Wrestling: Eight Trojans, three Cardinals in semis at Section 3AA
LUVERNE — With plenty of work yet to be done, the Worthington Trojans have an impressive sum of eight wrestlers in today’s semifinals of the Section 3AA Individual Tournament at Luverne’s Cardinal Gym.
The tournament got under way Friday night with its first two rounds and wrestlers losing early in the tournament are still alive today in wrestlebacks.
“With eight through to the semis, you have to be pretty happy with that. That’s over half of our team who are guaranteed a placing,” Trojans head coach Mark Prunty said. “You can’t be disappointed with that.”
Worthington sophomore Hser Eh Pwae pinned Quad County’s Jake Roiger at 106 pounds while Hser Moo Pwae stuck MAHACA freshman Clint Messner in 1:13. Eh Pwae will face Marshall’s Toby Semler in the semifinals and Moo Pwae will wrestle Donny Bothum, a sophomore from United.
At 126 pounds, senior Anthony Luft of Worthington received a first-round bye and followed it up with a second-round pin against New Ulm freshman Taylor Bode. At 152, Worthington sophomore Vince Riley won two matches Friday, both by pin. He will wrestle United senior Keith Abraham today in the semifinals.
Worthington senior Zach Kempema earned a first-round bye and advanced to the semifinals with a 3:47 pin over MAHACA sophomore Steven Koehl at 160 pounds. Today he will face Fairmont/MCW junior Tanner Lange in the semifinals.
At 170 pounds, Worthington senior Blake Schroeder defeated Quad County senior Mason Schmitz with a pin that took just 12 seconds to develop. Schroeder will wrestle New Ulm junior Sam Hoppe in the semifinals.
At 220 pounds, Worthington junior Peter Abraham won a 4-3 decision over Quad County’s Zach Fischer and will wrestle United’s David Nelson in the semifinals. Back at 195 pounds, Worthington junior Carson Hagen reached the semifinals with two byes. He will face United junior Markus Kranz.
Also alive in wrestlebacks for the Trojans are Ethan Pavelko (120), Jeffrey Camacho (132), King Blanchette (138) and Trevor Wietzema (285).
“We had a couple of close matches that we thought we could pull out in the heavy weights,” Prunty said. “You’re not going to win them all. We can’t dwell on those matches we could’ve had. We have to focus on the ones that did well.
“Nobody has been eliminated, so everybody has a chance to wrestle back,” he added. “The kids who lost have a chance to come back, just in a different role.”
For Fulda/Murray County Central, sophomore Clayton Hartle (113) will wrestle Fairmont/MCW’s Collin Steuber in today’s semifinals. Three wrestlers for Luverne — including freshman Will Natte (120), Cody Hess (126) and Spencer Oeltjenbruns (182) — will wrestle in the championship semifinals.
For the Cardinals, head coach Craig Schneider said Friday’s portion of the 11-team tournament went off well.
“With Luverne running the tournament, I thought the first day ran smoothly and I hope everyone enjoyed the atmosphere we had here and how the tournament was run,” Schneider said. “As a coach, our kids wrestled well. There’s a lot riding on section matches and we have a lot of young kids. You could see the nerves a little bit. Hopefully we’ll wrestle well tomorrow and get a few kids to state.”
The first and second place wrestlers from the section advance to the Class AA State Wrestling Tournament, scheduled for next Thursday through Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.