Gallery: Albert Lea dominates Rochester Mayo

Published 9:25 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

Derek Samudio of Albert Lea wrestles Ryan Motley of Rochester Mayo Thursday in Albert Lea. Samudio won with a 13-3 major decision. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Derek Samudio of Albert Lea wrestles Ryan Motley of Rochester Mayo Thursday in Albert Lea. Samudio won with a 13-3 major decision. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Despite having two state-ranked wrestlers out with injuries, the Albert Lea wrestling team crushed Rochester Mayo.

The Tigers jumped out to a 29-0 lead and beat the Spartans 49-22 Tuesday at home to stay perfect in the Big Nine Conference at 4-0.

“Mayo had a good squad, and we’re still dinged up,” said Albert Lea head coach Larry Goodnature. “But as a whole we wrestled well.”

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Garrett Aldrich — the No. 7-ranked wrestler in Class AA — and Gavin Ignaszewski pinned their opponents in the first two matches of the evening to give Albert Lea a 12-0 lead.

Bryce Hoyt followed suit by beating Noah Johnson with a technical fall 17-1, and a win by forfeit by Beau Johnsrud extended the Tigers’ lead to 23 points.

In the third set of rankings released Jan. 3 by The Guillotine, Johnsrud moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 at 126 pounds.

Blake Simon continued Albert Lea’s winning trend. He pinned Kyle Calley in 1 minute and 43 seconds at 132 pounds.

“We had to get those bonus points, and we got them to start the meet,” Goodnature said. “They (Rochester Mayo) were a little weaker there, and that’s our stronger suit.”

The 138-pound match was set to feature a pair of ranked wrestlers. However, Albert Lea’s Devin Nelson — the No. 9 wrestler in Class AA — was injured. So Rochester Mayo’s Miles Patton — the No. 5 wrestler in Class AAA — faced Mason Hammer.

Hammer lost 15-4, but Goodnature was pleased with his effort.

“Mason wrestled him tough,” he said. “If you lose by a major (instead of a fall), that’s big for team points.”

The Tigers bounced back with an 18-7 major decision by Santana Acosta at 145 pounds.

“One of the guys who really put on a show tonight was Santana Acosta,” Goodnature said. “That was one heck of a takedown technique.”

Acosta utilized a plethora of moves to stay on the offensive and dominate the match.

“I just went out there and did what my coaches asked and tried to do my best,” Acosta said.

Goodnature said Acosta has a lot of potential.

“He just needs to open up,” Goodnature said. “Tonight he opened up and threw all kinds of different takedowns at him. It was one of the most exciting matches for the coaches to see.”

Rochester Mayo won the next two matches by fall, but Albert Lea rebounded at 170 pounds with a 13-3 major decision by Derek Samudio over Ryan Motley.

Tim Christianson earned a fall at 195 pounds, and heavyweight Will Mendez pinned his opponent in 31 seconds — the fastest match of the night.

“It’s fun and exciting for the kids when you get a fall like that,” Goodnature said. “It was two big kids and they each had a bear hug on each other.”

Mendez has been wrestling since seventh grade, and he took over the 285-pound weight class this year after state-qualifier Jacob Kunkel graduated.

Sitting out for Albert Lea with an injury along with Nelson was Triston Westerlund, the defending Class AAA state runner-up and the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Class AA this year.

The Tigers will compete next at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Kiffmeyer Duals at St. Cloud Tech High School. Other teams that were invited are Cambridge-Isanti, Hastings, Foley and St. Michael-Albertville.

Each team is ranked in the state polls. Foley is No. 1 in the Class AA polls and St. Michael-Albertville, Hastings and Cambridge-Isanti are ranked in the top five of Class AAA.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Jan. 9 post.