Gallery: Tigers beat Bears
Published 10:14 pm Thursday, December 18, 2014
It was smooth sailing for the Albert Lea wrestling team on Freedom Night.
The Tigers honored those who served and are serving in the military on Thursday as they dismantled Byron 55-7.
“I really enjoyed the veterans coming out,” said Albert Lea senior Tim Christianson. “That made my night more than winning the match.”
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Christianson wrestled Byron’s Ryan Thompson at 182 pounds. It was the only bout of the evening that featured two ranked wrestlers. Christianson was No. 8 in the Guillotine’s Class AA polls at 182 pounds, and Thompson was No. 8 at 170.
Thompson led 1-0 at the end of the first period, but Christianson took a 2-1 lead with a takedown late in the second. In the third, he extended his lead to win with a 7-3 decision.
“Tim wrestled a good, solid match,” said Albert Lea assistant coach Neal Skaar.
Tim Donahue, sergeant of arms for VFW Post 447, said he’s an avid follower of the Albert Lea matmen.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s just a great program. All of these guys I bet at one point were little guys wrestling in the junior high program. It’s just awesome what Albert Lea has done.”
Donahue, a former Albert Lea wrestler, said the colors had been presented before figure skating and basketball but Thursday was the first time they were presented by the color guard of the VFW Post 447 and Legion Post 56 at a wrestling match.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to present these colors at any of these activities to show the younger generation how important our flag is,” he said.
The Tigers won 12-of-14 bouts and built a 17-0 lead through the 126-pound weight class.
Albert Lea’s Joe Peterson started the meet with a 9-3 decision over Matt Peterson, the No. 7 wrestler at 106 pounds. Zach Glazier boosted the Tigers’ lead to eight points with a technical fall over Perrin Barber at 113 pounds, and Garrett Aldrich, ranked No. 1 at 113 pounds, earned the first fall of the evening over Byron’s Chris Kline in 54 seconds at 120 pounds.
After a 6-0 decision by Albert Lea’s Ty Harms at 126 pounds, the Tigers lost their first match at 132.
However, the Tigers rebounded with a fall by Beau Johnsrud at 126 pounds, a major decision by Santana Acosta at 145, a 3-1 decision by Mason Hammer at 152, a major decision by Dereck Samudio at 160 and a fall by Parker Mullenbach at 170.
The Tigers lost at 195 pounds, but got back on track with falls by Triston Westerlund at 220 and Matt Palmer at 285.
Despite some members of the team batting the flu, talent runs deep in the roster, Skaar said.
“Another thing that’s encouraging about this group is that we’ve got a lot of guys out, but we have the sort of depth that we don’t really give up much,” he said.
The match against Byron was the first Freedom Night of the season. The second Freedom Night will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 against Rochester John Marshall.
Next, Albert Lea will wrestle at 2 p.m. today at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament at Rochester.