Gallery: Tigers beat Huskies

Published 10:13 pm Saturday, January 24, 2015

Zach Glazier of Albert Lea wrestles Owatonna's Peyton Robb at 106 pounds Saturday at Owatonna. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Zach Glazier of Albert Lea wrestles Owatonna’s Peyton Robb at 106 pounds Saturday at Owatonna. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

OWATONNA — A victory over the only other undefeated team in the Big Nine Conference standings moved the Albert Lea wrestling team into the driver’s seat for the league title.

Both teams won seven bouts, but No. 3 Class AA Albert Lea edged Owatonna 32-27 on Saturday by producing bonus points in all but two of its wins and doing damage control in the losses.

“It was a fun dual,” said Tigers coach Larry Goodnature. “It always is. Owatonna wrestled tough, and we wrestled tough enough to win.”

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Both teams had three ranked wrestlers in the first six weight classes, and it worked out that they faced each other at 106, 126 and 138 pounds.

Despite losses by No. 3 Zach Glazier at 106, No. 1 Garrett Aldrich at 126 and No. 7 Devin Nelson at 138, the Tigers kept pace by allowing bonus points in only the 106-pound match and turning a pair of pins by Gavin Ignaszewski at 113 and Brody Nielsen at 120.

Ignaszewski pinned Owatonna’s Hayden Fox in 1:21, and Nielsen picked up the fastest fall of the evening in 32 seconds.

“Some of our boys picked away and got the bonus points, which are huge in this match,” Goodnature said.

A 13-6 decision by Beau Johnsrud gave Albert Lea a 15-9 lead at 132 pounds, but the Huskies cut their deficit to three points after Nelson’s loss.

At 145, Santana Acosta started his match aggressively and took a 7-2 lead over Owatonna’s Blake Westphal after the first period.

“I knew he weighed more than me and had a lot of strength, so I was just going on guts,” Acosta said.

In the second period, Acosta supplied the Tigers’ third fall in the first seven bouts.

“We tell each other that if one of us fails, the others will pick us up,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. Keep your head up.”

Albert Lea’s Mason Hammer took the mat at 152 to face Owatonna’s Brandon Moen, ranked No. 4. Hammer lost with a 19-9 decision, but Moen gave one point back when he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the match was completed.

Tigers assistant coach Neal Skaar said the bout would’ve been a 19-10 loss if the penalty was called during the match. However, since it was called after the match — as the wrestlers were walking to shake hands — it became a point that was subtracted from the Huskies’ team total.

After a major decision by Dereck Samudio at 160 pounds gave Albert Lea a 25-15 lead, Owatonna countered with a two-point decision at 170 and a one-point decision at 182.

However, a 19-7 major decision by Tim Christianson at 195 gave the Tigers an eight-point lead, and a 5-0 decision by Triston Westerlund at 220 sealed the win.

Albert Lea (24-1, 8-0 Big Nine Conference) cleared its largest hurdle toward the conference championship, but the team still has two more conference matches left: at 7 p.m. Friday at Austin (10-7, 4-3 Big Nine Conference) and at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Rochester Mayo (5-7, 3-5 Big Nine Conference). Owatonna faced both teams and won 62-15 at Austin and 48-17 against Mayo.

The Tigers’ final home match will be against Adrian at 3 p.m. Saturday on Alumni Night. Goodnature said alumni will be announced, and a social at Green Lea Golf Course will follow the meet. Adrian is ranked No. 5 in the Guillotine’s Class A polls as a team, and the Dragons have five ranked individuals.