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Wrestling: United North Central makes history

The Warriors defeat Frazee for the Section 8A title to earn the program's first trip to state.

UNCWarriors.JPG
Members of the United North Central wrestling team - along with the coaching staff, managers and cheerleaders - posed with the championship trophy after defeating Frazee 44-19 for the Section 8A title at Fertile-Beltrami High School on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.
Contributed / Beth Rasmussen

FERTILE – Members of the United North Central wrestling team were determined to make history during the Section 8A tournament at Fertile-Beltrami High School on Saturday, Feb. 19.

The Warriors were determined to win the Section 8A title last season, but that goal was denied with a 38-27 loss to Badger-Greenbush-Middle River in the semifinals.

With the majority of that team returning, the goal entering this season was to capture that elusive section title.

UNC fulfilled that mission in dominating fashion by following a 55-19 victory over Fosston/Bagley in the semifinals with a 44-19 win over Frazee in the championship match to secure the program’s first trip to the state Class A tournament.

Winning the section has been a goal for a long time now, so it means a lot to this team to finally get it done.
UNC head coach Jacob Oyster

“Last season I know we were the best team if we could have stayed healthy, but we were sick and tired of making excuses for not getting there,” said UNC head coach Jacob Oyster. “Winning the section has been a goal for a long time now, so it means a lot to this team to finally get it done. They are excited to go compete down at the Xcel.”

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The Warriors entered the section tournament with plenty of confidence after going undefeated against the top section teams during the regular season. UNC defeated Fosston/Bagley (59-21), Frazee (51-12), Crookston (66-16) and BGMR (42-33) in section matches. The Warriors also wrestled against several of the top teams in the state in preparing for the postseason. Among the state-ranked teams the Warriors put on their schedule were Bemidji (No. 7 in Class AAA), Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus (No. 4 in Class AA), Thief River Falls (No. 9 in Class AA), Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville (No. 6 in Class A) and West Central Area (No. 7 in Class A).

“This team is great and has plenty of elite individuals on it, so it was important to find competition that would push everyone and the team. Knowing we have faced better competition than we would see at sections and the state tournaments helped us prepare for them. Every time we had a good win we didn't have to wait long to be reminded we still had work to do and things to get better at,” said Oyster. “Knowing we had not only beat the other three teams in the (section) semifinals, but beat them all by nearly 40 points or more was a huge confidence booster. The wrestlers were excited but relaxed going into the event; not getting too jacked up before it was necessary. The focus was on simply putting our best effort on the mat for 6 minutes, 14 times a match and not giving up bonus points.”

Those wins against the section opponents earned UNC the No. 1 seed. The Warriors coasted to the title match by opening with a 64-9 win over No. 8 Fertile-Beltrami in the quarterfinals and taking control late to eliminate No. 5 Fosston/Bagley in the semifinals.

Against Fosston/Bagley, Conrad Koll’s pin in 3:51 at 106 pounds, Zach Hendrickson’s pin in 18 seconds at 120 and Wyatt Olson’s pin in 4:47 at 132 gave the Warriors an 18-9 lead. Ethan Hendrickson’s forfeit win at 145, Hank Tellers’ 17-2 technical fall win at 152, Eion Ness’ pin in 1:11 at 160, Mason Plautz’s 11-5 minor decision at 170, Shawn Hendrickson’s 15-0 technical fall win at 182, Cooper Hasbargen’s forfeit win at 195 and Torrey Carlson’s pin in 3:14 at 220 closed out the win. Fosston/Bagley ended the season with an 8-17 record.

No. 2 Frazee edged No. 3 Crookston 35-34 on criteria with the fewest forfeits in the other semifinal match to set up the battle for the state berth. The Warriors again jumped out to an early lead before the upper weights sealed the win and a trip to state.

Koll’s pin in 3:54 at 106, Zach Hendrickson’s pin in 2:32 at 120 and Aaron Lake’s 5-1 minor decision at 126 made it 15-3. Frazee won the next two matches to cut the gap to 15-10, but Teller’s 11-2 major decision at 145 and Ethan Hendrickson’s pin in 1:41 at 152 pushed the lead to 25-10. Ness’ 11-0 major decision at 170, Hasbargen’s 8-2 minor decision at 195, Carlson’s pin in 3:44 at 220 and Marcus Peterson’s pin in 3:36 at 285 closed out the match. Frazee closed the season with an 11-9 record.

“We wrestled great against both schools. We had a couple guys not feeling their best, but everyone came prepared to do their job. Knowing they had done it once already helped,” said Oyster. “For the program, this has been a long time coming. I hope it's something we can continue to build on. I know Kris Koll, Luke Davidson and Austen Rife have our youth program fired up and wanting to do everything this year's team has accomplished, so I think it was important for everyone involved to see this first title finally manifest.”

Even though winning the Section 8A title was the main goal for the team this season, the Warriors still have some business to finish at the state tournament. UNC will carry a 21-8 record and the state’s No. 10 ranking to the Class A tournament, which will begin on March 3 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Also qualifying for state are No. 1 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, No. 2 Jackson County Central, No. 3 Royalton, No. 4 Kimball, No. 7 West Central Area, No. 9 Dover-Eyota and No. 18 Maple River.

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“We are happy to be in the state tournament, but not content,” said Oyster. “We definitely don't want to come home without some hardware and we know we are capable of that.”

United North Central 55, Fosston/Bagley 19

106: Conrad Koll, UNC, pinned Ian Phrakonkham 3:51. 113: Kadin Harwood, FB, pinned Fordyce Johnson 1:54. 120: Zach Hendrickson, UNC, pinned Domanick Thompson :18. 126: Aiden Wolfe, FB, minor decision over Aaron Lake 3-0. 132: Wyatt Olson, UNC, pinned Jakob Rudie 4:47. 138: Zach Thompson, FB, major decision over Dylan Rasmussen 13-0. 145: Ethan Hendrickson, UNC, won by forfeit. 152: Hank Tellers, UNC, technical fall over Tegan Larson 17-2. 160: Eion Ness, UNC, pinned Luke Sannes 1:11. 170: Mason Plautz, UNC, minor decision over Kaden Sanford 11-5. 182: Shawn Hendrickson, UNC, technical fall over Jonathan Rose 15-0. 195: Cooper Hasbargen, UNC, won by forfeit. 220: Torrey Carlson, UNC, pinned Jessie Beckman 3:14. 285: Warren Nelson, FB, pinned Marcus Peterson 1:39.

United North Central 44, Frazee 19

106: Conrad Koll, UNC, pinned Cash Osterman 3:54. 113: Cade Nagel, F, minor decision over Fordyce Johnson 7-2. 120: Zach Hendrickson, UNC, pinned Sebastian Sonnenberg 2:32. 126: Aaron Lake, UNC, minor decision over Brady Borah 5-1. 132: Bailey Peichel, F, minor decision over Wyatt Olson 6-1. 138: Tyler Moe, F, major decision over Dylan Rasmussen 12-4. 145: Hank Tellers, UNC, major decision over Josh Mellema 11-2. 152: Ethan Hendrickson, UNC, pinned Brady Crabtree 1:41. 160: Jake Nagel, F, pinned Eli Roiko 3:29. 170: Eion Ness, UNC, major decision over Max Rue 11-0. 182: Daniel Graham, F, minor decision over Shawn Hendrickson 7-6. 195: Cooper Hasbargen, UNC, minor decision over Tanner Moe 8-2. 220: Torrey Carlson, UNC, pinned Byron Kropuenske 3:44. 285: Marcus Peterson, UNC, pinned Xander Kohler 3:36.

UNC rolls past Fertile-Beltrami in opener

MENAHGA – The Warriors dominated Fertile-Beltrami in the quarterfinals of the Section 8A wrestling tournament on Feb. 15.

The Warriors won 11 of the first 12 matches in building a 58-3 lead in coasting to a 64-9 victory.

Koll at 106, Fordyce Johnson at 113, Lake at 126, Tellers at 145 and Ness at 160 recorded pins while Olson at 132, Mason Plautz at 160 and Shawn Hendrickson at 170 received forfeits. Dylan Rasmussen added a 7-6 minor decision at 138, Ethan Hendrickson posted an 18-4 major decision at 152 and Carlson had a 6-2 minor decision at 195. Peterson’s pin at 285 capped off the win.

Fertile-Beltrami ended the season at 2-10.

In the other quarterfinals, Frazee defeated No. 7 Barnesville 57-15, Crookston eliminated No. 6 Mahnomen/Waubun 54-30 and Fosston/Bagley defeated No. 4 Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 51-27.

United North Central 64, Fertile-Beltrami 9

106: Conrad Koll, UNC, pinned Drew Rasch 3:58. 113: Fordyce Johnson, UNC, pinned Julian Ystenes 2:47. 120: Tyler Henderson, FB, minor decision over Zach Hendrickson 3-2. 126: Aaron Lake, UNC, pinned Gage Vold-Vedbradten :57. 132: Wyatt Olson, UNC, won by forfeit. 138: Dylan Rasmussen, UNC, minor decision over Wesley Ramberg 7-6. 145: Hank Tellers, UNC, pinned Jack Erickson 3:34. 152: Ethan Hendrickson, UNC, major decision over Seth Lavalier 18-4. 160: Eion Ness, UNC, pinned Tyler Kieckbush 1:48. 170: Mason Plautz, UNC, won by forfeit. 182: Shawn Hendrickson, UNC, won by forfeit. 195: Torrey Carlson, UNC, minor decision Tyler Stuhaug 6-2. 220: Micah Herbel, FB, pinned Cooper Hasbargen 5:39. 285: Marcus Peterson, UNC, pinned James Flynn 3:45.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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