2 Panthers, 2 Rebels headed to state wrestling tournament

Published 8:15 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

Wrestlers for both United South Central and NRHEG participated in the Section 2A individual tournament Saturday morning at Blue Earth Area High School, competing for their shot at a state tournament berth.

A total of four wrestlers from the schools made the cut, including one returning qualifier from last season and one former state champion.

United South Central senior Blake Legred dominated in all of his matches at 138 pounds during the tournament. The 2017 champion and 2018 runner-up earned a bye in the first round, followed by a first-round pinfall in the quarterfinals, a 15-0 technical fall in the semifinals and a 11-0 major decision in the championship. Legred gave up zero points throughout sections and enters the state tournament with a 38-4 record.

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The other Rebel to make the state tournament was sophomore Bryce Sonnek. Also earning a bye in the first round, Sonnek proceeded with first-period falls in both the quarter and semifinal matchups. Sonneck then came out on top of a hard-fought 6-3 decision to win his 106-pound weight class.

Five other Rebels competed at the tournament, but were unable to qualify for the state meet. Juniors Masyn Elvebak and Jacob Billings each took home a third-place finish, just one place shy of reaching the tournament. Junior Connor Ehlert and sophomore Micah Hamson came away with fourth-place finishes and freshman Ethan Elvebak finished in eighth place.

NRHEG also had two wrestlers qualify for the state meet with seniors Tyler Jacobson and Quinten Arndt.

Jacobson, a state qualifier from last season, took second place in his 170-pound class. A quick fall in the quarterfinals and a 12-3 major decision win in the semis landed him in the finals, where he was pinned in the final seconds of the first period. However, due to no true-second match being needed, Jacobson took second place and a spot at the state tournament.

Much like Jacobson, Arndt dominated his way to the championship final with pinfalls in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, before losing in the finals to a tough 3-1 decision at 285 pounds. Arndt was forced to wrestle a true-second match, but cruised to a victory with another pinfall in the first period.

“I couldn’t be happier for our seniors Tyler Jacobson and Quinten Arndt,” said NRHEG head coach Shawn Larson. “These two deserve to have the opportunity to compete at the state tournament. Both of these guys work very hard for what they have, and they have earned this opportunity. I am looking forward to see what these two guys can do with the opportunity they have.”

Nine other Panthers competed in the tournament. Freshman Ralph Roesler came close with a third-place finish at 160 pounds. Junior Argo Gushwa took fourth at 152 pounds. Five Panthers came in fifth place: seventh-graders Annabelle Petsinger at 106 pounds, junior Andrew Reich at 132 pounds, sophomore Thor Routh at 145 pounds, and freshmen Nikolas Petsinger and Clay Stenzel at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively. Sophomore Conner Okland at 182 pounds and eighth-grader Makota Misgen at 220 pounds each finished in sixth place.

“After this tournament, I could not be any prouder of this team,” Larson said. “We wrestled as good as we could have and showed the best side of NRHEG wrestling. Throughout this tournament we were winning matches that we had lost earlier in the season, and we were winning matches that we would have lost in the past. For a team that only has two seniors, we demonstrated an older level of composure. It was really fun to see what we were able to do this weekend.”

The four qualifying wrestlers move on to the state tournament, which is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Friday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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