STATE WRESTLING: JCC’s Cooper Moore and Darick Vancura bring home state championships from St. PaulST. PAUL — The 2011-12 wrestling season came to a close Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with a whirlwind of excitement, sadness, energy and exhaustion.
ST. PAUL — The 2011-12 wrestling season came to a close Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with a whirlwind of excitement, sadness, energy and exhaustion.
Thirteen local grapplers claimed a top-six place at the state tournament, including two 2012 state champions in Jackson County Central’s Darick Vancura and Cooper Moore.
While some wrestlers left the arena disappointed and others walked out with their heads held high, most would claim it was an overall good experience and one, if the opportunity is able to present itself, one they would like to experience again.
But for the 13 area kids who walked out with medals, it was a weekend they will remember for a long time to come.
Darick Vancura (JCC) Class A 160-pound state champion
In the JCC wrestling room there are pictures making a border around the room of all the individual state champions the Huskies have produced.
The first one on the wall is Vancura’s uncle Scott.
From the time Vancura first walked into that training room, he knew he wanted to be up on the wall just like his uncle. And the next time the junior grappler walks into that room in the high school, his picture will be prominently displayed.
Vancura won the Class A 160-pound state championship Saturday after defeating Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Jordan Rothers in the championship bout.
“I’m pretty excited,” Vancura said. “I always wanted to be on the wall with all the other state champs. It will be nice to finally be up there.
“I’ve wrestled Rothers before and I know he has a lot of upper-body strength. He’s pretty good up there so I knew I had to go out there and take my leg shots and stick to my plan. I knew I could take his plan of using his upper body away from him and that’s what I did.”
JCC’s Vancura was making his third appearance in the individual state tournament this year.
In his first trip to the tournament as a freshman, the grappler claimed a third-place finish. Last year, as a sophomore, he finished second.
So it only seemed right that he move one step up on the podium again this year to finally claim a state title.
“Coming into the season I just wanted to give it everything I got,” Vancura said. “I figured I had nothing to lose and I already had so much more than I could ever want. But I just wanted that title and I gave it my all to get it.”
Vancura finished the season with a 44-1 record, his only loss coming during a holiday tournament in December when he lost to a kid from Apple Valley.
During the state tournament, Vancura went 4-0.
He defeated Wabasha-Kellogg’s Porter Secrist by a 6-4 decision in the first round before defeating Royalton/Upsala’s Mitch Lange by a 7-3 decision in the quarterfinals. Vancura then beat Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah’s Stephen Erlandson in an 8-5 decision to earn his second-straight trip to the championship bout.
“In every match I just went out there and got my shot down right away so I’d be up 2-0 quick,” Vancura said. “I just kept racking up the points to get as many as I could. Then I’d just finish it off for six hard minutes.”
Cooper Moore (JCC) Class A 170-pound state champion
Moore and fellow state champion Vancura had been drilling together all season. When they needed a grappling partner during practice, the two would pair up. When they needed advice or wanted to work on moves, they went to each other.
So after winning the team title on Thursday it was no surprise that Moore and Vancura met up back at the hotel to talk strategy for the next two days of individual competition.
What did they talk about? How each of them was going to go out on the mats Friday and Saturday and claim the 160- and 170-pound state titles.
And that’s exactly what they did.
“That’s probably every person’s goal, especially seniors, to leave like that. With a team championship and an individual title,” Moore said. “That’s huge. That opportunity doesn’t come around often and when it does, take advantage of it.”
After watching Vancura celebrate after claiming his title just the match before his own, Moore went out on the main floor of the Xcel Energy Center and claimed his own in a 13-2 major decision over Kimball Area’s Travis Schiefelbein.
“I wrestled the kid in the team finals so I knew he’s a pretty solid kid defensively,” Moore said. “I kind of felt like he was going to have the same game plan going out as I was, he was going to wrestle to win it and so was I. I just wanted to be on the attack and focus on my first takedown and build the lead after that.”
This was Moore’s fifth appearance at the individual state tournament. He qualified as a seventh grader, but didn’t place. He finished fourth as a freshman before claiming his first championship as a sophomore.
And it looked as though he was well on his way to a second-straight state championship is junior season. Moore had put up a great regular season, qualifying for a fourth time to the state tournament.
But Moore suffered a concussion in the first round and had to take an injury default in that match and the one following, thus eliminating him from the field of competition.
So it was safe to say that the 170-pounder would be coming back with a vengeance his senior season.
“I feel like I just ate a big dinner from how hungry I was from the last year,” Moore said after the championship match. “It’s a great feeling just to work that hard, especially after a year when it got taken away from you. And now to get the title, it’s just very rewarding.”
Moore finished the season with a 46-0 record. He was the only state qualifier in Class A at 170 pounds who entered the tournament with an undefeated record.
The senior went 4-0 at the tournament as well. Moore started off with a 16-2 major decision over Wabasso/Red Rock Central’s Nathan Mattison in the first round. He followed up with a pin at the 1:30 mark of his quarterfinal match against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s Patrick Rooney. Moore then defeated Collin Huckbody of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis with a pin at the 3:51 mark of the semifinal round.
“I’m mentally preparing myself for each match,” Moore said. “I didn’t know much about any of the kids I wrestled, but I had to treat them like they were the best kid in the nation, each and every won of them. That’s what helped me win the state title.”
Anthony Luft (WHS), Class AA 106-pound fifth place finisher
Worthington’s Anthony Luft was making his second appearance at the state tournament.
As a freshman last season, Luft finished sixth at 103 pounds. This year he had a goal of winning the 106-pound crown.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen for the sophomore, but he improved his spot on the podium, earning a fifth-place finish this time around.
“I’m glad I did at least a little bit better,” Luft said.
After going 2-0 on the first day of the individual tournament, Luft received a tough opponent in the semifinal round. He was up against Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville that round, the eventual winner of the 2012 state title. Luft lost a 7-2 decision, sending him to the consolation bracket to see if he would continue on to the third- or fifth-place match.
Luft lost the consolation semifinal to Fairmont/Martin County West’s Trevor Schultz in another 7-2 decision, sending the WHS wrestler to the fifth-place match for the second year in a row.
In that dual, Luft faced the same kid he went up against in the first round of the state tournament—Foley’s Tyler Funk.
Luft pinned Funk at the 5:24 mark of their first match, but he had to fight a lot harder the second time around.
The fifth-place match went into triple overtime with the score tied at 2-all before Luft managed to record a reversal to give him a 4-2 victory and the fifth-place trophy.
“I kind of learned from the first match, so I kind of learned what to block and what to expect from him,” Luft said. “I knew it was going to be tough.”
Luft finished his season going 37-7, and finished the state tournament going 3-2. His third win came in a quarterfinal victory over Detroit Lakes’ Gabe Foltz. Luft won that match by an 11-3 major decision.
“Overall it was a good season,” Luft said. “It was a little worse than last year, in my opinion, because there were a lot of ups and downs with everything, but I still thought I came out good.
“I’m looking forward to a lot of open tournaments this offseason and hopefully I can do even better next year.”
Ten other place-winners at the state tournament
Aside from Vancura, Moore and Luft, there were 10 other local wrestlers who finished in the top-6 at the individual state tournament.
W/RRC’s Cody Welch earned a second-place finish in the Class A 220-pound bracket. Welch lost in the finals to Josh VanOverbeke of Minneota in a 6-0 decision. Welch finished the tournament with a 3-1 record, and finished the season going 41-4.
W/RRC also had a third-place finisher in Mitchell Rohlik at 152 pounds. Rohlik won the third-place match over JCC’s Luke Norland—who finished fourth. Rohlik won the match in an 8-0 major decision.
Rohlik finished the tournament going 4-1 and finished the season with a 40-6 record. Norland finished the tournament going 3-2 and finished the season with a 35-11 record.
Besides Luft, there were six others who finished with a fifth-place trophy.
W/RRC’s Brandon Goblirsch won his fifth-place match at 120 pounds by an 8-1 decision over St. James’ Richy Soto. Goblirsch went 3-2 in the tournament, 39-7 overall.
JCC’s Eliot Jurries finished fifth at 126 pounds after defeating Royalton/Upsala’s Andy Poster in a 3-1 decision in his final match. Jurries went 4-2 at state, 39-8 overall.
W/RRC’s Tanner Rohlik also finished fifth at 138 pounds. He defeated Eden Valley-Watkins’ Cain Renner in a 10-5 decision to close out the tournament. Tanner Rohlik finished the tournament with a 3-2 record, 34-11 overall.
JCC’s Paden Moore received fifth at 145 pounds after defeating Mahnomen/Waubun;s Garret Hoffner by a 3-1 decision. Paden Moore finished the tournament going 3-2, 37-10 overall.
There were also two other fifth-place finishers in Class AA, both from Adrian.
Jaydan Bullerman defeated Park Rapids Area’s Ben Baumgartner in an 8-7 decision in the fifth-place match at 120 pounds to reach the podium. Bullerman went 3-2 in the tournament and 34-9 overall.
It was the junior’s first time at the state tournament.
“Baumgartner got me right away and I didn’t know what to expect,” Bullerman said. “I got lucky and he took me down on my back and I reversed him and put him to his back. I got a takedown in the last period and was just able to ride him out.
“Overall this weekend was good. I wasn’t expecting to place, but I’ll definitely take it.”
His teammate, senior Nate Lynn also finished fifth at 138 pounds. Lynn defeated Quade Zupko in a 7-5 decision to reach the podium for the third time in his career.
“I had just lost a one-point match before that one, so I just wanted to go out there and end my career on a win,” Lynn said. “I went out there and tried to work as much offense as I could and get ahead right away. I’m happy though. The two matches I lost were by one point. It’s tough losing like that, but it’s OK.”
Lynn, who finished second at state as a freshman and fourth as a junior, went 4-2 this year at state and finished the season with a 35-3 record.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Brad Schmidt finished sixth in his first state appearance. Schmidt lost his fifth-place match at 195 pounds in an overtime 5-3 decision in favor of Austin Torres of Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran.
Schmidt finished the tournament going 2-2 and had a 39-7 record overall.
“I know I was hoping on doing a little better than this and I’m sure a lot of people are leaving with the same thought,” Lynn said. “But you have to remember that it’s still a pretty good accomplishment to place at the state tournament. There’s so many tough kids in each bracket, so it’s a great accomplishment to stand on the podium.”
Class A Championship Bracket
Wabasso/Red Rock Central
120 Roemer (Wabasha-Kellogg) dec. 7-6 Goblirsch
138 Anderson (River Valley) dec. 3-2 T. Rohlik
152 Maas (Medford) 8-2 dec. M. Rohlik
220 Welch fall 1:15 Gadient (Goodhue); VanOverbeke (Minneota) dec. 6-0 Welch. SECOND PLACE.
Jackson County Central
145 Bomstad (Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City) dec. 7-0 P. Moore
152 Koehnen (Frazee) dec. 2-1 Norland
160 Vancura dec. 8-5 Erlandson (Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah); Vancura dec. 12-7 Rothers (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg). FIRST PLACE.
170 C. Moore fall 3:31 Huckbody (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis); C. Moore maj. dec. 13-2 Schiefelbein (Kimball Area). FIRST PLACE.
Class A Consolation Bracket
Wabasso/Red Rock Central
120 Mills (Kimball Area) maj. dec. 11-3 Goblirsch; Golblirsch dec. 8-1 Soto (St. James). FIFTH PLACE.
138 Jarnot (Holdingford) maj. dec. 8-0 T. Rohlik; T. Rohlik dec. 10-5 Renner (Eden Valley-Watkins). FIFTH PLACE.
152 M. Rohlik dec. 3-2 Chounard (Aitkin); M. Rohlik maj. dec. 8-0 Norland (JCC). THIRD PLACE.
Jackson County Central
126 Jurries OT dec. 3-2 Watkins (Zumbrota-Mazeppa); Herman (United South Central) dec. 7-5 Jurries; Jurries dec. 3-1 Poster (Royalton/Upsala). FIFTH PLACE.
138 Renner (EV-W) maj. dec. 13-5 K. Moore
145 Maas (Medford) dec. 6-4 P. Moore; P. Moore dec. 3-1 Hoffner (Mahnomen/Waubun). FIFTH PLACE.
152 Norland dec. 4-2 Pfarr (LeSeuer-Henderson); M. Rohlik (W/RRC) maj. dec. 8-0 Norland. FOURTH PLACE.
Hwt. Briard (River Valley) dec. 8-5 Tewes
Class AA Championship Bracket
106 Berge (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. 7-2 Luft
195 Berge (K-M) maj. dec. 16-6 Schmidt
Class AA Consolation Bracket
106 Schultz (Fairmont/Martin County West) dec. 7-2 Luft; Luft OT dec. 4-2 Funk (Foley). FIFTH PLACE.
182 Williams (TRF/Goodridge) dec. 9-7 Johnson
113 Manderfeld (Foley) dec. 7-0 T. Lynn
120 Bullerman dec. 2-0 Miller (Staples-Motley); Stolarzyk (Stewartville) dec. 7-0 Bullerman; Bullerman dec. 8-7 Baumgartner (Park Rapids Area). FIFTH PLACE.
138 N. Lynn fall 3:31 Holthaus (Albany); Short (Simley) dec. 4-3 N. Lynn; N. Lynn dec. 7-5 Zupko (Chisago Lakes Area). FIFTH PLACE.
160 Lewandowski (Foley) dec. 7-5 Sieve
195 Jordahl (Hutchinson) dec. 7-1 Garms
Fulda/Murray County Central
132 Brownlee (Montgomery-Lonsdale/LeCenter) dec. 6-2 Kluis
170 Miller (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) fall 1:17 Loosbrock
195 Jordahl (Hutchinson) dec. 5-1 Schmidt; Torres (Watertown Mayer/Mayer Lutheran) OT dec. 5-3 Schmidt. SIXTH PLACE.
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335
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