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Brandon Ritter, who qualified for state as the Section 8A runner-up at heavyweight, lost his only match in his state debut.
Brandon Ritter, who qualified for state as the Section 8A runner-up at heavyweight, lost his only match in his state debut.

Pike wins one match at state

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Park Rapids' Danny Pike and Brandon Ritter, United North Central's Jake Malone and Nevis' Garrett Edelman found out how important it is to win the first match at the state wrestling tournament.

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All four area wrestlers were defeated in Friday's first-round matches at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. However, everyone except Ritter was given a second opportunity in the wrestlebacks. Unfortunately, only Pike ended up winning a match.

Pike, the Section 8A runner-up at 171 pounds, entered his second state Class A tournament rated No. 10 in the state poll. Pike, who lost his first-round match at 160 pounds last season and was eliminated, drew Paynesville senior Matt Doom in Friday's first round. Doom entered the tournament rated No. 2 in the state with a 30-2 record.

Doom pinned Pike in 4:51, but Pike stayed alive when Doom pinned Kenyon-Wanamingo senior Derek Melhouse in 1:31 in the quarterfinals. Melhouse entered state as the No. 7-rated wrestler with a 32-10 record.

Pike took advantage of his second chance by pinning Melhouse in 4:54 in Friday's wrestlebacks. However, Pike's quest for a state medal ended when Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial senior Thomas Sandt edged Pike 8-7 in the second round of the wrestlebacks Saturday. Sandt entered state rated No. 6 with a 32-7 record.

The loss ended Pike's senior season with a 35-6 record. LeSueur-Henderson senior Josh Willaert lived up to his No. 1 ranking by defeating Doom 7-3 in the championship match to cap a 40-2 season. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior Shawn Johnson, who pinned Pike in the Section 8A title match, defeated Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City senior Ryan Larson 2-0 for third place while Saint Clair/Mankato Loyola senior Ryan Sieberg defeated Sandt 4-1 for fifth place.

Johnson entered state ranked No. 4 and ended with a 36-5 record. Larson was rated No. 3 and finished at 41-7. Sieberg was rated No. 5 and finished with a 35-7 record. Sandt finished with a 34-10 mark.

Ritter qualified for his first state tournament by finishing second at heavyweight at the Section 8A tournament. In his state debut, Ritter drew LeSueur-Henderson junior Aaron Bruehler, who entered state rated No. 8 with a 24-11 record.

Bruehler pinned Ritter in 4:44 in Friday's first round. Ritter was eliminated when Bruehler was pinned by Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale junior Colin Turchin in Friday's quarterfinals.

Greenbush junior Alex Yeager, who won the Section 8A title and entered state as the No. 1 seed, pinned his way to the state title, capping a 37-3 season by pinning Canby senior Travis Longhenry in 59 seconds in the title match. Longhenry, who was ranked No. 7 in the state, ended the year with a 33-5 record.

Minneota junior Josh Van Overbeck, who was ranked No. 3 in the state at 215 pounds, pinned Turchin in 3:59 for third place. Overbeck ended the season with a 42-3 record while Turchin finished 21-3. Eden Valley-Watkins senior Blaine Meierhofer defeated Sibley East senior Teddy DuFrane 6-2 for fifth place. Meierhofer ended with a 32-7 record while DuFrane ended 18-8.

Malone, who earned his second trip to state as the Section 8A runner-up at 125, drew Border West sophomore Gus McCarthy in Friday's first round. McCarthy, who was rated No. 3 entering state, edged Malone 3-2 and followed with a 9-3 decision over Kimball sophomore Marcus Hamer in the quarterfinals.

That win by McCarthy gave Malone another match. But the UNC sophomore was eliminated with a 5-1 loss to Hamer, who entered state rated No. 7, in Friday night's wrestlebacks. Malone, who qualified for state at 112 pounds in 2009, ended the season at 29-9 while Hamer lost his next match to cap a 38-5 season.

Kenyon junior Oakley McLain, the state's No. 5-rated wrestler, won the state title with a 4-2 overtime victory over No. 6-rated Jake Wintjes, a senior from Blue Earth. McLain capped a 41-5 season while Wintjes went 35-6. Frazee senior Tanner Ellenberg, the No. 2-rated wrestler at 125, edged Trinity at River Ridge junior Ben Rynda, the No. 8-ranked wrestler, 3-2 for third place. Ellenberg capped a 42-4 season while Rynda finished 38-6. In the fifth-place match, McCarthy defeated LeSueur-Henderson sophomore Chris Pfarr 8-5. McCarthy finished the season with a 41-6 record while Pfarr went 34-14.

In the Section 8AA tournament, Edelman had the worst draw of the four local wrestlers. Edelman, who qualified for his first state tournament as the Section 8AA runner-up at 215, had to face Michael Kroells, a junior from Scott West, in Friday's first round. Kroells, the top-rated wrestler in the state, advanced by pinning Edelman in 4:54.

The Nevis senior stayed alive when Kroells defeated Tracy-Milroy senior Matt Wakefield in 14-0 in Friday's quarterfinals. Wakefield entered state rated No. 7. Edelman's state tourney ended with an 8-6 loss to Wakefield in Friday's wrestlebacks.

Edelman - who joined Chris Weise (1996, 1997), Nate Weise (1998) and Nathan Rausch (2000, 2002 and 2003) as the only Nevis wrestlers to qualify for state - ended the season with a 29-8 record. Edelman became the first Nevis wrestler to earn an all-state academic award.

Kroells capped a 41-0 season by defeating Totino Grace senior Anthony Gullickson 1-0 in the championship match. Gullickson, who was the No. 2 seed, ended the season at 38-3. Montgomery Londsdal senior Mario Arroyo finished third with an injury default win over Stewartville senior Mike Kellner. Arroyo, who was rated No. 8, ended the season at 37-9 while Kellner finished 34-11. Plainview senior Daren Wingert, the No. 4 seed, finished fifth with a 7-0 win over Wakefield. Wingert went 35-3 this season while Wakefield finished 36-8.

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