All 7 Albert Lea wrestlers stay in hunt on Day 1
Published 3:01 pm Friday, February 27, 2015
ST. PAUL — After the opening day of the individual state wrestling tournament, all seven qualifiers from Albert Lea are in the running for a medal.
“We found out that everybody’s back,” said Albert Lea coach Larry Goodnature.
Garrett Aldrich remained in the hunt for his second state title and his six teammates stayed afloat in the consolation bracket with the goal of taking third place Friday at the Class AA state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
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Aldrich — the defending state champion at 106 pounds, who is competing at 120 pounds this season — cruised through to the semifinals. He beat Simley’s Aaron Hingst 16-4 in the first round and won by fall over No. 4-ranked Teddy Pierce of Chisago Lakes in 2:51 during the quarterfinals.
“I wasn’t planning on pinning him,” Aldrich said. “He just came after me, and I saw the opportunity.”
In Saturday’s semifinals, Aldrich will face No. 3 Thomas Stageberg.
Along with Aldrich’s win over Hingst, Albert Lea’s Zach Glazier and Devin Nelson produced first-round victories.
Glazier, ranked No. 3 at 106 pounds, posted a 17-0 technical fall in 4:26 over Dassel-Cokato’s Preston Bradley in the first round but dropped to the consolation bracket with a 6-2 overtime loss against No. 5 Parker Huss. He stayed alive in wrestlebacks with a 12-2 major decision over Totino-Grace’s Jake Svihel and will take on No. 6 Holden Youngs of Annandale/Maple Lake in the consolation quarterfinals.
Nelson, ranked No. 8 at 138, beat Cloquet/Esko’s Mitchell Borchardt with a 2-0 decision in the first round and lost to No. 4 Treyton Austvold of New London-Spicer 4-1 in the quarterfinals. In the first round of the consolation bracket, Nelson pinned Fridley’s John Bartee in 4:55. Nelson will face No. 1 James Berg of New Prague, who was upset in the quarterfinals by No. 3 Logan Axford of Tracy Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
Albert Lea’s Gavin Ignaszewski, Beau Johnsrud, No. 4 Tim Christianson and No. 2 Triston Westerlund lost their first-round matches, but faced fierce competition.
Wrestlers are eliminated from the tournament after an opening round loss if the first-round winner loses in the quarterfinals. However, the wrestlers who defeated Ignaszewski, Johnsrud, Christianson and Westerlund all won their quarterfinal matches to keep the season alive for the four Albert Lea grapplers.
Ignaszewski lost a 6-3 decision against No. 4 Jake Gliva of Simley at 113. In the first round of wrestlebacks, he won a 7-5 decision over New Ulm’s Sean Howk.
Johnsrud dropped to the consolation bracket with a 5-3 loss against No. 2 Tanner Vassar of Annandale/Maple Lake at 126. Johnsrud rebounded by pinning Browerville’s Nicholas Middendorf to qualify for the consolation quarterfinals.
Christianson battled through a swollen eye sustained Thursday in the team state tournament and led 1-0 over No. 1 Isaac Florell of Totino-Grace but lost 2-1 in overtime at 182. Christianson’s first round in the wrestlebacks didn’t get much easier, but he beat No. 3 Austin May of Zimmerman 3-1.
“It was a really bad draw for Tim,” Goodnature said. “He’s got a really tough bracket.”
Westerlund lost a 4-3 decision against No. 5 Kevin Kneisl of Delano at 220. Westerlund rebounded with a 6-3 decision over No. 10 Kieren Oksanen of Roseau in the first round of wrestlebacks.
Through 16 bouts, Albert Lea wrestlers have a combined 10-6 record.
The Tigers wrestled a day after competing in three matches at the team state tournament and finishing as the state runner-up Thursday night at the same venue.
“We were probably a little sore this morning and a little fatigued from yesterday,” Goodnature said. “But I wouldn’t take yesterday back. Yesterday was a good day for us.”