Schlaak takes gold

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 5, 2001


Monday, March 05, 2001

ST. PAUL – There was nothing flashy or fancy about it.

Email newsletter signup

Tony Schlaak simply did what it took to win. All season long.

The New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva senior ran his record to 34-0 while winning the Class A 160-pound championship in the Minnesota state wrestling tournament that concluded Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

It was not an easy title bout nor was it an easy route to the finals for Schlaak, who won his first three matches by scores of 11-6, 9-3 and 4-1. In the championship, against Minneota junior Ryan Fier, it was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. Schlaak scored a takedown in overtime to win it.

&uot;I was just trying to wrestle him on my feet,&uot; said Schlaak, who’s no stranger to close matches at state. Last year, while placing third, he won twice in overtime and twice by one point.

He said he approached the title match like any other.

&uot;Actually, it just feels like another match,&uot; said Schlaak. &uot;You have to keep going.&uot;

That’s what Schlaak did all season, accomplishing what’s becoming more rare every year – going undefeated.

&uot;It feels real good to know you can go out and get mentally ready every single match,&uot; said Schlaak.

The Panthers’ other state entrant, sophomore heavyweight James Petsinger, lost his opening round match Thursday night and then was defeated in double-overtime in the wrestlebacks by Justin Olson of Frazee. He finished the season with a record of 18-18.

The other area competitor at state, United South Central’s Jon Niebuhr, did not place at 125 pounds.

Schlaak is the fourth wrestler to win a state championship under NRHEG coach Paul Cyr, who admitted this one is a little special.

Early in Cyr’s coaching career, at Fertile-Beltrami, one of his star wrestlers faced Schlaak’s father, Neil, in the state tournament. When Cyr moved to New Richland, he was neighbors to the Schlaaks for several years.

&uot;I’m real happy for Tony – he’s so deserving,&uot; said Cyr. &uot;But this, for me, is doubly satisfying.&uot;