Two still vying for medal
Three of seven area wrestlers won their opening round match Wednesday at the individual Class A State Tournament held March 3-6 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
By Friday, only two had hopes of winning a medal for the top sixth finishers.
At 119 pounds, Blue Earth Area Jake Wirtjes (31-9) advanced to the quarterfinals pinning Caleb Ling of Sibley East in 1:32 of the first period.
The Buc junior fell behind 2-0, but tied the score with a reversal with 54 seconds left in the opening period before getting the fall.
He then lost to Travis Borchert (43-0) of Browerville/Eagle Valley by way of a fall in 2:13.
The loss put Wirtjes in the wrestlebacks, where he pinned Matt Plumhoff (29-10) of Benson in 51 seconds.
On Friday, Wirtjes faced Carson Henry (29-8) of St. Charles in the quarterfinals.
Eighth-grader Dylan Herman (32-4) of United South Central earned a 12-3 major decision over Cody Hanson (20-16) of St. James at 103 pounds in his first match.
Herman never trailed in the match, scoring a takedown to go ahead 2-0 with 1:06 left in the first period. By the end of the second period, he had built the lead to 10-3.
Herman entered the match ranked No. 10 in Class A.
In the quarterfinals, Herman dropped a 5-4 decision to senior Matt Hickerson (38-0) of Ogilvie. He then lost 5-1 to Evan Knudson (27-7) of Yellow Medicine East in the wrestlebacks and was eliminated from the tournament.
Alex Dreyer (25-4) of USC registered a 6-2 open-round decision over Sahmad Nakumbe (24-7) of St. Paul Humboldt.
Dreyer, who is ranked No. 3 at 215 pounds, held a 5-0 advantage after two periods.
With 34 seconds left in the match, Nakumbe made the score 5-2 with a reversal. But, Dreyer added to his lead and sealed a victory with a one-point escape.
Dreyer’s 7-2 decision loss to Brandon Manderschied (32-2) of Minnewaska Area put him in the consolation round.
He won his first match against Jarrod Norton (30-13) of New York Mills, a 13-1 major decision.
Dreyer’s next opponent was Cole Christianson (27-9) of Badger/Greenbush-Middle River.
In other first-round action, BEA’s Carter Hanson (152), Daniel Eckhardt (171), Cody Eckhardt (189) and USC’s Dylan Thisius (160) lost and had to wait until Thursday night to see if they were knocked out of the tournament.
Unfortunately, Hanson and the Eckhardts were eliminated when the wrestlers they lost to in the opening round were defeated in their second match.
No. 4-ranked Daniel Eckhardt (33-6) suffered a tough 2-1 triple overtime loss to No. 9 rated Jared Nash (33-6) of Park Rapids Area.
The score was knotted at 1-1 after six minutes of wrestling. No one was able to score in the first one-minute overtime period, and Eckhardt was unable to escape from the down position during the 30-second second period.
Nash scored the winning point in the third overtime with an escape with 22 seconds remaining in the 30-second period.
No. 8-ranked Cody Eckhardt (34-6) dropped a 9-0 major decision to No. 3-ranked Kody Lafreniere-Sorenson (36-5) of Frazee.
Hanson (32-9) lost 10-3 to Sam Lindgren (25-4) of Sibley East, who was rated No. 4 at 145 pounds at the ned of the regular season.
Thisius (32-60, who was rated No. 9, took a 2-0 lead just 20 seconds into his match with Travis Winter (35-2) of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
But, Winter regained his composure and went on to win, 10-4.
During the season, Winter was ranked second at 152 pounds, but bumped up a weight class and qualified for State at 160.
Because Winter advanced in the semifinals, that put Thisius in the wrestlebacks.
However, his State tournament ended when he lost 6-3 to Jarid Groth (33-10) of Kenyon Wanamingo.
Section 2A Meet
Blue Earth Area had one champion and three second-place finishers at the Section 2A Meet held Feb. 27 in Blue Earth, while United South Central had one champion and two runners-up.
Buc senior Daniel Eckhardt won the 171-pound title and improved his record to 33-5.
Junior Jake Wirtjes (30-9) earned a silver medal at 119-pounds. He lost 1-0 in the title match to unbeaten Chase Levos (37-0) of St. Clair/Loyola.
At 152, freshman Carter Hanson won a silver medal and will take a 32-9 record to the State Meet.
Senior 189-pounder Cody Eckhardt (34-6) had a tough time earning a State berth.
Eckhardt needed to win a “true second” match to qualify for State after losing 7-4 in the finals. He needed only 1:24 to pin Seth Petranek of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.
Two other BEA wrestlers had a shot for State.