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Ehrich finishes 4th at State

By Staff | Mar 8, 2020

Max Ehrich lifts his opponent before taking him to the mat in one of his early-round matches during the individual competition at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. Ehrich won his first two matches before losing to the eventual State champion, Owen Bjerga. Ehrich battled back to take fourth place at 160 pounds.

Blue Earth Area’s Max Ehrich was the lone Buccaneer wrestler to return home with an individual medal following the completion of the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament, which took place on Feb. 28 and 29, at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Bucs had sent seven wrestlers into the individual competition.

Ehrich lost a 15-13 decision in the closing seconds of the third place match to Sawyer Schwartz of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove to finish in fourth place.

The 160 pounder won his opening match against Evan Young of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa to advance to the quarterfinals. Ehrich was leading 7-3 when Young defaulted because of an injury.

In his quarterfinal match, the sophomore grappler quickly gained the upper hand on his way to a 16-2 major decision over Mason Schroeder of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (BHVP) which sent Ehrich to Saturday’s semifinal match against No. 1-ranked Owen Bjerga.

Bjerga, from Staples Motley, was able to get Ehrich on his back for a pin with two seconds left in the opening period. Bjerga would go on to win the 160-pound championship in Class A.

Buccaneer wrestler Max Ehrich took it to the ‘max’ at the State Individual Wrestling Tournament and took home the fourth place trophy. He was the only Buccaneer out of the seven who went to state to place in the top six. More stories and photos are inside of this week’s edition of the Register.

The loss sent Ehrich to the wrestleback semifinals where he won a 6-1 decision over Medford’s Josiah Hedensten.

The match for third place against Schwartz was tied at the end of the first period at six points each. The second period ended with Ehrich on top 11-7.

Schwartz started the last period in the down position and scored a reversal and put Ehrich on his back for three near-fall points to take a 12-11 lead. Ehrich scored a reversal to go back up by one but Schwartz got an escape to tie the score at 13 with 34 seconds remaining.

The two continued to go at it and Ehrich hurt his ankle as the wrestlers went out of bounds.

Ehrich needed some injury time before he was able to wrestle again. When the action resumed on the mat, Schwartz was able to get a takedown with four seconds remaining to claim the 15-13 victory.

“Max is a competitor,” BEA head coach Randy Wirtjes said. “He wrestles hard to the end.”

Ty Peterson was the only other Buc wrestler to wrestle on Saturday.

The 113-pound junior opened the competition on Friday with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over No. 3-ranked Eric Carrasco of Minneota.

Peterson found himself trailing 7-6 with time running out. He scored a reversal with nine seconds remaining and also was credited with a two-point near fall to claim a 10-7 victory.

The junior then came out on the wrong end of a 9-4 decision to No. 6-ranked Ethan Hendrickson of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and was sent to the wrestlebacks.

Peterson stayed alive in the tournament with a 14-5 major decision over Jayce Ross of Deer River.

His next match was in the wrestleback quarterfinals on Saturday morning against No. 8-ranked Logan Butzon of Jackson County Central.

Butzon won a 6-4 decision and Peterson was eliminated from the tourney.

The other five Buccaneer wrestlers were done after Friday night.

Jaxen Klinkner and Koby Nagel each won their opening contests on Friday night but then lost two consecutive matches to end their tournament runs.

Klinkner defeated Jason Koehn of BHVP by a 6-1 decision at 138 pounds but then lost to Nolan Rommel of Wabasha-Kellog 5-4. Klinkner then dropped a 6-2 decision to Lincoln Carpenter of Sibley East to be forced out of the tournament.

Nagel earned a 17-0 technical fall win over Gavin Mathies of Eden Valley Watkins but then lost an 8-2 decision to eventual champion Payton Handevidt of Jackson County Central. Nagel’s tournament came to an end when he lost 16-2 to Rece Voigt of Grand Meadow-Leroy Ostrander-Southland.

Davis Sunken lost his first match to the eventual 120-pound champion, Drayden Morton of Sibley East, by a score of 5-2.

When Morton won his next match, Sunken entered the wrestlebacks.

Sunken battled No. 4-ranked Justin Crandall of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. Crandall then earned a sudden victory when he took Sunken down in the first overtime period.

Caleb Beeler at 138 pounds and Luke Mertens at 195 each lost their opening round matches and were eliminated when their first-round opponents were defeated in the second round.

Beeler lost a 7-1 decision to No. 7-ranked Alex Nelson of Kimball Area. Mertens lost an overtime decision 5-3 to Norwood Young America’s Sean Weckman.