaleb Getz needed 3:40 to get a pin at 145.
Kade Olson got the first forfeit win of the match for the Knights at 152. Jordan Lohse (160, 13-1 major decision), Nathaniel Kisgen (170, fall, 2:25), Colton Lindquist (182, SV-1, 4-2), Deklin Goeden (195, fall, 1:27), Devin Stone (220, forfeit) and Justin Blascyk (285, 10-4) all added wins.
The Knights will now face third-seeded Ottertail Central on Friday night at 6 in Underwood. The winner of that match faces the winner of fifth-seeded New York Mills and top-seeded Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale-Parkers Prairie at 7:30 for the section championship.
Raiders run all over Trojans
Top-seeded Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale-Parkers Prairie got to the Section 6A semifinals by dominating ninth-seeded Barnesville on Tuesday in a 67-4 match.
The Raiders took 13 of the 14 weight classes. David Revering got them going with a pin in 3:13 at 106. Deagen Captain (113, 12-1 major decision) and Aiden Larson (120, 11-5) added wins before Reese Thompson pinned his man in just 56 seconds at 126.
Justin Koehn (132) and Matt Mensinger (138) added forfeit wins. Jason Koehn needed only 51 seconds to get a pin at 145, and Brock Peterson won a high-scoring match against Hunter Anderson by a 19-18 decision at 152.
Hunter Dean and Carter Rokes won forfeit decisions at 170 and 182. Gideon Ervasti (195, 5-3), Jaden Finck (220, fall, 3:03) and Craig Orlando (285, forfeit) added wins to finish off the victory.
Forfeits haunt Osakis in 5A opener
Osakis had its team season come to an end in the Section 5A opener against ninth-seeded Quad County on Tuesday.
The Silverstreaks were seeded eighth in the tournament, but could not field a complete lineup. That hurt down the stretch as Quad County got forfeit wins at 195, 220 and 285 to help secure the 42-25 win.
The Silverstreaks got five wins on the night. Jacob Taplin started that run with a 9-1 major decision win at 106. Logan Grove followed suit at 113 and got a pin in 5:09 to give Osakis an early lead.
Quad County took the next two matches by forfeit and a pin before Nathan Kulzer stopped the bleeding with a 13-6 win at 132 pounds. Carsten Jacobson pinned his man in 3:56 at 138 pounds, but Osakis’ only other win came at 182 pounds when Nathan Bjerk earned a forfeit.
Lakers dominate BOLD
Minnewaska earned its spot in the Section 5A semifinals by dominating sixth-seeded BOLD in a 66-7 match on Tuesday.
The Lakers won the first eight weight classes to take control. Nick Ankeny (106, 13-2 major decision), Mason Schiffler (113, fall, 0:30), Jacob Blair (120, 7-6), Easton McCrory (126, forfeit), Caden Koziol (132, fall, 1:19), Chase Boelke (138, forfeit), Keygan Cruz (145, fall, 3:57) and Mason Blair (152, fall, 1:40) racked up big points before BOLD’s Anthony Maher got a major decision win at 160.
The Lakers jumped right back into the win column with a pin in 3:40 from Tyson Meyer at 170. Nathan Rankin added a pin in 1:17 at 182. Tyler VanLuik (195) needed just 20 seconds to pin his man, and Dylan Jergenson finished off Sheldon Enriquez in 1:06 with a pin at 220.
The win sets up quite a match for Minnewaska against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the 5A semifinals at Minnewaska Area High School on Friday night at 6. The Lakers are ranked fourth in the Feb. 6 Guillotine Class A polls, but the Jaguars are ranked third. It’s a sign of how good their section is that Minnewaska is seeded third and BBE second, with top-ranked Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Browerville getting that top seed.
LPGE-Browerville will face Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in the other half of the semifinals on Friday night at Minnewaska. The two winners from the semifinals match will face off for the championship at 8 p.m. that same night.