State: Wirtjes, Dylla take 2nd; Franta 4th
Two Blue Earth Area wrestlers and one from United South Central earned medals at the Class A individual portion of the State Meet held March 3-5 in St. Paul.
BEA’s Jake Wirtjes (35-6) took second place at 125 pounds, while Joe Franta (39-2) claimed fourth place at 152.
USC’s Dustin Dylla (36-2) took home a silver medal at 140 pounds.
For Wirtjes, this year was an improvement over last year’s sixth-place finish at 119 pounds.
In the finals, the Buc senior dropped a heartbreaking 4-2 overtime decision to No. 5-ranked Oakley McLain (41-5) of Kenyon-Wanamingo.
Wirtjes grabbed a 2-0 lead on a takedown with 48 seconds left in the opening period.
McLain tied the score with a takedown of his own, just 10 seconds into the second period.
With the match knotted at 2-2 in the final period, Wirtjes wrestled from the top position and neither wrestler could score, forcing a one-minute overtime period.
With 28 seconds left on the clock, McLain scored the winning takedown.
Wirtjes cruised into the finals with a 2:41 fall in his first-round match against Michael Churchill of Southland and then a 7-2 decision over Chris Pfarr of Le Sueur-Henderson.
In the semi-finals, the No. 6-ranked Wirtjes faced No. 3-rated Gus McCarthy of Border West.
Wirtjes jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a takedown 38 seconds into the match.
He built his lead to 6-2 after two periods and 9-2 before pinning McCarthy with 51 seconds left in the final period.
Dylla’s road to the championship was a little harder, facing two ranked wrestlers.
In the opening round, the No. 6-rated Dylla edged No. 9 Garrett Hoffner of Mahnomen-Waubun, 4-3, and then downed No. 4 Jordon Rothers of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 7-2.
Dylla won a close 3-2 decision in the semis over Tyler Kuechle of Kimball Area to have a shot at the title.
In the finals, the Rebel senior lost 9-2 to Clint Poster of Pierz, who entered the match undefeated at 41-0 and ranked No. 1.
Franta’s technical fall in 5:39 over Maverick Whitcomb of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and decisioning No. 10 Zach Olson of Mille Lacs 11-5 put him one step closer to the finals.
However, No. 2-ranked Brett Pfarr (41-0) of Le Sueur-Henderson earned a 9-1 major decision, putting the No. 6-ranked Franta in the wrestlebacks.
A 7-3 decision over No. 5-rated Jake Krogstad of Dover-Eyota advanced Franta into the third-place match against Anthony Caputo of Crookston.
All year Caputo was ranked No. 1, but he was thrown into the wrestlebacks when he lost 6-5 to Pfarr.
Franta took a 2-0 lead, however, those would be the only points he would score as Caputo claimed an 11-2 major decision for the bronze medal.
BEA’s two other entries were eliminated early in the tournament.
At 215 pounds, Josh Johnson won his first match, defeating No. 6-rated Colby Salonek of River Valley, 4-2.
The Buc junior then dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 7-ranked Matt Marketon of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. He was knocked out of competition when he lost 7-0 in the wrestlebacks to Andrew Brooks of BOLD.
Carter Hanson lost 3-2 in the opening round at 160 pounds to No. 9-rated TeJay Wojchowski of Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.
Hanson was eliminated when Wojchowski lost his next match.
Three other USC wrestlers also had a short tournament.
The Rebels’ 112-pounder Dylan Herman defeated Minneota’s Nicholas Esping 10-4 in his opening match before losing 1-0 to No. 3-ranked Shane Novak of New York Mills, who ended up taking second place.
In the loser’s bracket, the No. 4-ranked Herman pinned No. 9-rated Mick Roemer of Wabasha-Kellogg/Alma in 1:47, but was eliminated with a 6-1 loss to No. 6 Trevor Stilke of Frazee.
At 189, Brady Thisius was pinned in his first match by No. 5 Adam Josephson of Minneota in 4:42.
Thisius was eliminated from the tournament when Josephson lost 8-7 in his next match.
Heavyweight Tony Willette also wrestled once and was out.
Willette lost to unranked Teddy DuFrane of Sibley East 5-3 and was knocked out of competition when DuFrane was pinned in the quarterfinals.