Clark qualifies for state AA wrestling tournament
Ashton Clark continued on his mission of becoming a state champion with an undefeated record.
The Park Rapids junior took another major step to completing that quest by capturing the 113-pound title at Saturday's Section 8AA wrestling tournament at Hawley. Clark, the No. 1 seed and the No. 3-rated wrestler in the latest state Class AA poll, pinned Nathan Sperr of United Clay Becker in 2:35 during Friday's quarterfinals and posted a 6-0 minor decision over Brandon Funk of Pierz in Friday's semifinals. Clark earned a return trip to state as a first-period takedown, an escape and takedown in the second period, and a takedown in the third period led to a 7-2 minor decision over Detroit Lakes' Brody Ullyott in Saturday's championship match.
Clark will carry a 35-0 record into the state Class AA tournament, which begins Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Clark, who was the state runner-up at 106 at last year's state Class A tournament, opens against Scott West's Colton Bahr.
Park Rapids had five other wrestlers advance to the section semifinals.
Cody Dravis faced three state-ranked wrestlers in placing third at 170. Dravis, who was rated No. 2 in the latest state poll, pinned United Clay Becker's Landon Bergron in 23 seconds in the quarterfinals and posted a 9-6 minor decision over Jalen Jansen of Pierz in the semifinals. Jansen was rated No. 8 in the state.
In Saturday's championship match, Perham's Dawson Kellogg lived up to his No. 1 ranking as a takedown and nearfall in the first period sparked a 6-1 minor decision. Dravis faced a true-second match against Detroit Lakes' Isaiah Thompson, who was rated No. 6 in the state. Thompson denied Dravis a return trip to state as a takedown in the first period, a takedown and nearfall in the second period, and a reversal and takedown in the third period led to an 11-4 minor decision.
The senior trio of Landen Burlingame, Zach Hocking and Dwayne Johnson all lost their semifinal matches in falling short of their quests for their first state trips.
Johnson used an escape in overtime for a 2-1 decision over Sam Sjogren of Sauk Centre-Melrose in the third-place match at 285 while Burlingame (at 145) and Hocking (at 220) both finished fourth.
Eli Bessman placed fifth at 152 while Lucas Kritzeck at 106, Kobe Burton at 126, Joe Klein at 138 and Kian Scott at 195 also wrestled for the Panthers at the section tournament.
Last season, the Panthers competed at the Section 8A tournament and sent six wrestlers to the state Class A tournament.
Lucas Kritzeck (106): won minor decision over Chais Rudolph, Fergus Falls, 7-2; pinned by Owen Werner, Perham, :47; pinned Xavier Strehlow, United Clay Becker, 3:29; pinned by Trevor Radunz, Pierz, 1:23.
Ashton Clark (113): bye; pinned Nathan Sperr, United Clay Becker, 2:35; won minor decision over Brandon Funk, Pierz, 6-0; won minor decision over Brody Ullyott, Detroit Lakes, 7-2 (1st).
Kobe Burton (126): lost major decision to Gareth Covington, Perham, 14-3; pinned by Blaine Henderson, Detroit Lakes, 2:21.
Joe Klein (138): pinned Andrew Wetli, United Clay Becker, 1:58; pinned by Jack Fudge, Perham, :46; pinned by Kaden Hartwell, Fergus Falls, 2:28.
Landen Burlingame (145): bye; won minor decision over Cole Johnson, Thief River Falls, 7-6; lost major decision to Luke Glasener, Sauk Centre/Melrose, won minor decision over Carter Schmidt, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felbon, 3-1; pinned by Dylan Fudge, Perham, :59 (4th).
Eli Bessman (152): bye; pinned by Matthew Bush, Perham, 3:32; won minor decision over Jacob Beaudine-Schlick, United Clay Becker, 5-0; pinned by Logan Tucker, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, :56; won major decision over Cole Fronning, Fergus Falls, 15-3 (5th).
Cody Dravis (170): bye; pinned Landon Bergron, United Clay Becker, :23; won minor decision over Jalen Jansen, Pierz, 9-6; lost minor decision to Dawson Kellogg, Perham, 6-1; lost minor decision to Isaiah Thompson, Detroit Lakes, 11-4 (3rd).
Jack Hensel (182): bye; won minor decision over Brayan Raya, Sauk Centre/Melrose, 6-1; pinned by Zach Peterson, Perham, 1:31; won minor decisionover Josh Pettit, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 9-6; pinned by Noah Olds, Detroit Lakes, 5:18 (4th).
Kian Scott (195): bye; pinned by Brenan Peralta, Thief River Falls, 1:48; lost minor decision to Danny Thomas, Sauk Centre-Melrose, 2-1 (ot).
Zach Hocking (220): bye; won minor decision over Charles Barnett, Detroit Lakes, 6-3; pinned by John Urseth, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 1:35; won by injury default over Roberto Raya, Sauk Centre/Melrose; lost minor decision to Carson Huls, Pierz, 7-3 (4th).
Dwayne Johnson (285): bye; won minor decision over Sam Sjogren, Sauk Centre-Melrose, 5-3; lost minor decision to Connor Swanson, Thief River Falls, 7-0; pinned Jacob Gotvald, Pierz, 1:42; won minor decision over Sjogren 2-1 (ot) (3rd).