Four Panthers wrestle way to state
After not coaching any wrestlers at the state Class AA tournament last season, Matt Clark will accompany four Park Rapids wrestlers to the state Class A tournament this week.
Seniors Jared Nash, John Drury and Kenny Weaver and junior Danny Pike earned their first trips to state with runner-up finishes at Saturday's Section 8A tournament at Glyndon.
Nash, the No. 1 seed, won a true-second match to advance at 171 pounds. Drury, the No. 2 seed, finished second at 189. Weaver, the No. 2 seed, also finished second at heavyweight. Pike, the No. 4 seed, won a true-second match to qualify at 160.
That gives the Panthers, who failed to qualify a wrestler for state last season for the first time since 1999, four state qualifiers for the first time since 2006.
Nash, Drury and Weaver won their first two matches to reach the finals while Pike had to rebound from a semifinal loss to earn a true-second match.
In the 171-pound division, Nash advanced to the finals by pinning Mahnomen's Keith Warren in 37 seconds in the quarterfinals and defeating Badger's Timm Ingle 8-6 in the semifinals. Nash earned a state berth by rebounding from a 5-4 loss to Frazee's Rick Brandt in the championship match by pinning Crookston's Josh Edlund in 1:30 in a true-second match.
At 189, Drury pinned Crookston's Justin Altepeter in 2:26 in the quarterfinals and pinned Badger's Ben Evans in 1:31 in the semifinals to advance to the finals. Drury qualified for state despite dropping a 14-3 major decision to Frazee's Kody Lafreniere-Sorenson in the championship match.
Weaver reached the championship match at heavyweight by pinning Frazee's Devon Drewes in 3:06 in the quarterfinals and posting a 4-2 win over Mahnomen's Jordan McArthur in the semifinals. Weaver would earn a state trip despite being pinned by Greenbush's Alex Yeager in 1:35 in the title match.
Pike had a tougher time earning a trip to state. After pinning Crookston's Cody Osland in 1:16, Pike was sent into the wrestlebacks with a 20-5 technical fall loss to Dilworth's Shawn Johnson in the semifinals. Pike rebounded by pinning Fertile-Beltrami's Kyle Jadeke in 1:55 and Osland in 2:31 to earn a true-second match against Frazee's Brandon VanWatermulen. Pike took advantage of that opportunity with a dramatic 8-7 overtime victory.
Those four wrestlers will make their state debuts today (Wednesday) at the Xcel Energy Center. Pike carries a 29-7 record against Kenyon's Jarid Groth (31-9), Nash brings a 32-6 record against Blue Earth's Daniel Eckhardt (33-5), Drury has a 24-5 record and opens against Mille Lacs' Ian Pratt (22-0), and Weaver puts his 23-5 record on the line against BOLD's Dustin Caspers (29-4). The state tournament concludes Saturday.
The Panthers also had eight other wrestlers place at the section meet.
Ben Baumgartner lost a true-second match at 103 pounds to finish third while Luke Hartig (at 140) and Forrest Drury (at 152) finished fourth. Finishing in fifth place were Adam Branstrom at 135 and Zach Steffen at 140 while Cameron Free (at 119), Dylan Holmer (at 125) and Kevin Just (at 145) placed sixth.
Also competing at the section meet for the Panthers were Laine Jensen at 112 and Cole Tretbar at 215.
103: Isaac Novacek, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River, minor decision over Trevor Stilke, Frazee, 12-7. True second: Stilke pinned Ban Baumgartner, Park Rapids, 1:59.
112: Jordan Keller, Frazee, minor decision over Nate Merten, Crookston, 2-0.
119: Tanner Ellenberg, Frazee, technical fall over Arthur Zavala, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 5:15. True second: Zavala minor decision over Wyatt Hanson, Crookston, 10-3.
125: Garret Hoffner, Mahnomen/Waubun, minor decision over Skyler Price, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River, 5-3.
130: Javier Portillo, Crookston, major decision over Myrel Schermerhorn, Frazee, 13-5.
135: Mariano Portillo, Crookston, minor decision over Rij Koehnen, Frazee, 5-3.
140: Zack Askelson, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, minor decision over Max Aho, United North Central, 9-6.
145: Anthony Caputo, Crookston, minor decision over Casey Nunn, Frazee, 5-4.
152: Jake Schermerhorn, Frazee, minor decision over Caleb Lanoue, Mahnomen/Waubun, 4-3.
160: Shawn Johnson, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, major decision over Brandon VanWatermulen, Frazee, 13-5. True second: Danny Pike, Park Rapids, minor decision over VanWatermulen 8-7 (ot).
171: Rick Brandt, Frazee, minor decision over Jared Nash, Park Rapids, 5-4. True second: Nash pinned Josh Edlund, Crookston, 1:30.
189: Kody Lafreniere-Sorenson, Frazee, major decision over John Drury, Park Rapids, 14-3.
215: Brody Davidson, Crookston, minor decision over Cole Christianson, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River, 7-3.
285: Alex Yeager, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River, pinned Kenny Weaver, Park Rapids, 1:35.
Park Rapids results
Ben Baumgartner (103): pinned Kole Lefebve, Mahnomen, 5:56; lost major decision to Isaac Novacek, Badger, 13-2; won major decision over Sam Tellers, United North Central, 10-1; won minor decision over Cody Wieland, Crookston, 10-3; pinned by Trevor Stilke, Frazee, 1:59 (3rd).
Laine Jensen (112): pinned by Jordan Ketter, Frazee, :25; pinned by Brandon Waage, Badger, 1:45.
Cameron Free (119): pinned by Jake Malone, United North Central, 1:14; won minor decision over Sam Haugen, Fertile-Beltrami, 6-1; pinned by Wyatt Hanson, Crookston, 1:43; pinned by Ben Wellin, Marshall County West, 2:38 (6th).
Dylan Holmer (125): pinned by Ben Genereux, Crookston, 3:01; pinned Kieler Skaro, United North Central, 2:39; lost minor decision to Bruce Lemon, Frazee, 7-2; lost minor decision to Jaden Harm, Dilworth, 10-7 (6th).
Luke Hartig (130): won minor decision over Johnathan Hoffner, Mahnomen, 10-9; lost 19-4 technical fall to Javier Portillo, Crookston, 4:23; won major decision over Max Pajari, United North Central, 14-6; pinned by Storm Booe, Badger, 4:31 (4th).
Adam Branstrom (135): pinned by Mike Johnson, United North Central, 5:39; pinned by Tom Gulikson, Badger, 2:00; won minor decision over Austin Reiten, Mahnomen, 10-7 (5th).
Zach Steffen (140): lost minor decision to Cody Piper, Frazee, 1-0; pinned Thor Roggenbuck, Red Lake County Central, :13; lost minor decision to Tanner Sovde, Badger, 5-4; won by injury default over Piper (5th).
Kevin Just (145): lost 21-5 technical fall to Anthony Caputo, Crookston, 4:00; pinned Hunter Lindberg, Fertile-Beltrami, 4:35; lost major decision to Tomm Ingle, Badger, 11-0; lost major decision to Ryan Hamernick, Dilworth, 19-11 (6th).
Forrest Drury (152): pinned Blake Bisby, Fertile-Beltrami, 5:14; lost minor decision to Jake Schermerhorn, Frazee, 8-2; won minor decision over Scott Kern, Dilworth, 4-3; lost major decision to Tejay Wojchowski, Badger, 14-3 (4th).
Danny Pike (160): pinned Cody Osland, Crookston, 1:16; lost 20-5 technical fall to Shawn Johnson, Dilworth, 6:00; pinned Kyle Jadeke, Fertile-Beltrami, 1:55; pinned Osland 2:31; won minor decision over Brandon VanWatermulen, Frazee, 8-7 in overtime (2nd).
Jared Nash (171): pinned Keith Warren, Mahnomen, :37; won minor decision over Timm Ingle, Badger, 8-6; lost minor decision to Rick Brandt, Frazee, 5-4; pinned Josh Edlund, Crookston, 3:30 (2nd).
John Drury (189): pinned Justin Altepeter, Crookston, 2:26; pinned Ben Evans, Badger, 1:31; lost major decision to Kody Lafreniere/Swanson, Frazee, 14-3 (2nd).
Cole Tretbar (215): pinned by Cole Christianson, Badger, 1:10; won by injury default over Alex Devary, Dilworth; pinned by Preston Zorns, Mahnomen, 1:44; pinned by Conway Hamm, Red Lake County Central, 2:12 (6th).
Kenny Weaver (285): pinned Devon Drewes, Frazee, 3:06; won minor decision over Jordan McArthur, Mahnomen, 4-2; pinned by Alex Yeager, Badger, 1:35 (2nd).