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Panthers qualify three for state wrestling tournament

Forrest Drury (top) earned his first trip to the state wrestling tournament by winning the Section 8AA title at 170 pounds Saturday at Fergus Falls.

Park Rapids entered the Section 8AA wrestling tournament at Fergus Falls Friday with no one ranked in the state poll.

The Panthers left the Section 8AA tournament Saturday with three wrestlers advancing to the state Class AA tournament.

Freshman Ben Baumgartner and senior Forrest Drury qualified for state as section champs while senior Brandon Ritter advanced to state as a section runner-up. Senior Zachary Steffen just missed a state berth after losing in a true-second match.

Baumgartner entered as the No. 3 seed at 120 pounds and opened by pinning East Grand Forks' Stanley Peltier in 1:00, defeating Perham's Chase Curtis 10-3 and winning by injury default over No. 2-seeded Tyler Giza of Fergus Falls to reach the championship match. Baumgartner defeated top-seeded Blake Miller of Staples-Motley 7-5 in overtime to claim the section title and advance to state for the first time.

Drury lived up to his top seed by winning the section title at 170. Drury received a first-round bye before reaching the finals by pinning EGF's Eli Deziel in 1:55 and defeating Thief River Falls' Logan Alten 10-4. Drury also earned his first trip to state with a 6-0 decision over No. 3-seeded Blake Olson of Fosston/Bagley in the title match.

Ritter earned a return trip to state by finishing as the section runner-up at 220. Ritter, the No. 2 seed, received two byes before advancing to the title match with a 10-8 minor decision over No. 3 Jon Erickson of TRF. Top-seeded Cody Nylander of Perham defeated Ritter 6-3 in the championship match.

Steffen had to battle through the losers' bracket to get a shot at a state berth. Steffen, the No. 3 seed, opened with a bye and a 15-0 technical fall win over Perham's Patrick Glynn before being pinned by No. 2 Nathanael Holecek of TRF in 3:10 the semifinals. In the wrestlebacks, Steffen defeated Detroit Lakes' Jarett Nosal 7-1 and Fosston/Bagley's Wyatt Nordskog 2-1 in the third-place match before having his state bid denied with an 8-3 loss to top-seeded Darian Rubner of Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus in the true-second match.

Also placing in the top-six for the Panthers were Nolan Booge (fifth at 106), Justin Dravis (sixth at 138), Garrick Scudder (fifth at 145) and John Kyllonen (fifth at 182).

The other section competitors for the Panthers were Jared Sunram at 113, Logan Johnson at 126, Caleb Abraham at 160, Jeff Dickinson at 195 and Trai Schmidt at 285.

The three Park Rapids qualifiers will open the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center. Baumgartner, who carries a 37-4 record to state, faces St. Paul Johnson senior Ger Lor (33-8) in his first-round match. Drury puts his 35-6 record on the line against Foley senior Nick Lefebvre (35-5) in his first-round match. Ritter enters state with a 25-2 record and faces Chisago Lakes' Jonah Westbury (37-8) in the first round. The state tournament concludes Saturday.

Championship matches

106: Gabe Foltz, Detroit Lakes, major decision over Anthony Philipson, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 15-2. True second: Philipson pinned Ben Schindler, Fergus Falls, 1:25.

113: Abbot Aho, Fergus Falls, technical fall over Luke Payne, Detroit Lakes, 22-7.

120: Ben Baumgartner, Park Rapids, minor decision over Blake Miller, Staples-Motley, 7-5 (ot). True second: Miller minor decision over Ben Marx, Fosston/Bagley, 8-1.

126: Cody Weiland, Crookston, minor decision over Brandon Lueders, Perham, 6-4 (ot).

132: Zach Baker, Detroit Lakes, minor decision over Austin Hjelle, Thief River Falls, 15-8.

138: Drey Loge, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, minor decision over Parker Jackson, Detroit Lakes, 3-0. True second: Luke Sailer, Perham, minor decision over Jackson 4-0.

145: Wyatt Wixo, United Clay Becker, minor decision over Ty Haverland, Perham, 8-4.

152: Nathanael Holecek, Thief River Falls, minor decision over Darian Rubner, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 7-4. True second: Rubner minor decision over Zachary Steffen, Park Rapids, 8-3.

160: Holden Nelson, Thief River Falls, minor decision over Peter Harrison, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 10-5. True second: Harrison minor decision over Jordan Heldman, Staples-Motley, 7-0.

170: Forrest Drury, Park Rapids, minor decision over Blake Olson, Fosston/Bagley, 6-0.

182: Craig Williams, Thief River Falls, pinned Blake Petrich, Staples-Motley, 4:41. True second: Petrich major decision over Gus Makovsky, Fergus Falls, 16-2.

195: Josh Edlund, Crookston, minor decision over Mat Pepper, United Clay Becker, 6-1. True second: Pepper injury default over Ben Kucera, Thief River Falls.

220: Cody Nylander, Perham, minor decision over Brandon Ritter, Park Rapids, 6-3.

285: Jesse Hein, Perham, pinned David DeYonge, Staples-Motley, 1:14.

Park Rapids results

Nolan Booge (106): bye; won minor decision over Stephen Holecek, Thief River Falls, 3-1; lost technical fall to Gabe Foltz, Detroit Lakes, 21-6; lost major decision to Ben Schindler, Fergus Falls, 8-0; pinned Holecek 1:58 (5th).

Jared Sunram (113): pinned by Triston Rubner, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 3:13; pinned by Eddie Bushaw, East Grand Forks, 3:54.

Ben Baumgartner (120): pinned Stanley Peltier, East Grand Forks, 1:00; won minor decision over Chase Curtis, Perham, 10-3; won by injury default over Tyler Giza, Fergus Falls; won minor decision over Blake Miller, Staples-Motley, 7-5 in ot (1st).

Logan Johnson (126): bye; pinned by Brandon Lueders, Perham, 1:41; pinned by Coy Thorson, Fergus Falls, 3:48.

Justin Dravis (138): bye; lost minor decision to Dane Ringquist, Fergus Falls, 4-1; pinned Jonah Lange, United Clay Becker, 1:27; pinned by Luke Sailer, Perham, 1:51; lost minor decision to Tyler Pogreba, Staples-Motley, 4-3 (6th).

Garrick Scudder (145): bye; lost major decision to Brandon Dahring, Detroit Lakes, 13-1; pinned Darius Sikrski, Roseau, 2:31; pinned by Wyatt Hanson, Crookston, 4:34; pinned Dahring 3:51 (5th).

Zachary Steffen (152): bye; won 15-0 technical fall over Patrick Glynn, Perham, 4:23; pinned by Nathanael Holecek, Thief River Falls, 3:10; won minor decision over Jarett Nosal, Detroit Lakes, 7-1; won minor decision over Wyatt Nordskog, Fosston/Bagley, 2-1; lost minor decision to Darian Rubner, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 8-3 (3rd).

Caleb Abraham (160): bye; pinned by Peter Harrison, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 1:00. won minor decision over Jacob Monson, Perham, 11-6; pinned by Trevor Pederson, Roseau, 2:09.

Forrest Drury (170): bye; pinned Eli Deziel, East Grand Forks, 1:55; won minor decision over Logan Alten, Thief River Falls, 10-4; won minor decision over Blake Olson, Fosston/Bagley, 6-0 (1st).

John Kyllonen (182): bye; pinned by Gus Makovsky, Fergus Falls, 2:59; pinned Grant Moe, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 1:40; lost minor decision to Gio Garcia, Perham, 7-5 (ot); pinned Jason Griego, Detroit Lakes, 2:35 (5th).

Jeff Dickinson (195): pinned by Hayden Zenner, Fergus Falls, :26; pinned Devin Hagen, Fosston/Bagley, :24.

Brandon Ritter (220): bye; bye; won minor decision over Jon Erickson, Thief River Falls, 10-8; lost minor decision to Cody Nylander, Perham, 6-3 (2nd).

Trai Schmidt (285): bye; pinned by Jesse Hein, Perham, :32; lost minor decision to James Huwe, Detroit Lakes, 2-0.