Seven Bucs, 1 Rebel, also qualify
Randy Wirtjes has seen a lot of unusual things in his 31 years of coaching wrestling in Blue Earth. But during the Section 2A Individual Tournament last Thursday and Friday, Feb. 20 and 21, he got to witness something he had never seen before.
“We had every one of our individual wrestlers place,” Wirtjes said. “I cannot recall that every happening before.”
Wirtjes, who is in his 19th year as the Buccaneers head coach, gave praise to the wrestlers.
“They are a good bunch of kids and they are out there cheering on their teammates,” Wirtjes remarked. “They are real good about supporting each other.”
Seven BEA wrestlers qualified for the Class A State Individual Tournament held Feb. 28 and 29, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Three wrestlers took the top spot on the podium.
Jaxen Klinkner, Koby Nagel and Max Ehrich each claimed first place in their weight brackets.
Four other BEA wrestlers also qualified for State after finishing in second place in their respective weight classes. They are Ty Peterson at 113 pounds, Davis Sunken at 120, Caleb Beeler at 132 and Luke Mertens at a 195.
Peterson and Beeler had to fight off true-second challenges to secure their trip to St. Paul.
One United South Central wrestler, Bryce Sonnek, stood at the top of the awards podium after winning the 113-pound championship.
Klinkner scored a takedown in the opening frame of the 138-pound championship against Alec Johnson of Kenyon-Wanamingo and added a reversal in the second period to take a 4-0 lead heading into the final two minutes.
Johnson scored a takedown but Klinkner held on for the 5-3 win and his second trip to the State Tournament.
Nagel made it two in a row for the Bucs by taking a 5-1 first period lead courtesy of a takedown and a three-point near-fall over Medford’s No. 10-ranked Tate Hermes at 145 pounds.
The score remained the same heading into the final period. Nagel added two more reversals while Hermes managed one to give Nagel the 9-3 victory.Having lost three true-second matches in the past, Ehrich was not to be denied in his 160-pound championship match.
Ehrich jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the first period before claiming the title with a 12-5 decision.
Peterson lost a close 5-3 decision to Sonnek in the 113-pound finals. The junior regrouped and scored a 7-2 decision over Alex Helgeson of Medford in the true-second match to qualify for his first individual state meet.
Beeler also earned his trip to St. Paul after winning a true-second match.
Charley Elwood, ranked No. 2, defeated Beeler in the 132-pound finals. Beeler then came back to post a 10- 1 decision over Clay Stenzel of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva to earn his first-ever state bid
The No. 7-ranked Sunken dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 5-ranked Boden Simon of Maple River in the finals at 120 pounds.
He did not have to wrestle a true-second match because the winner of the third place match, NRHEG’s Nikola Petsinger, had been beaten by Sunken 13-0 in the semifinals.
Mertens also lost in the finals. The junior was defeated by No. 3-ranked Colton Krell of Westfield by a technical fall at the 4:13 mark of the 195-pound match.
However, Mertens had beaten the third place winner, USC’s Jacob Billings, 5-1 in the semifinals thus negating the need for a true-second match.
Jacob Beeler at 126 pounds, Nick Frank at 182 and Nick Lawrence at 220 each finished the tournament in third place.
Caleb Langager and Adam Schavey took fifth place in the 106 and 152-pound weight classes respectively. Kean Hicks at 170 pounds and 285 pounder Ian Cornelio each finished in sixth place.