Tigers send 9 wrestlers to state

Published 5:01 pm Sunday, February 27, 2011

Albert Lea’s Lucas Hansen attempts a reverse Saturday against Owatonna’s Nick Scheffert in the Section 1AAA 112-pound individual tournament at the Mayo Civic Center. -- Andrew Dyrdal

ROCHESTER — Nine individual wrestlers will accompany the Albert Lea wrestling team in St. Paul Friday after winning or placing second Saturday in the Section 1AAA individual tournament at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

The Tigers finished with six section champions and three runner-ups, including 215-pounder Caleb Gaudian who placed second after being seeded third.

Gaudian was the ninth Tigers wrestler to clinch a spot a state and a surprise, according to Tigers

Albert Lea’s Caleb Gaudian, right, wrestles Owatonna’s Logan Barrett Saturday during the Section 1AAA 215-pound individual tournament in Rochester. -- Andrew Dyrdal

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coach Larry Goodnature.

Gaudian beat second-seeded Thomas Herrera, of Austin, 1-0 in the semifinals after losing to him twice in two attempts over the course of the season.

After a scoreless first period, Gaudian earned an escape in the second to pull ahead 1-0 before keeping Herrera on the mat the entire third.

“Herrera stood up six times and Caleb had six mat returns,” Goodnature said. “That’s hard to do and Caleb did it. He had a heck of a good match.”

No. 1 seeds Dakota Wangsness (103), Tristan Westerlund (135), Dalton Westerlund (145) and Cory Hansen (160) were all crowned section champs. No. 2 seeds Lucas Hansen (112) and Trey Hable (152) also took home first place while Caleb Kolodge (140), Conner Kortan (189) and Gaudian placed second.

“Right now I think we’re peaking as a team and everyone is wrestling good,” Goodnature said. “I feel really good about our (physical) condition and mind set.”

The most dramatic victory Saturday came when Lucas Hansen upended top-seeded Nick Scheffert, of Owatonna, on a takedown with five seconds remaining in the match.

Scheffert held leads of 2-0 and 3-2, and Hansen never led until after his match-winning takedown. The win marked the second time this season that Scheffert has lost to an Albert Lea wrestler in the closing seconds (Garrett Wangsness did it on Jan. 19).

Tigers’ heavyweight Alex Nielsen came a win shy of advancing to state after losing 4-3 to Owatonna’s Josh Woodrich in the true second match.

The Tigers’ Garrett Wangsness (119), Devin Nelson (125) and Dustin Samudio (171) all placed fifth.

The Tigers team opens the state tournament at 11 a.m. Thursday against Hopkins at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The individual tournament takes place Friday and Saturday at the same location.

See the scoreboard for individual match results.