Tigers dominate Bears

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, February 12, 2015

Devin Nelson of Albert Lea pins Byron's Nathaniel Douglas Thursday in the Section 1AA quarterfinals at Albert Lea. The match lasted 27 seconds. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Devin Nelson of Albert Lea pins Byron’s Nathaniel Douglas at 138 pounds Thursday in the Section 1AA quarterfinals at Albert Lea. The match lasted 27 seconds. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

With a season-high 10 falls, the Albert Lea wrestling team waited for the postseason to post its most dominating performance of the year.

The No. 3 Class AA Tigers won the first six bouts with first-period pins to crush Byron 68-7 Thursday in the Section 1AA quarterfinals at Albert Lea.

“They go for the fall, they’re aggressive and they’re physical,” said Albert Lea coach Larry Goodnature. “There’s no sense in wasting any time. We just needed to go out there and get the job done. The kids did that tonight.”

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Zach Glazier gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead by pinning Mitch Petersen in 1:13 at 106 pounds.

Gavin Ignaszewski followed at 113 with a fall in 1:21, Brody Nielsen in 1:24, Garrett Aldrich in 1:19, Beau Johnsrud in 1:03 and Devin Nelson in 27 seconds.

After an 18-6 technical fall by Santana Acosta at 145, Albert Lea led 40-0.

With a takedown by Byron’s Alex Bertram at 152, the Bears led a bout for the first time. Bertram also gave Byron its first points of the night with a 4-0 decision over Blake Simon.

The Tigers responded with a 17-5 major decision by Dereck Samudio at 160.

Albert Lea’s Chris Nelson won by fall at 170, and Tim Christianson pinned Wesley Birch in 31 seconds, the second-fastest fall of the night.

Byron won a major decision at 195, and Albert Lea finished with a fall in less than a minute by Triston Westerlund at 220 and a pin by Dominick Fadden in 3:32 at 285.

Seniors in the lineup who wrestled for the last time in a home dual at Albert Lea High School were Devin Nelson, Acosta, Samudio, Christianson, Westerlund and Fadden, and they all won.

When the Tigers and Bears met during the regular season at Albert Lea on Dec. 18, the Tigers won 55-7 but only had half as many pins.

“We wrestled a lot better this time,” Samudio said. “We were aggressive, and that’s how we’re going to have to do it from here on out.”

In addition to Albert Lea, Section 1AA features five teams listed in the Guillotine’s poll. The Tigers are the No. 2-seed; Kasson-Mantorville, ranked No. 2 is the No. 1-seed; Stewartville, ranked No. 11 is the No. 3-seed; and Caledonia, Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland are listed in the Guillotine’s lean and mean category.

The bracket had no upsets on Thursday. Kasson-Mantorville beat Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 54-3 in the quarterfinals and will play Plainview-Elgin-Millville, a team that beat Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland 43-30.

Albert Lea will wrestle Stewartville in the section semifinals at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Rochester Civic Center. Stewartville beat Caledonia 39-31 in the quarterfinals.

Albert Lea beat Stewartville 53-18 on Jan. 17 at Zumbrota. Nielsen said he’s looking forward to the rematch.

“They’re a good team, and I’d say the best we ever wrestled this year was against them,” Nielsen said about the Stewartville match.

Kasson-Mantorville (20-0) will be another hurdle. Goodnature welcomed the challenge.

“If we want to be state champion, we have to beat them all,” he said. “They’re undefeated this year, they’ve been ranked ahead of us the whole year and they’re seeded No. 1 in our section, but I like that. I like being the underdog.”