Published 9:22 am Monday, March 9, 2009

This year’s state title match ended much like last year’s for the Albert Lea wrestling team.

The third-ranked Tigers faced No. 1-ranked Apple Valley for the second consecutive year and came away with a 62-6 loss to the Eagles, who are also ranked third in the nation.

The victory gave Apple Valley its 17th state title and its fourth consecutive crown.

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The Eagles placed seven wrestlers into the championship round of the individual tournament and had five win state titles.

“It’s pretty cool being in the finals and Valley is really good,” said Cory Hansen. “It stinks that we didn’t get first, but it was a pretty good season as a team.”

Apple Valley was dominant against the Tigers and won 13 of the 14 weight classes. Ten of the 13 victories resulted in bonus points for the Eagles and six were by fall.

“We’re definitely not in Apple Valley’s league,” Albert Lea head coach Larry Goodnature said.

Albert Lea won one match against Apple Valley and that came from Logan Kortan at 160 pounds. Kortan pinned Matthew Hechsel in 1 minute, 25 seconds.

The Tigers reached all of their team goals this season and placing second at state is an accomplishment Goodnature said the team can be proud of its achievements.

“We improved from the beginning of the season to the end,” Goodnature said. “The kids learned how to wrestle good competition. Our goal was to get to the finals of the state tournament and we accomplished that. I think the kids are happy with themselves, the coaching staff’s happy with them. It was a good year and a good state tournament.”

This year’s squad was the first to reach the state tournament four consecutive years and the seniors led the Tigers to eight consecutive wins against Owatonna for the Big Nine title.

“That’s pretty neat for those guys,” Goodnature said. “I’ve really enjoyed coaching them.”

Hansen finished second at 112 pounds in the individual tournament, losing 5-2 to Apple Valley’s Dakota Trom.

“It’s nice to be in the state finals, but you want to be a state champion,” Hansen said. “It’s kind of hard getting second, but it’s still a pretty good season.”

Cody Hansen concluded his career with a third-place finish at 125 with a victory by fall at 5:08 against Cody Madsen.

Dalton Westerlund finished fourth in his first trip to state. He was pinned by Forest Lake’s Ben Morgan at 3:08 at 119.

“We had a great tournament,” Goodnature said. “Dalton came out of nowhere and made a name for himself as a ninth-grader. Logan, being a five-time place winner is really remarkable.”

Kortan won his fifth place match against Dalton Lilledahl with a 7-0 decision to end his career.

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s Colton Schlaak and United South Central’s A.J. Dreyer were other area wrestlers that placed at state.

Schlaak, ranked No. 8, finished third at state in Class A at 145 with a 5-2 decision over Aaron Zimmer.

Dreyer lost his match at 215 to Brad Kneisl after Kneisl pinned him in 1:21 and ended finishing sixth at state.

“It’s been an eye-opener just to see how much I can achieve,” Dreyer said. “I plan on having a good year next year and being up here again and we’ll see how far it takes me.”

Apple Valley 62, Albert Lea 6

103 — Jordan Kingsley (AV) pinned Trey Hable, 0:54, 112 — Dakota Trom (AV) maj. dec. Cory Hansen, 15-5, 119 — Matt Kelliher (AV) maj. dec. Dalton Westerlund, 9-1, 125 — Brandon Kingsley (AV) dec. Cody Hansen, 3-1, 130 — Justin LaValle (AV) pinned Kyle Kriewall, 2:49, 135 — Destin McCauley (AV) pinned Carter Kortan, 1:25, 140 — Joe Fessler (AV) maj. dec. Trevor Rasmussen, 10-2, 145 — Nathan Bruner (AV) dec. Adam Kermes, 8-3, 152 — Jarret Hoeppner (AV) pinned Connor Kortan, 0:25, 160 — Logan Kortan (AL) pinned Matthew Hechsel, 1:25, 171 — Tyler Lehmann (AV) pinned Matt Tiegs, 0:43, 189 — Craig Kelliher (AV) tech. fall Jordan Holland, 18-2, 215 — Luke Schmidt (AV) dec. Ethan Reed, 8-6, 285 — Harold Delancy (AV) pinned Alex Nielsen, 2:36


112 — Dakota Trom dec. Cory Hansen, 5-2

119 — Ben Morgan pinned Dalton Westerlund, 3:08

145 — Colton Schlaak dec. Aaron Zimmer, 5-2

125 — Cody Hansen pinned Cody Madsen, 5:08

160 — Logan Kortan dec. Dalton Lilledahl, 7-0

215 — Brad Kneisl pinned A.J. Dreyer, 1:21