Tigers crush Big Nine Conference foes
Published 7:13 am Friday, December 11, 2015
Albert Lea wins 10th match of the season; coach Goodnature nears 500th career win
As the defending Big Nine Conference champions, the Albert Lea wrestling team continued its dominance by winning its second and third conference matches of the season.
The No. 4 (AA) Tigers throttled Winona/Cotter 64-6 and Mankato East 62-9 Thursday in a triangular at Mankato.
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Including Albert Lea’s 51-17 win Dec. 3 at Faribault, the Tigers have outscored conference opponents by a combined score of 177-32.
“(We) were aggressive, and that’s what this team’s been doing all year,” said Albert Lea coach Larry Goodnature. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement from all of our kids, and I’m seeing a lot of team unity this year. Everything’s clicking.”
Goodnature is three wins away from 500 career wins. With Thursday’s victories, his career record improved to 497-159. Goodnature led the Tigers to a runner-up finish at the Class AA state tournament last year and was the Class AA and Section 1AA Coach of the Year.
Through both matches of the triangular, Albert Lea produced six falls and didn’t give up any.
In the match against Winona/Cotter, the Winhawks had two ranked wrestlers in the Guillotine’s Class AA polls — Jacob Mueller, No. 10 at 113 pounds; and Jack Vasselar, No. 4 at 120 — while Albert Lea had three — Zach Glazier, No. 1 at 113; Gavin Ignaszewski, No. 6 at 120; and Garrett Aldrich, No. 1 at 126.
However, neither of Winona/Cotter’s ranked wrestlers competed, and five forfeit wins for the Tigers expanded an already massive lead. Falls were tallied by Albert Lea’s Nic Cantu at 106, Joe Peterson at 120, Aldrich at 138 and Tanner Palmer at 285.
Mankato East had one ranked grappler in the Class AA polls: Logan Swanson, No. 7 at 285. Swanson won by forfeit, but by the time he took the mat, Albert Lea already built a 62-3 lead.
Peterson and Aldrich notched their second falls of the triangular against the Cougars, and Parker Mullenbach pinned Mankato East’s Michael Miller in 5:00 at 182.
Just like the Winona/Cotter match, Mankato East forfeited five matches.
Next, Albert Lea (10-0, 3-0 Big Nine) will compete at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at a tournament at Park High School.