Tigers sweep triangular
Published 10:20 pm Thursday, January 15, 2015
A pair of lopsided victories has the Albert Lea wrestling team on the brink of 20 dual wins.
The No. 3 Class AA Tigers (19-1 overall) beat Northfield 60-6 and Plainview-Elgin-Millville 42-21 Thursday at a triangular on Take Down Cancer Night at Albert Lea.
Albert Lea dismantled Northfield just like all of its other Big Nine Conference opponents. The Tigers improved to 6-0 in the conference, and they steamrolled those foes by a combined score of 366-58. On average, Big Nine meets have gone Albert Lea’s way by a score of 61-10.
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Northfield won the meet’s first bout, but Albert Lea fought back by winning 12 of the next 13 with three falls before the 145-pound match began.
Against Plainview-Elgin-Millville, a team listed in the Guillotine’s Lean and Mean list for Class AA, the Tigers jumped out to a 24-0 lead.
“We knew we had to come out at the beginning and pick up some big wins, and they did that for us,” said Albert Lea coach Larry Goodnature. “They’ve got a tough team and tough individuals, and I was pleased with the way we wrestled tonight.”
Zach Glazier, ranked No. 3 at 106 pounds, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with a 10-6 decision over Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Reed DeFrang.
Gavin Ignaszewski earned his second fall of the evening by pinning Joe Stucky in 57 seconds at 113 pounds. Brody Nielsen followed at 120 with a 12-1 major decision over Dustin Dittrich.
The match at 120 pounds could’ve been a bout with two of the best wrestlers in the state. Albert Lea’s Garrett Aldrich is ranked No. 1 in the polls, and Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Chase DeFrang is No. 2 in the same class. However, Aldrich faced Carter Mavz and won with a 23-18 technical fall in 5:15.
At 132 pounds, Beau Johnsrud picked up his second fall of the evening. After making Albert Lea’s fastest pin of the triangular in 41 seconds against Northfield’s Ethan Johnson, he pinned Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Jimmy Elit in 1:13.
“I got the takedown and then worked for the fall,” Johnsrud said. “I watched him wrestle before, and I knew I should win the match.”
Johnsrud said Goodnature helped scout his opponent, so he was is prepared.
From 138 pounds to 170, the Bulldogs attempted a comeback. Plainview-Elgin-Millville won four of its next five matches to close its deficit to 12 points, 27-15.
However, Parker Mullenbach and Tim Christianson didn’t allow the Bulldogs to gain any more ground in the next two matches. Mullenbach pinned Logan Graves in 4:50, and Christianson pinned Bradley Schultz in 5:48 to double Albert Lea’s lead, 39-15.
The Bulldogs won a fall at 220 pounds, and Albert Lea’s Triston Westerlund, ranked No. 2 at 220, won a 7-3 decision over Isaac Breuer at 285.
Goodnature said he moved Westerlund and wrestlers into a higher weight class to challenge them.
“We bumped them up to get better matchups,” he said. “Matchups are huge in team duals.”
As part of Take Down Cancer Night, T-shirts were sold and the proceeds went to Grace Andersen, an Albert Lea student who was diagnosed with leukemia. Albert Lea’s coaching staff bought and wore the shirts on the sideline along with fans. The shirts were $10 each, and Goodnature said more than 200 were sold.
Next, Albert Lea will participate in a tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday at Zumbrota-Mazeppa.
The second Freedom Night of the season will be against Rochester John Marshall at 7 p.m. Jan. 22, and the team will have its first Alumni Wrestling Day against No. 2 Class A Adrian at 3 p.m. Jan. 31. Past and present members of the military get free admission on Freedom Night, and Goodnature said he would like them to sign in to be announced before all other regular season home matches as well.