‘The backbone of our team’

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quietly and modestly Albert Lea senior Trevor Rasmussen has gone about his business on the wrestling mat for the past four years for the Tigers and developed into one of the team’s most consistent wrestlers during that span.

In his final season on the mat for Albert Lea he returns to the state tournament, which begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday for Class 3A at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, for the third consecutive year anxious to improve upon a disappointing tournament experience last season.

Rasmussen went over the 100-career-victories mark earlier this season at the Christmas Tournament in Rochester and has won more than 25 matches in each of his four years on varsity. In the past three seasons he’s eclipsed the 30-win mark and regularly appeared in the rankings by The Guillotine, a Web site covering amateur wrestling in Minnesota.

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“He’s been pretty solid the last four years for us,” said Albert Lea head coach Larry Goodnature. “I think he’s going to have a great state tournament for us because he’s really wrestling well right now.”

Rasmussen, who is ranked seventh at 140 pounds in Class 3A, looked determined Friday and Saturday at the Section 1AAA individual tournament where he pinned his way to a section title and a berth in the state tournament.

Age: 18

Address: 71710 County Road 46, Albert Lea

Livelihood: senior at Albert Lea High School

Family: father, Jack Rasmussen; stepmother, Darci Rasmussen; mother Lisa Nelson; sisters Whitney, Sara, Madison and Isabella

Interesting fact: He likes to play golf.

Rasmussen is expecting a far different state tournament than last season where he battled illness and lost his only match to Wayzata’s Ben Dunlay, an opponent he pinned twice before in his career, by fall.

“It was mono, but I was like spitting out blood,” Rasmussen said. “I didn’t go to school at all that week. I still felt like crap, but I was still progressing through the state tournament.”

Rasmussen wrestled in the team duals for the Tigers, but wrestled well below his regular weight of 130 pounds. He wrestled all three duals and won a match against Cambridge-Isanti in the semifinals to help lift Albert Lea to the championship for the second consecutive season.

Now healthy, he enters the state tournament on a streak of 19 consecutive victories. His last loss came to Hastings’ Zach Rohr, who is ranked fifth, at the Kiffmeyer Duals in a 3-1 decision.

Rohr recently beat Apple Valley’s Devin Scott, who is ranked No. 1 at 140, which has given Rasmussen confidence that his bracket may be a little more wide open.

Rasmussen wrestles Northfield’s Tyler Malecha in the first round and if he can get by Malecha he could face Rohr once again in the semifinals.

Rasmussen has been the cool, calm leader of the Tigers this season as one of the team’s captains. At the start of the season Rasmussen was the lone senior with varsity experience.

“He’s really been a leader for us this year, the backbone of our team,” Goodnature said.

His quiet confidence models that of the program where each wrestler expects to win and achieve success.

“I look at myself as a role model for others,” Rasmussen said. “If I work hard then freshmen coming in or the underclassmen will look at me. I just look at it as I’m a role model and I just work hard at everything I do.”

Rasmussen’s varsity wrestling career started in seventh grade at United South Central where he cracked the lineup as the team’s 103 pound wrestler. In eighth grade he moved to Albert Lea and took off as a freshman.

As a freshman Rasmussen started the season with a major decision victory over Simley’s Tommy Glenn, who was ranked 10th at the time. Glenn is now ranked second in Class 2A and a two-time state placewinner. Later he beat Anoka’s Paul Tellgren, who was ranked second at the time, and it signaled to Rasmussen not only could he compete at the varsity level, but he could compete with some of the best in the state.

It helped that Rasmussen has wrestled some of the state’s best competition inside the Albert Lea wrestling room for the past four years. His practice partners have included Eric Johnson, a state runner-up, Logan Kortan, a five-time state entrant and Albert Lea’s all-time leader in career victories, Cody Hansen, a state runner-up and two-time third place finisher, and Cory Hansen, a two-time state runner-up.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Rasmussen said of his career. “I’ve wrestled with some of the best of the state in the wrestling room and I saw what happens when you work hard.”

He has worked hard at everything he’s undertaken. Rasmussen, who also played football and runs track in the spring, has developed into one of the best athletes at Albert Lea High School, especially on the track.

Initially he went out for track as a way to stay in shape for wrestling, but he has emerged as one of the team’s top 800-meter runners. Rasmussen placed fifth in the 800 at the Section 1AA meet last spring and helped the 4×800 relay team also place fifth.

With his budding track success has also come offers from schools to run track for their programs in addition to wrestling.

Rasmussen said he’s considering St. Cloud State University, Concordia and the University of Wisconsin-Stout as possible destinations next fall.

“He’s really focused,” Goodnature said. “He’s a senior and really wants to go up and do something.”