STATE WRESTLING: WHS’s Poppema honored to wrestle at state and WHS’s Luft joins 18 area wrestlers for second day on the matST. PAUL — Two Worthington wrestlers qualified for the state tournament, and each had a completely different approach to the championship bouts. Anthony Luft, a sophomore 106-pounder, placed sixth last year at state. This year he came in with one goal - to win it all.
ST. PAUL — Two Worthington wrestlers qualified for the state tournament, and each had a completely different approach to the championship bouts.
Anthony Luft, a sophomore 106-pounder, placed sixth last year at state. This year he came in with one goal—to win it all.
But senior 145-pounder Matt Poppema’s approach was different. While he wanted to have a good showing at his first state tournament, he was there to have fun and soak in the overall experience.
While Luft spent hours between matches running laps and warming up for his next bout, Poppema spent hanging out with head coach Mark Prunty or exploring the Xcel Energy Center—all while leaving plenty of time to prepare for each one of his matches.
“It’s pretty crazy here. It’s a big place, but I’m having a blast,” Poppema said. “It’s definitely worth coming to again.
“It was nice making it here with Anthony. It helps a little bit having him here with me, but Anthony is pretty focused and he has a mission to try to win state. He’s so focused on that. He’s always down here warming up, getting ready for his matches and I’m usually upstairs and hanging out.”
And each got what they were hoping for. Poppema enjoyed the state experience and Luft moved on to the semifinal round of the Class AA 106-pound tournament.
Luft will compete against Kasson-Mantorville’s Brady Berge, who is the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 106, this afternoon as he moves just one step away from his shot at the crown.
“I’m pretty excited,” Luft said, cracking a rare smile. “I know for sure I’m placing and I get to go out to eat tonight.
“I got the No. 1 kid in the state tomorrow, so I kind of want to take him down.”
Luft started the day with a win in his first round match. The sophomore pinned Foley’s Tyler Funk at the 5:24 mark of that match to earn a spot in the quarterfinal round.
There, Luft faced Detroit Lakes’ Gabe Foltz. Luft worked to an 11-3 major decision and moved on to the semifinal round today.
“That kid had a really good base and it was kind of hard to get shots off on him,” Luft said of Foltz. “I had to work from both up and down and I had to do some stuff I’m not usually very good at. But I was pretty calm. I just knew I needed to win and I did.”
Poppema’s state place-winning run came to an end Friday night after the senior went 0-2 on the day.
The 145-pounder lost his first round match to Scott West’s Gabe Fogarty, the No. 1-ranked grappler in the state and the returning 135-pound state champion, when Poppema was pinned at the 2:53 mark.
Poppema earned a spot in the first round of the wrestlebacks later that evening, but lost a hard-fought 11-0 major decision to Foley’s Tyler Bemboom, also a top-ranked grappler.
“I just wanted to have a good time while I was here,” Poppema said. “I’m not too upset that I lost because it was another good wrestler—really good. If I won I would’ve obviously been happy too. The reason I’m here and the reason I wrestle in general is to have a good time and I’m having the best time. This has been great.”
Besides Luft, only one other local wrestler advanced to the semifinals in Class AA. Brad Schmidt of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove won his first round match by an injury default to Mora’s Sam Lawrence. The 195-pounder went on to defeat Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran’s Austin Torres in a 7-1 decision in the quarterfinals.
Schmidt will take on K-M’s Broc Berge in the semifinal round today.
Although those are the only two area wrestlers left in the Class AA championship bracket, there are six wrestlers that continue to advance in the consolation bracket.
Tony Lynn of Adrian (113 pounds), Jaydan Bullerman of Adrian (120 pounds), Austin Kluis of Fulda/Murray County Central (132 pounds), Nate Lynn of Adrian (138 pounds), Ben Loosbrock of F/MCC (170 pounds), and Vince Johnson of Windom/Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (182 pounds) will all continue to work toward a third-sixth place finish at the individual state tournament today.
“You can’t get yourself down thinking that someone’s better than you,” Poppema said. “You have to go in thinking you’re going to do what you set out to do and see if it works. You never know.”
But the Class A championship bracket is chock-full with local semifinalists.
Brandon Goblirsch of Wabasso/Red Rock Central (120 pounds), Tanner Rohlik of W/RRC (138 pounds), Paden Moore of Jackson County Central (145 pounds), Luke Norland of JCC (152 pounds), Mitchell Rohlik of W/RRC (152 pounds), Darick Vancura of JCC (160 pounds), Cooper Moore of JCC (170 pounds) and Cody Welch of W/RRC (220 pounds) will all compete in the Class A semifinal round this afternoon.
There are also still three grapplers—all from JCC—trying to make it to the podium in the Class A consolation bracket.
Eliot Jurries at 126 pounds, Keegan Moore at 138 pounds and Alex Tewes at heavyweight will all continue to compete today.
And with the field of competition dwindling, each match will become tougher and tougher.
Luft spent his night Friday researching his opponent for his semifinal match. And he doesn’t doubt other wrestlers did the same thing.
“Everyone’s goal here should just be to win it all or at least make the podium,” Luft said. “I’m just doing what everyone else is trying to do.”
Class A Championship Bracket
Wabasso/Red Rock Central
113 Berhuis (Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City) fall 1:14 Jenniges
120 Goblirsch maj. dec. 14-3 Jacob Gonsalez (United South Central, Wells); Goblirsch dec. 10-5 Soto (St. James)
126 Rouser (A-C-GC) fall 4:59 Christians
138 T. Rohlik dec. 8-3 Roberts (New York Mills); T. Rohlik dec. 11-8 K. Moore (JCC)
152 M. Rohlik maj. dec. 10-1 Breuer (Goodhue); M. Rohlik fall 5:26 Wicks (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis)
170 C. Moore (JCC) maj. dec. 16-2 Mattison
220 Welch maj. dec. 10-1 Pagel (LeSueur-Henderson); Welch maj. dec. 13-2 Carlson (United North Central)
Jackson County Central
126 Jurries dec. 7-5 Meyer (Sibley East, Arlington); Rouser (A-C-GC) fall 3:49 Jurries
138 K. Moore maj. dec. 18-5 Borchert (Mille Lacs); T. Rohlik (W/RRC) dec. 11-8 K. Moore
145 P. Moore fall 2:58 Struehrenberg (Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah); P. Moore dec. 6-1 Longtin (Minneota)
152 Norland dec. 6-1 Franko (Triton, Dodge Center); Norland dec. 2-0 Chouanard (Aitkin)
160 Vancura dec. 6-4 Secrist (Wabasha-Kellogg); Vancura dec. 7-3 Lange (Royalton/Upsala)
170 C. Moore maj. dec. 16-2 Mattison (W/RRC); C. Moore fall 1:30 Rooney (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa)
195 Brodeur (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Indus) dec. 9-6 Hanson
Hwt. Tewes fall 5:09 Damm (A-C-GC); Turchin (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) fall 0:46 Tewes
182 Pfarr (L-H) maj. dec. 20-6 Haraldson
Class A Consolation Bracket
Wabasso/Red Rock Central
126 Jurries (JCC) dec. 5-2 Christians
Jackson County Central
126 Jurries dec. 5-2 Christians (W/RRC)
138 K. Moore dec. 9-8 Roberts (NYM)
Hwt. Tewes fall 0:06 Shaw (Minneapolis Patrick Henry)
182 Card (B-H/V) dec. 4-3 Haraldson
Class AA Championship Bracket
106 Luft fall 5:24 Funk (Foley); Luft maj. dec. 11-3 Foltz (Detroit Lakes)
145 Fogarty (Scott West) fall 2:53 Poppema
113 Stiller (Monticello) dec. 4-3 J. Willaby
138 Goble (Foley) dec. 5-1 Spinks
170 M. Willaby fall 1:09 Striggow (Orono); Barnes (Simley) maj. dec. 10-2 M. Willaby
182 Johnson fall 1:56 Madson (Dassel-Cokato); Evans (Grand Rapids) dec. 5-0 Johnson
113 T. Lynn dec. 9-7 Curtis (Milaca/Faith Christian); Parriott (New Prague) dec. 3-0 T. Lynn
120 Bullerman fall 2:50 Steinbauer (Waconia); Griffin (Rockford) dec. 9-0 Bullerman
126 Cass (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) fall 3:07 Loosbrock
132 Fitzgerald (Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove) dec. Mulder
138 N. Lynn dec. 8-5 Sailer (Perham); Laganiere (K-M) dec. 6-5 N. Lynn
160 Redepenning (Rockford) dec. 8-5 Sieve
195 Edlund (Crookston) dec. 8-6 Garms
Fulda/Murray County Central
132 Kluis dec. 7-2 Hanan (A/ML); Jobe (Grand Rapids) dec. 1-0 Kluis
170 Hammerlund (Delano) dec. 8-2 Loosbrock
195 Schmidt injury default Lawrence (Mora); Schmidt dec. 7-1 Torres (W-M/ML)
Class AA Consolation Bracket
145 Bemboom (Foley) maj. dec. 11-0 Poppema
138 Fogarty (Scott West) maj. dec. 9-2 Spinks
170 Dvorak (Scott West) dec. 1-0 M. Willaby
182 Johnson fall 4:36 Koniar (Minnehaha/DeLaSalle)
113 T. Lynn dec. 5-0 Xiong (St. Paul Johnson)
120 Bullerman dec. 1-0 Fitzpatrick (Mahtomedi)
138 N. Lynn dec. 10-4 Jackson (South St. Paul)
160 Lewandowski (Foley) dec. 7-5 Sieve
195 Jordahl (Hutchinson) dec. 7-1 Garms
Fulda/Murray County Central
132 Kluis dec. 5-1 Schorr (K-M)
170 Loosbrock fall 4:33 Henderson (Monticello)
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335
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