Albert Lea sends one to championship bout

Published 2:56 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

ST. PAUL — There were just three Albert Lea wrestlers remaining in the individual portion of the state tournament after Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Cory Hansen, ranked No. 3 at 112 pounds, will wrestle in the championship for the second straight season Saturday after his 9-5 victory over second-ranked Sam Stewart, of Andover.

Hansen will face Apple Valley’s Dakota Trom, the top-ranked wrestler, who scored a 17-2 technical fall win against Owatonna’s Dillin Schultz.

Email newsletter signup

Last season Hansen faced an undefeated Eric Devos from Apple Valley and lost by technical fall. This season Hansen will get a shot against another Apple Valley wrestler.

Hansen’s match with Stewart went back and forth until the third period. Stewart pulled ahead 5-4 with a takedown with less than a minute to go in the third, but with under 20 seconds to go Hansen got a takedown and three back points for the 9-5 decision.

At 119 Dalton Westerlund was the other Tiger wrestler alive in the semifinals, but his string of knocking off ranked opponents came to an end against Coon Rapids’ Kahron Nix. Nix, ranked No. 7 at 119, scored a 5-3 decision to put Westerlund into the consolation bracket. Westerlund was able to make his way through to a third place match.

“I’m only a freshman this year and placing third or fourth in the state is pretty good,” Westerlund said. “It’s been pretty big for me.”

Westerlund got right back to work in his consolation match againstBuffalo’s Zach Smith and picked up a 4-0 victory. Smith was the wrestler who defeated the Section 1AAA 119-pound champion Garrett Steiger in the first round of the tournament.

“For a ninth-grader he’s shown what he can do up here,” Albert Lea head coach Larry Goodnature said. “He’s really coming around. It’s going to give him a lot of confidence going into next year. I just think Dalton’s a young kid that’s steadily improving.”

He’ll meet Forest Lake’s Ben Morgan, the No. 1 ranked wrestler who won the state title at 112 last season, Saturday for third place.

Seniors Cody Hansen and Logan Kortan will place at state this season after they each won a consolation match Friday.

Hansen will have a shot at third place after he went 2-0 on the day.

Hansen knocked off Buffalo’s David Baker 8-0 and got a 6-2 decision against Coon Rapids’ Chad Mack to make his way to the third place match. Hansen, ranked No. 3 at 125, will meet No. 4-ranked Cody Madsen of Stillwater.

Kortan won one match and dropped his second to place himself in the fifth place match. It is the fifth year that Kortan will place at state, yet another new mark established by Kortan during his impressive prep career.

“I’m really happy for Logan,” Goodnature said. “He’s a five-time place-winner and winning that match that got him into the medal round was big, and I’m really happy for him. I don’t think we’ve ever had an Albert Lea wrestler that’s placed five times in the state tournament. That’s a pretty big accomplishment, and I’m really happy for him.”

Kortan defeated Bemidji’s Corey Huber 6-1, but lost 9-1 to Josh McLain. Kortan will face Dalton Lilledahl, from Cambridge Isanti, the same wrestler he beat 8-2 earlier Friday in the team tournament.

Ethan Reed and Trey Hable weren’t able to extend their run at the state tournament.

Hable lost 4-2 against Prior Lake’s Brady Johnshoy at 103 and Reed was pinned by Lakeville South’s Zane Peterson at 1 minute, 30 seconds to end his run.

“It’s unfortunate that they didn’t get to place but they are placing as a team,” Goodnature said.

The experience gained for an underclassman like Hable will likely go a long way toward him improving next season.

“Whenever you can get some boys back that have been in the state tournament, they come back next year and I think they work a bit harder and they’ve got more confidence,” Goodnature said. “It’s definitely going to help us out.”