A.L. continues Big 9 domination

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

There was some thought that this may be a down year for the Albert Lea wrestling team. That talk has died down, and with good reason.

Some of the faces change but the results don&8217;t.

The No. 8 Tigers put a 53-13 whipping on Austin Thursday night in Albert

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Lea to extend its Big Nine Conference dual winning streak to 29 in the process.

&8220;I didn&8217;t think we were going to be that good this year because we graduated one of our best classes in a long time,&8221; second-ranked Logan Kortan said. &8220;We just work hard and it has paid off.&8221;

Albert Lea has three freshmen and two sophomores in their lineup and the group of inexperienced varsity wrestlers have steadily been picking up confidence all season long.

&8220;The first couple of duals I really got nervous because it is my first year on varsity, but now that the season is progressing I have settled down and accepted my role,&8221; freshman Kyle Kriewall said. &8220;After the Mankato West match I got my first pin and I really felt more comfortable.&8221;

The Tigers have been downed in just one dual this season &8212; last Saturday against No. 6 Anoka &8212; but it is a group that believes in itself.

&8220;I just work hard, do my best and hope other people see that and follow,&8221; Kortan said.

It will need to be sharp with the trip to Rochester for The Clash beginning today and ending Saturday. The tournament brings together 32 of the top high school teams in the nation.

Albert Lea had few issues Thursday.

No. 3 Cory and top-ranked Cody Hansen put the Tigers up 10-0 after two weights with the latter earning a pin in 1:01.

Kriewall showed his continued improvement with a quick pin of Lucas Akkerman in 50 seconds slamming him to the mat in the opening seconds before finishing the job.

&8220;I have wrestled him a couple times in the past … and I knew if I was aggressive I could take it to him,&8221; Kriewell said. &8220;Our game plan is to jump on teams right away and hope the upper weights can keep it rolling.&8221;

Adam Clark made it three consecutive pins for Albert Lea sticking Thao Doan in 1:24. No. 9 Trevor Rasmussen would earn a major decision at 130 to stretch Albert Lea&8217;s lead to 26-0.

Cory Hansen, Kriewall and Rasmussen were part of the strong underclassmen showing for the Tigers.

Austin would finally get on the board when Howie Underwood downed Connor Kortan at 135 9-2.

Logan Kortan, Anthony Tippett, No. 4 Logan Hansen, Derek Peterson and Andrew Peterson posted the other victories for the Tigers.

Austin got wins from Sam Stier, Ethan Eggum and Mike Hirsch.

The Tigers will wrestle three time today in Rochester beginning at 4 p.m. against top-ranked Wagner, S.D.

&8220;Everyone that goes up there wants to be 6-0 and we will see what happens and if our hard work will pay off,&8221; Kortan said.

Albert Lea 53, Austin 13

103 -Cory Hansen (AL) maj. dec. Kyle Meyer 14-2, 112 -Cody Hansen (AL) pinned Colin Sheehan 1:01, 119 -Kyle Kriewall (AL) pinned Lucas Akkerman :50, 125 -Adam Clark (AL) pinned Thao Doan 1:24, 130 – Trevor Rasmussen (AL) maj. dec. Brandon Holtorf 11-3, 135 – Howie Unerwood (A) dec. Connor Kortan 9-2, 140 – Logan Kortan (AL) pinned Bryce Zahradnik :55, 145 – Sam Stier (A) dec. Adam Kermes 7-3, 152 – Anthony Tippett (AL) dec. Nick Grage 7-2, 160 – Ethan Eggum (A) dec. Mitch Webb 8-2, 171 – Logan Hansen (AL) pinned Tristan Bissinger, 189 – Mike Hirsch (A) maj. dec. Jon Kluver 18-5, 215 – Derek Peterson (AL) pinned Brett Kraemer 2:31, 285 – Andrew Peterson (AL) won by forfeit