Three Bucs qualify for State meet
Ehrich, Frank and Mertens to compete for top spot on podium
Three Blue Earth Area seniors wrestled their way to the elite eight of the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament which was held on Saturday, March 27. Unfortunately, no wrestlers from United South Central were able to advance to the championship round which took place at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
Check out next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register for the results of the State Tournament.
Max Ehrich, Nick Frank and Luke Mertens qualified for the event by finishing in the top-two spots in the Section 2A-3A individual super sectional held on March 20, in Windom.
Due to a change in the format of the individual State Tournament because of COVID-19, only eight wrestlers per bracket were able to advance to wrestle for the title instead of the usual 16 wrestlers per bracket.
Ehrich, who finished fourth in the State last year, is ranked second at 170 pounds but wrestled in the 160-pound weight class. He began his quest to reach the State Tournament with a 16-1 decision over Tanner Drietz of Canby.
Isaac Bullerman of Adrian Area was up next and he fell to Ehrich in a 9-0 major decision.
Ehrich met Matthew Haley of Jackson County Central in the finals and won by a 5-4 decision.
Frank, who is ranked 10th in the State at 195 pounds, also dropped a weight class and competed at 182 pounds.
He won his first match of the day by pinning Christian Kuball of Fulda-Murray County Central in 2:48.
Frank won his semi-final match by a 3-2 decision over William Freking of JCC.
In the finals, Frank lost a 3-2 decision to Tyler Archer of the Westfield Razorbacks to finish in second place.
While Ehrich and Frank dropped down a weight class in their efforts to advance to the State Tournament, Luke Mertens bumped up from 220 pounds, where he wrestled the first half of the season, to compete in the 285-pound weight class.
The unranked Mertens, who began the day with a 26-1 record, won his quarterfinal match by a 7-3 decision over Red Rock Central’s Cory Anderson, who came into the contest with a 26-3 record.
Mertens scored a third period fall over No. 7-ranked Jayden Gamrak of Minneota in the semifinals.
The finals match saw Mertens and Shane Noyes of Canby battle to a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation.
Noyes, who is ranked No. 2 at 220 pounds, and Mertens were near the edge of the mat when Mertens shot in for a takedown and knocked his foe off his feet. In an effort to avoid the takedown Noyes grabbed for whatever he could reach and came up with Mertens’ singlet in his hands which gave Mertens a penalty point resulting in a sudden victory and a first-place finish for the BEA senior.
Senior Ty Peterson won his first match by a 13-0 major decision over Jayden Torgeson of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton-Westbrook-Walnut Grove but was injured in his semifinal match and was unable to continue.
Logan Johnson, another senior, won his first match at 220 pounds over Travis Willhite of TMB/WWG by a 5-3 decision. Johnson then lost a 5-3 decision to Jackson Esping of Minneota.
Johnson earned a third-place finish with a 5-0 victory over Logan Meyers of Kenyon-Wanamingo.
Parker Meyers at 145 pounds lost to Joe Anderson of Springfield by an 8-2 decision in his opening match and then fell to United Maple River’s Ethan Evenson to end his season.
Kean Hicks lost his match in the 170-pound quarterfinals 7-2 to Vander Mathiowetz of Red Rock Central. Hicks then fell to Quentin Wolf of Adrian Area by a 10-9 decision.
Adam Schavey wrestled at 195 pounds and was pinned by Caleb Vancura of JCC in his opening match.
Schavey rebounded to win a 17-5 major decision over Eathan Martinez of TMB/WWG in the first round of consolation matches but then lost by a pin to Josh Steffen of Canby at the end of the first period.
USC’s 120-pounder Bryce Sonnek used an 11-0 major decision over Seth Stai of JCC and a 2-1 decision over Ryan Palmer of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial to reach the finals.
Sonnek dropped a 9-1 major decision to Eric Carrasco of Minneota and then had to wrestle a true-second match against Lane Fink of Canby.
Fink was able to produce a 9-5 win which kept Sonnek from advancing to St. Michael-Albertville.
Ethan Elvebak of the Rebels lost in the opening round at 132 pounds to Thomas Freking of JCC by a 12-4 major decision. Elvebak then defeated Cade Christianson of Westfield and Derek Bartosch of Medford and finished in third place.
USC’s Micah Hamson won his opening match at 145 pounds with a pin over Trenton Renquist of Windom-Mountain Lake. Hamson then lost to Zack Fier of Minneota 10-3 in the semifinals.
Hamson defeated Ethan Evenson of Maple River in the consolation semifinals by a score of 5-4 to earn the chance at a true-second match against Joe Anderson of Springfield. Anderson defeated Hamson by a 17-9 major decision.
Hamson claimed third place with a 12-6 decision over Colten Bents of JCC.
USC’s fourth wrestler, Konnor Harpestad won his quarterfinal match against Jonah Gruenes of Minneota by a second-period fall.
The 152-pounder lost his next match to Minneota’s Jonah Gruenes before rebounding for a 9-0 major decision over Damon Holmen of Red Rock Central.
Harpestad lost his match in the consolation semifinals to Garron Hoffman of Medford by a 9-0 major decision.