Tigers upset Huskies 35-15 (with video)

Published 1:12 am Friday, January 14, 2011

Albert Lea’s 171-pounder Carter Kortan, left, wrestles against Owatonna’s Jordan Zeman, right, Thursday at Albert Lea High School. Zeman beat Kortan 7-5 after two tiebreaker periods and a sudden death. The No. 6-ranked Tigers beat No. 3 Owatonna 35-15. -- Scott Schmeltzer/Albert Lea Tribune

No. 6 Albert Lea won 9 of 14 matches, earned 2 falls in win over No. 3 Owatonna

Albert Lea wrestling head coach Larry Goodnature said Tuesday that winning the first dual in the likely two-match series against the Owatonna Huskies this season is “very important.”

Mission accomplished.

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The Tigers got off to a fast 17-3 start Thursday at Albert Lea High School and upset the Huskies 35-15 in front of a capacity crowd.

The win snapped a two-match losing streak to the Huskies after the Tigers won eight straight from


“Our kids came to wrestle tonight,” Goodnature said. “We weren’t going to be denied. They couldn’t have wrestled any better and we weren’t satisfied with anything but a win.”

The No. 6-ranked Tigers won at nine of 14 weight classes and got two falls while giving up none.

Of the five matches the Tigers did lose, three were within one point and one was a three-point decision.

“Even the kids that lost wrestled great,” Goodnature said. “We broke some of Owatonna’s kids by never giving up.”

Dakota and Garrett Wangsness got the ball rolling for the Tigers, giving Albert Lea a 10-0 advantage after the first two weight classes.

At 103 pounds, No. 8 Dakota Wangsness won a 13-4 decision over the Huskies’ Brendan Buryska.

Then his brother stole the show.

Albert Lea’s Dakota Wangsness, top, opened Thursday’s dual with a 13-4 major decision over Brendan Buryska. -- Scott Schmeltzer/Albert Lea Tribune

After pulling ahead 11-4 late in the third period, Garrett Wangsness put Chris Olson onto his back and pinned him with just five seconds remaining.

The Tigers’ coaches leaped off the ground in celebration and the team ran to the edge of the mat to congratulate Garrett on the fall.

“Those two kids have done it all year for us,” Goodnature said, of the Wangsness brothers. “They’re goers and they’re a good way to start out a match.”

At 119 pounds, Lucas Hansen faced the Huskies’ Evan Green, the No. 4-ranked wrestler in Class AAA.

Hansen fell behind 6-3 going into the third period but notched a reverse to pull within 6-5 before time expired. Green’s decision pulled the Huskies within 10-3.

The Tigers’ 125-pounder Devin Nelson got Albert Lea bonus points against the Huskies’ Tyler Sorenson by winning a 17-9 major decision.

Sorenson filled in for injured No. 9-ranked Ben Anderson, who was one of three ailing Huskies’ starters that did not wrestle. No. 2 112-pounder Nick Scheffert and 171-pounder Ben Zeman were also inactive.

Eighth-grader Tristan Westerlund upset the Huskies’ senior Scott Sumner at 130 pounds after falling behind 4-0 in the second

Eight-grader Tristan Westerlund, left, upset Owatonna senior Scott Sumner 5-4 Thursday at 130 pounds. Westerlund’s win put the Tigers ahead 17-3. -- Scott Schmeltzer/Albert Lea Tribune

period. Westerlund scored a two-point reverse in the second period and a one-point escape in the third period to pull within 4-3. With 10 seconds left in the match, Westerlund scored a takedown to win 5-4 and pull the Tigers ahead 17-3.

“That got the momentum going,” Goodnature said, of Westerlund’s win. “We beat some kids early that we weren’t supposed to.”

Another upset came at 140 pounds, when the Tigers’ senior Caleb Kolodge beat senior Adam Kubat 6-3.

Kolodge lead 4-3 with 18 seconds left in the third period and pulled a reverse with 10 seconds left to win 6-3.

At 145 pounds, No. 6-ranked Trey Hable made quick work of the Huskies’ Bowen Schultz, pinning him in 20 seconds, giving the Tigers a second fall and 26-7 lead.

Dalton Westerlund, the Tigers’ third-ranked 152-pounder, won as expected over Matt Dinse 10-3 and outscored Dinse 6-1 in the final period.

At 160 pounds, No. 3 Cory Hansen was also favored and won 7-2 over the Huskies’ Justin Duruji, extending the Tigers’ lead to 32-7.

No. 7 Carter Kortan and No. 5 Jordan Zeman engaged in the longest match of the night as Zeman topped Kortan 7-5 after three tiebreaker periods.

Kortan opened the match with a two-point takedown but trailed 4-3 entering the third period. An escape in the third forced two tiebreaker period in which both wrestlers notched one-point escapes. In sudden death, Kortan chose to start down in hopes of earning a match-winning escape but wasn’t able to in the allotted 30 seconds.

The highest profile match of the night came at 189 pounds where the Tigers’ No. 7-ranked Conner Kortan faced No. 2-ranked Coyte Kuefner.

Kortan fell behind 2-0 after the first period but tied the match 4-4 going into the third.

Kuefner regained a 5-4 lead with an escape early in the third before Kortan worked some last-second magic.

“I knew he was going to come after me right away,” Kortan said, of Keufner. “I just wanted to keep the match close and shock him in the end.”

Kortan received a one-point penalty with five seconds left to tie Keufner at 5-5 before scoring a takedown with two seconds left to win 7-5.

As both players rose from the mat, the Huskies’ received a one-point team penalty after Kuefner appeared to headbutt Kortan.

“That was a huge win for us,” Goodnature said. “Keufner’s dangerous but Conner is a smart wrestler and stayed out of his wild moves.”

Kortan’s win pulled the Tigers ahead 35-9 before the Huskies’ Logan Barrett beat Caleb Gaudian 3-0 at 215 pounds and heavyweight Josh Woodrich beat the Tigers’ Alex Nielsen 3-2.

Tigers’ fans, limited to standing room only, kept the gym packed through the final match even after Albert Lea mathematically secured the victory.

“It was a big win for us in front of a great crowd,” Goodnature said. “Anytime you can wrestle in front of a crowd like we had tonight and in a rivalry like this, it’s fun.”

The win all but secures the Tigers sole possession of their sixth Big Nine championship in 11 seasons. The Tigers still have conference duals against Faribault, Rochester John Mashall, Mankato East and Austin but a heavily favored to win all of them.

Goodnature credited his wrestlers’ abilities to upset or stay competitive with talented wrestlers to the three consecutive weekend tournaments the Tigers have competed in.

“Over the past few weekends we’ve had big time competition and that helps in a match like this,” he said. “They’ve all been in tough duals and tough individuals matches and that prepared them for this.”

The Tigers and Huskies recently competed in the Clash National Wrestling Duals Jan. 7-8. The Tigers finished 21st and the Huskies 12th.

The Tigers compete next at the Kiffmeyer Duals Saturday at St. Cloud Tech High School.

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