Tigers impress in season opener

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Albert Lea wrestling team opened its 2011-12 campaign in dominating fashion on Saturday with three straight wins in the Hastings Duals.

The No. 9-ranked Tigers opened the season with a 61-15 win over Stewartville, followed by a 40-32 win over No. 12 Centennial and a 42-30 win over fifth-ranked Coon Rapids, a team that beat No. 3 Hastings 39-25 in the second round.

“It was an unbelievably great weekend,” Tigers coach Larry Goodnature said. “I was really impressed with the kids.”

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Albert Lea was the only team to roll undefeated through the six-team tournament, which featured five of the top-12 ranked teams in Class AAA. Goodnature said the team had 11 practices in the 12 days leading up to the duals and was impressed with the wrestlers’ pursuit of bonus points. The Tigers had 20 falls to its opponents’ nine.

“They were ready to have some fun this weekend and weren’t satisfied with winning regular decisions,” Goodnature said. “We wrestled with so much intensity, going for falls and getting major decisions. We just did things so physically and that’s what I call the Albert Lea wrestling attitude.”

The Tigers begin its Big Nine Conference schedule on Thursday with a triangular against Winona and Austin at Albert Lea High School. The Tigers wrestle Winona at 6 p.m.