Albert Lea to host rival OwatonnaPublished 2:14am Friday, January 25, 2013
The No.1 seed in sectionals and the Big 9 Conference wrestling crown will be on the line Saturday, as Albert Lea hosts rival Owatonna.
The Tigers and Huskies are both undefeated in section 1 of class 3A. Albert Lea has the advantage in overall record. The Tigers boast a No. 4 team ranking in state and a record of 16-1, while the Huskies have a record of 15-5 and a team ranking of No. 7. The Tigers have won four straight duals, and the Huskies have won seven straight.
On an individual level, in rankings released by The Guillotine, Albert Lea has five ranked wrestlers compared to four for Owatonna. The 113-pound weight class is the only category with ranked wrestlers from both schools: Albert Lea senior Garrett Wangness and Owatonna eighth-grader Brandon Moen.
Albert Lea head coach Larry Goodnature said that both sides keep each other guessing about who will compete in which weight class.
“It’s a chess match,” he said. “They don’t know where we’re going to be, and we don’t know where they’re going to be. It’s a sport about matchups.”
Even with all the coaching strategy, upsets can happen and swing the meet one way or the other.
“It doesn’t always go down the way we imagined it will,” Goodnature said. “We might win some that we aren’t supposed to win, and they might win some that they aren’t supposed to win. It makes it a fun spectator sport.”
Over the course of the rivalry, large crowds have shown up to support their teams.
“It really draws the fans,” he said. “Usually we get a few thousand people. We’re hoping to fill ‘er up. It’s a big deal and a fun match.”
The match starts at 7 p.m., Saturday.