STATE WRESTLING: Xcellent: JCC crowned state champsST. PAUL — The way the team wrestling state tournament was coming to a close had a familiar tune. First the Apple Valley Eagles clinched the Class AAA title. Then Simley began to celebrate as it clinched the Class AA title. Just like both teams had the previous season. But things couldn’t turn out exactly as they had in 2011, however it could be close. Last year the Jackson County Central Huskies won a co-championship with Frazee, a team that didn’t even qualify for the tournament this time around. Which meant three of the four teams who clinched titles last year could take the trophy home again this time around. And that’s exactly what happened.
ST. PAUL — The way the team wrestling state tournament was coming to a close had a familiar tune.
First the Apple Valley Eagles clinched the Class AAA title. Then Simley began to celebrate as it clinched the Class AA title. Just like both teams had the previous season.
But things couldn’t turn out exactly as they had in 2011, however it could be close.
Last year the Jackson County Central Huskies won a co-championship with Frazee, a team that didn’t even qualify for the tournament this time around. Which meant three of the four teams who clinched titles last year could take the trophy home again this time around.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The Huskies defeated Kimball Area—who entered the match with an undefeated 34-0 record—in the Class A championship match 35-28 to earn their third-straight state title, and their fourth in the last five seasons.
“It’s pretty sweet,” JCC head coach Randy Baker said. “I didn’t know if we’d be able to get it. Are we going to get three in a row or are they going to go undefeated? I guess I’ll take the three in a row though. This is almost as good as wrecking someone’s parents’ night or senior night.”
But at the start of the match it didn’t look as though JCC would be able to pull off the three-peat. Kyle Edin, Cameron Henning and Wyatt Cleberg all lost their matches to quickly put the Huskies down 15-0.
But the Huskies weren’t sweating yet.
In fact, Baker had told his team prior to the match that there was a good chance JCC could be down by as much as 18-0 at the start of the championship bout.
Mitchell McKee, Quiten Berres and Taner Mills combined for four losses all season with Kimball Area and are some of the squad’s toughest grapplers. And the Huskies’ strength comes in their middle and upper weights, so the team wasn’t worried about getting down quickly.
“No I wasn’t nervous when we were down by that much,” JCC wrestler Alex Tewes said. “Baker came right out and told us before we started wrestling the match that they were really good in their bottom three. But he knew we’d bounce back really well. We’re really solid from 120 through heavyweight. We’re really solid.”
After losing the first three matches—all for bonus points—126-pounder Jordan Bieham pinned Brady Mehr at the 2:25 mark of his match to cut the deficit to 15-6.
But the Huskies weren’t out of the dark yet.
Kimball Area’s Marcus Hamer managed to win a 7-2 decision over Eliot Jurries to extend his team’s lead to 18-6.
However, the Huskies would pull together to win the next five matches to give JCC an insurmountable lead and ultimately the championship.
“We knew that they were really, really, really tough,” JCC wrestler Luke Norland said. “We knew we could come back, we’ve been coming back a lot all year. I knew if we wrestled how we’re capable of then there’d be no problems.
“Overall, it went great. It went how we expected and hoped the day to go. We just did what we set out to do and we won the title because of that.”
Keegan Moore started the run for the Huskies. He fought Markus Mehr to a 13-5 major decision, bringing the score to 18-10.
But it was Keegan’s older brother who truly shifted the momentum in JCC’s favor.
Paden Moore pinned Caramon Hansen at 145 pounds, in a match where his team thought he was maybe capable of recording a major decision, and put the Huskies down by just two points midway through the dual.
“The turning point in my eyes was when Paden pinned his kid,” Tewes said. “That’s when I think we all knew we were going to get the job done.”
Norland followed suit with another pin in the 152-pound weight class.
Baker said Norland’s match, too, was against a tough kid and the pin was a welcome surprise. The Huskies were expecting Norland and Quentin Bryce to wrestle a hard-fought, close match.
“He came out fast,” Norland said of his match. “I knew he had a lot of adrenaline and I knew he was going to die so I just had to stay with it. After I took him down the second time I felt that energy of his go down. I knew it’d be huge for the team if I got the pin and I did and it was really, really good.
“I think when Paden got his pin it just changed everything. We were expecting to get it maybe from Keegan but he didn’t go as big as we expected. Me and Paden though, we had good kids. They were both good wins. We wanted it and you could tell.”
JCC’s two No. 1-ranked wrestlers were up next, with both Darick Vancura and Cooper Moore earning points for the Huskies.
Vancura wrestled Jordan Joseph to a 3-2 decision at 160 pounds, while Cooper Moore battled 170-pounder Travis Schiefelbein to a 14-5 major decision.
“That was huge,” Baker said. “The momentum swung over and Kimball was getting a little frustrated because we had two No. 1-ranked guys coming up next in Vancura and Moore so it just turned the other way. After Cooper got done it was like, Ok there’s four matches to go, but there were a couple of them where we’d have some options. So that helped a lot by being able to put people where we wanted them.”
JCC won only one of those final four matches, but it was enough to grab the crown.
The Cubs took the cake at 182 and 195 pounds, making the score 29-24 heading into the final two matches in the championship dual.
Tewes knew entering his match at 220 pounds that if he won in any form that the Huskies would clinch their third-straight title.
And he admitted there was a lot of pressure riding on him, but he came out on top, winning by pinfall over Tim Konz at the 3:51 mark of the bout.
“I just tried to stay calm through the whole thing,” Tewes said. “It was a lot of pressure going into that last match knowing you can make it or break it for your team. I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. I was just going to get the job done.
“It goes a lot smoother if you just stay calm and clear your mind. I knew all the work we’ve done this year and I knew I just had to go out and wrestle to the best of my ability. That’s all the coaches wanted from me and that’s all I did.”
The Huskies finished out the dual with a loss at heavyweight, but that didn’t matter to them—they had already achieved their goal.
This is JCC’s eighth state title—including titles they won as a co-op with Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield and Southwest Star Concept—and the fourth since 2008.
The Huskies finished the season with a 25-3 record and kept their No. 1 ranking throughout the entire year.
“It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” Norland said. “We made history. It’s big. It’s awesome. I’m speechless.”
JCC 35, KA 28
106 McKee(K) maj. dec. 13-3 Edin, 4-0
113 Berres (K) tech fall Henning, 9-0
120 Mills (K) fall 2:23 Cleberg, 15-0
126 Bieham (J) fall 2:25 B. Mehr, 15-6
132 Hamer (K) dec. 7-2 Jurries, 18-6
138 K. Moore (J) maj. dec. 13-5 M. Mehr, 18-10
145 P. Moore (J) fall 3:19 Hansen, 18-16
152 Norland (J) fall 1:58 Bryce, 18-22
160 Vancura (J) dec. 3-2 Joseph, 18-25
170 C. Moore (J) maj. dec. 14-5 T. Schiefelbein, 18-29
182 Wills (K) dec. 7-4 Menke, 21-29
195 A. Schiefelbein (K) dec. 4-2 Hanson, 24-29
220 Tewes (J) fall 3:51 Konz, 24-35
Hwt. Thurber (K) maj. dec. 8-0 Edwards, 28-35
JCC rolls to championship match after defeating B/G-MR 46-25
While Kimball Area seemed to pose a threat to JCC’s three-peat attempt, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River never seemed to have a handle on the Huskies.
All but five JCC wrestlers won their respective matches in the semifinal round of the state tournament Thursday.
Edin, Keegan Moore, Norland and Cooper Moore all recorded pins in the dual.
Tewes won by forfeit, Jurries won by tech fall, while Henning and Paden Moore had major decisions. Vancura added a win by decision.
“A lot of kids wrestled really hard today,” Baker said. “The whole crew worked hard and scrapped for their points. It seemed like there were different heroes in each dual.”
Baker said he thought, despite the final score, that the semifinal match was JCC’s worst of the tournament. The coach said the wrestlers didn’t have as much energy in that bout and were getting too caught up in the environment of the state tournament.
But it worked out in the end, and the Huskies found themselves once again in the championship match.
“It’s all about just staying calm and relaxing in the big environment,” Norland said. “We’ve been working hard so we just had to remind ourselves that if we went out there and did what we’ve been working on that we were going to be fine.
JCC 46, B/G-MR 25
106 Edin (J) fall 3:28 Becker, 6-0
113 Henning (J) maj. dec. 23-12 D. Dostal, 10-0
120 Novacek (B) fall 0:28 Cleberg, 10-6
126 Waage (B) maj. dec. 11-2 Bieham, 10-10
132 Jurries (J) tech fall Hasbrouck, 15-10
138 K. Moore (J) fall 2:47 Gust, 21-10
145 P. Moore (J) maj. dec. 13-2 Jenson, 25-10
152 Norland (J) fall 0:51 B. Dostal, 31-10
160 Vancura (J) dec. 9-5 Tomm Ingle, 34-10
170 C. Moore (J) fall 1:00 Westman, 40-10
182 Wojchowski (B) fall 0:45 Guggisberg, 40-16
195 Timm Ingle (B) dec. 12-10 Hanson, 40-19
220 Tewes (J) forfeit, 46-19
Hwt. Yeager (B) fall 1:04 Ziemer, 40-25
JCC flattens Pierz in quarterfinal match, 52-15
The road to the championship started off hot for the Huskies.
JCC was facing a familiar opponent in the quarterfinals, the same team the Huskies faced last year in the quarterfinals in fact.
Baker said that worked to the Huskies’ favor because they were familiar with certain techniques and strategy their opponents’ used.
JCC handled Pierz easily, defeating the Pioneers 52-15.
“We were probably favored a little bit with Pierz,” Baker said. “They had nine individual state entrants on their team, but we knew we came out of a tough section and we knew we’d be able to compete with them. We knew their techniques or what kind of moves they like to use because we wrestled them last year. We thought the kids wrestled pretty good in that match.”
All but four JCC wrestlers won their respective matches in the quarterfinal dual.
Henning, Jurries, Keegan Moore, Paden Moore, Vancura, Patrick Hanson and Tewes all had pins for the Huskies in that matchup.
Cooper Moore added a major decision, while Norland and Kyle Edwards won by decision.
“Pierz qualified like nine guys so they were no slouch, but we knew that we had to bring it because each team at the state tournament wants to win it all and weird things can happen,” Norland said. “We just went out there and wrestled and focused for the next match. We didn’t overlook them because if we did we wouldn’t be where we are now.”
JCC 52, Pierz 15
106 Eischens (P) dec. 9-2 Edin, 3-0
113 Henning (J) fall 3:06 Woitalla, 3-6
120 Ortman (P) dec. 10-4 Bieham, 6-6
126 Jurries (J) fall 1:40 Kapsner, 6-12
132 Sullivan (P) dec. 7-2 Timko, 9-12
138 K. Moore (J) fall 3:46 Goebel, 9-18
145 P. Moore (J) fall 4:27 Julich, 9-24
152 Norland (J) dec. 4-1 Meyer, 9-27
160 Vancura (J) fall 0:24 Davis, 9-33
170 C. Moore (J) maj. dec. 12-4 Tomala, 9-37
182 Lochner (P) fall 5:24 Menke, 15-37
195 Hanson (J) fall 0:48 Waytashek, 15-43
220 Tewes (J) fall 2:30 Smude, 15-49
Hwt. Edwards (J) OT 8-2 Johnson, 15-52
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.