Nash, Drury bring home state medals
Jared Nash and John Drury were looking to cap off their senior seasons by bringing home medals from the state Class A wrestling tournament.
Both Park Rapids seniors completed that mission.
Nash finished fourth at 171 pounds and Drury finished sixth at 189 pounds Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center to give the Panthers two state placewinners.
Two other Park Rapids wrestlers also qualified for their first state trip. Senior Kenny Weaver just missed earning a medal at heavyweight while junior Danny Pike lost his first match and was eliminated at 160 pounds.
"I felt good about our kids' performances at state. Our seniors wrestled very well and (Pike) got some great experience," said Park Rapids head coach Matt Clark. "Every kid we lost to went on to place at state, so we did not lose to any slouches. Any time you can bring home some hardware from the state tournament, you have to feel good about that."
United North Central's Max Aho also lost his first match at 140 pounds and was eliminated.
Nash finishes fourth in state debut
Nash, who was the only Panther ranked in the final state Class A poll, improved on his ranking to claim a state medal.
All 10 wrestlers who were ranked in the final poll qualified for state. Nash, the No. 9-ranked wrestler at 171 pounds, faced only two of those ranked wrestlers en route to placing fourth.
Nash opened the state tournament with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over No. 4-ranked Daniel Eckhardt of Blue Earth Area last Wednesday night. After a scoreless first period, Eckhardt took a 1-0 lead with an escape in the second period. Nash forced overtime with an escape in the third period and advanced to the quarterfinals with an escape in the second overtime.
During Thursday's quarterfinals, Nash was defeated by No. 3 Brock Claeys of Canby 12-10. A reversal and escape in the first period kept Nash within 4-3 and an escape and reversal kept Nash within 8-6 after the second period. Both wrestlers had a pair of reversals in the third period as Claeys moved to the semifinals.
Nash stayed alive by pinning Ogilvie's Wyatt Hippie in 45 seconds in the first round of the wrestlebacks.
Nash advanced to the third-place match with two victories on Friday. Nash edged Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's Ryan Larson 3-1 and defeated Martin County West's Nich Dorschner 15-6.
In the win over Larson, Nash used a takedown in the first period and an escape in the third period to move into the medal round. Nash dominated Dorschner as a takedown and nearfall in the first period, a reversal and nearfall in the second period and a reversal and takedown in the third period led to a major decision.
In Saturday's third-place match, Nash was edged by Claeys 2-1. Claeys used a reversal in the second period for the win. Nash had an escape in the third period. Claeys ended the season with a 37-3 record while Nash finished 36-7 to end his wrestling career at Park Rapids with a 97-24 overall record.
No. 2-ranked Josh Willarert of LeSueur-Henderson defeated top-ranked Ben MacPhail of Pine Island 7-6 in the title match. Willarert ended the season at 41-2 while MacPhail fell to 36-2. No. 7-ranked Chad Mattees of Zumbrota-Mazeppa pinned Dorschner in 4:30 in the fifth-place match. Mattees ended the season at 38-6 while Dorschner finished at 26-16.
Drury places sixth in state debut
Drury took advantage of being in the lower part of the 189-pound bracket to bring home a medal.
Of the 16 state qualifiers, nine were rated in the final state poll. The top half of the bracket featured No. 1 Joel Bauman of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, No. 2 John Gusewelle of Sauk Centre and No. 3 Kody Lafraniere/Sorenson of Frazee.
Drury, who was in the lower half of the bracket, drew Mille Lac's Ian Pratt in last Wednesday's first round and Pratt prevailed with a 7-2 minor decision. Drury had escapes in the first and second periods while Bratt used a takedown in the first period and takedown and nearfall in the second period to advance.
However, Drury received another match when Pratt defeated No. 5 Ethan Kockelman of Canby 3-1 during Thursday's quarterfinals.
Drury took advantage of his second chance by winning twice in the wrestlebacks.
The Park Rapids senior pinned Kockelman in 1:56 Thursday and pinned No. 4-ranked Andrew Poser of Paynesville in 2:34 Friday. Drury's match against Poser was scoreless after the first period.
After dropping a 6-0 decision to Gusewelle Friday, Drury was pinned by No. 9 Ben Dahl of Zumbrota-Mazeppa in 1:17 in Saturday's fifth-place match. Gusewell used a first-period takedown and reversals in the in the second and third periods to advance to the third-place match. Drury ended his season at 26-8 while Dahl improved to 33-9.
Bauman defeated Pratt 9-4 in the title match while Gusewell defeated Lafraniere/Sorenson 5-3 for third place. Bauman ended the season at 45-1, Pratt finished 25-1, Gusewell ended 41-3 and Lafraniere/Sorenson ended at 38-7.
Weaver just misses state medal
Weaver was one win away from also earning a state medal.
The Park Rapids senior heavyweight opened last Wednesday night's first round with a 5-4 loss to No. 6-ranked Dustin Caspers of BOLD. Weaver took a 2-0 lead with a reversal in the second period before Caspers used a reversal in the second period and escape and takedown in the third period to build a 5-2 lead. Weaver's reversal ended the scoring.
When Caspers pinned Dylan Nelson of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City in 54 seconds in the quarterfinals, Weaver was awarded another match.
Weaver stayed alive by pinning Nelson in 1:40 before being eliminated when No. 2 Aaron Rose of Sibley East recorded a pin in 1:45 during Thursday's wrestlebacks. Rose led 8-0 before recording the pin. Weaver ended his senior season with a 24-7 record.
Caspers went on to defeat No. 1-ranked Alex Yeager of Badger/Greenbush/Middle River 3-2 in the title match while Jackson County Central's Jordan Phibbs defeated Rose 10-8 in the third-place match. No. 5 Cody Torkelson of Osakis edged No. 10 Jordan Arndt of Zumbrota-Mazeppa 2-1 for fifth place. Caspers ended at 33-4, Yeager finished at 34-6, Phibbs ended at 31-11, Rose finished at 33-9, Torkelson ended at 33-11 and Arndt finished at 32-11.
Pike, Aho lose only matches
Pike and Aho lost their first matches and weren't given an opportunity to advance through the wrestlebacks.
Pike was pinned by Kenyon-Wanamingo's Jarid Groth in 5:54 during Wednesday night's first round at 160 pounds and was eliminated when Groth dropped a 2-0 decision to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa's Travis Winter in the quarterfinals. Pike trailed 13-0 before being pinned in his only state match. Pike ended the season with a 29-8 record.
Aho also had a short stay when the UNC senior dropped a 15-7 decision to Kimball's Caramon Hansen during Wednesday night's first round at 140 pounds. Aho was eliminated when Hansen dropped a 13-11 decision to Kenyon-Wanamingo's Skyler Quamme in the quarterfinals. Aho ended the season with a 24-10 record.
At 160, No. 1-ranked Cooper Moore of Jackson County Central defeated No. 2 Stephen Erlandson of Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah 13-2 to win the title. No. 4 Sean Huls of Pierz defeated Groth 3-2 for third place while Winter pinned Benson's Brady Wesinger in 3:44 for fifth place. Moore ended with a 42-2 record, Erlandson ended at 38-3, Huls went 41-6, Groth ended 35-11, Winter finished at 38-4 and Wesinger went 33-9.
At 140, No. 1-ranked Tony Vaske of River Valley defeated No. 3 Brett Pfarr of LeSueur-Henderson 11-4 in the championship match. Minnewaska Area's Cam Schafer edged No. 7 Jessie Regalado of Jackson County Central 12-9 for third place. No. 2 Sam Derynck of Minneota pinned Quamme in 1:30 for fifth place. Vaske finished 36-1, Pfarr went 41-3, Schafer had a 29-7 record, Regalado ended 32-15, Derynck went 37-5 and Quamme finished at 27-10.