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Wrestling: United North Central ready to make more history

The Warriors return another strong lineup determined to defend their Section 8A title.

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Marcus Peterson (right) is looking to lead the 2022-23 United North Central wrestling team back to the state Class A tournament and bring home another medal after placing sixth at 285 pounds last season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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The United North Central wrestling team is determined to make more history this season.

Last season, the Warriors qualified for the state Class A tournament as a team and crowned a state champion for the first time in school history. With a talented group returning, UNC has hopes of repeating as section champs and once again having multiple wrestlers place at the state tournament.

The top-seeded Warriors defeated Frazee 44-19 to capture their first section title while losing to Royalton/Upsala 34-33, defeating Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 34-30 in the consolation semifinals and falling to Kimball 41-24 in the fifth-place match in their state debut to cap off a 22-10 season.

Three seniors led that charge. Ethan Hendrickson won the state title at 145 pounds, Eion Ness finished fourth at 160 and Torrey Carlson took fourth at 195.

Hendrickson posted a 52-1 record last season with 18 pins. Hendrickson was a four-time state entrant, placing sixth in 2019 and earning runner-up honors in 2020 and 2021 while graduating with a 172-20 career record and 58 pins. Ness went 46-9 with 24 pins last season for a 157-72 career record and 74 pins. Carlson compiled a 39-14 record with 16 pins for a career record of 81-67 with 44 pins.

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Two other wrestlers – Dylan Rasmussen (who placed fourth at 138 at the section meet and went 10-16 overall) and Spencer Erickson (who posted a 13-18 record) also graduated.

Even with those losses, the Warriors return a solid team, led by five other wrestlers who qualified for state.

Senior Marcus Peterson finished sixth at 285 while eighth grader Conrad Koll (at 106), juniors Zach Hendrickson (at 120) and Aaron Lake (at 126), and senior Hank Tellers (at 152) also qualified for last year’s state tournament after all five posted runner-up showings at the section meet.

Tellers went 38-11 last season with 17 pins, Peterson posted a 29-18 mark with 17 pins, Lake went 26-14 with 16 pins, Zach Hendrickson had a 19-17 record with 12 pins and Koll went 22-10 with 15 pins. Koll will move up to 120 or 126, Hendrickson will wrestle at 132, Lake will return at 126 or 132, Tellers is back at 145 or 152 and Peterson returns at 285.

The Warriors had four other wrestlers place at the section meet. Sophomore Mason Plautz at 170 and senior Shawn Hendrickson at 182 both finished third while senior Wyatt Olson placed fourth at 132 and sophomore Zach Davidson finished sixth at 113. Olson had a 14-22 record with six pins, Shawn Hendrickson had a 17-23 record with eight pins, Davidson went 10-27 with two pins and Plautz posted a 16-16 record with nine pins. Plautz returns at 170, Hendrickson will wrestle at 195, Olson moves up to 138 or 145 and Davidson moves up to 138 or 145.

In addition to the section competitors, sophomore Cooper Hasbargen (20-20 record with seven pins) and freshman Fordyce Johnson (9-7 record with seven pins) also return as letterwinners.

Also back after seeing some varsity time last season are sophomore Riley Livingston (2-2) and eighth graders Levi Olson (4-3) and Eli Roiko (0-2). Livingston will wrestle at 152 and 160, Olson will wrestle at 106 and 113, and Roiko will wrestle at 170 and 182.

Other wrestlers who will fill in are senior Toby Isola (160, 170), eighth grader Rhett Anderson (113, 120), and seventh graders Carter Ahrendt (106) and Cooper Rife (106, 113).

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The Warriors begin the season rated No. 7 in the state Class A poll while Tellers (No. 5 at 170) and Peterson (No. 3 at 285) are rated as individuals.

“We have great numbers this year and a great culture built around working hard to get better, so I think our team will have another great year, said UNC head coach Jacob Oyster. “We should be in the mix for top in the section and conference. The key will be staying healthy and keeping athletes focused on the controllables (effort and hard work) and I think we will be the best team come postseason.”

REMAINING SCHEDULE

Dec. 16-17 – at Pequot Lakes Jackhammer Invitational. Dec. 20 – vs. Staples-Motley, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis at Walker, 5 p.m.

Jan. 3 – vs. Thief River Falls, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus at Sebeka, 5 p.m. Jan. 13-14 – at Bemidji Rick Lee Dual Tournament. Jan. 21 – at Thief River Falls Tournament.Jan. 24 – vs. Crookston, Frazee at Sebeka, 5 p.m. Jan. 26 – vs. Deer River, Fosston/Bagley at Menahga, 5 p.m.

Feb. 7 – vs. Mahonmen/Waubun, Fertile-Beltrami and United Clay Becker at Waubun, 5 p.m.

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