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Section 2A individual wrestling: JCC sends seven to state

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Jackson County Central junior Nate Horn wrestles Blooming Prairie junior Trent Strunk in their true second match at 285 pounds Saturday in the Section 2A wrestling tournament at Blue Earth Area.

BLUE EARTH — The best wrestlers seem to know how to peak at the right time, and the Jackson County Central Huskies assured everybody watching — and themselves — that they’re amongst that company Saturday at the Section 2A Individual Wrestling Tournament.

Ushering six strong grapplers onto the championship final mat at Blue Earth Area High School, the Huskies saw all six earn wins, section titles and trips to the state wrestling tournament scheduled begin this week at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

A finishing touch was put on the effort when JCC junior Nate Horn won a true-second match at heavyweight for a trip to state. Horn came from behind and pinned Blooming Prairie junior Trent Strunk in exciting fashion to reach the big dance for his first time.

“It was huge. It feels great,” Horn said. “When he got the takedown I was a little scared. I just tried to put my head up and realized that I could do it. I rolled him and pinned him. I’ve never been to state before, but it should be really exciting.”

Only three wrestlers for the Huskies missed out on medals at sections and that left 11 with hardware on the day. Champions for JCC included eighth-grader Dalton Wagner at 106 pounds, freshman Ryker VanderWoude at 120 pounds, senior Jordan Biehn at 126 pounds, junior Paden Moore at 152 pounds, junior Luke Norland at 160 and sophomore Keegan Moore at 170.

Wagner and Paden Moore each swept their tournament with pins. Paden Moore, now a four-time state qualifier, needed less than 1:30 to stick each of his opponents. In the finals, he pinned Class A’s fifth-ranked Derek Herman of United South Central in 1:22. Moments later Paden’s younger brother Keegan (170) defeated Class A’s eighth-rated David Franta from Blue Earth Area for his third state berth.

“I thought I wrestled really well today. I just threw all of my worries to the side, wrestled hard and confidently,” Paden said. “Everything was working for me today. I was confident in my leg shots as I went out and got after it.”

Back at 126 pounds, Biehn — the state’s third-ranked Class A wrestler — defeated his first opponent by technical fall and had a semifinal round fall against Maple River junior Derek Moore late in the first period. In the finals, he won a 7-1 decision that earned him his second straight trip to state. At 120 pounds, VanderWoude mastered three straight falls before winning a 7-3 decision over NRHEG’s Cordell Peterson in the section final bout.

At 113 pounds, JCC eighth-grader Jacob Tvinnereim went 3-1 in the section tournament to place fifth, 182-pounder Christopher Baker finished 2-2 to claim fifth, senior Jack Ziemer went 3-1 at 195 pounds to place third and sophomore 220-pounder Justin Tirevold went 2-2 to take fourth.

While he didn’t reach the state tournament in his final try, Ziemer is one of his team’s captains this winter. With so much success on Saturday, he hopes the group can tote its momentum into Thursday’s Class A team tournament. This year has been no slouch for a group that graduated eight seniors — including two state qualifiers — from last season.

“Being a senior, it was kind of tough, but our team wrestled well,” Ziemer said Saturday. “We’ll be up there as a team and hopefully we can wrestle well. I think we have a good shot. We have to wrestle tough and wrestle to our ability, but I think we could have a chance to win it.”

JCC finished its regular season at 18-4 with losses coming to two nationally-recognized teams from the Chicago area, as well as Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and Adrian. The Huskies (now 22-4) begin the state tournament as a team with Minneota (22-3) Thursday morning at 9 a.m. The Vikings defeated Adrian to reach the state tournament.

Here are the results of the championship matches from Section 3A. The top two individuals in every weight class qualify for state. True second results are recorded where applicable.

106 — Dalton Wagner (JCC) pinned Adam Legrid (Blue Earth Area) in 2:42. True second — Legrid pinned Brenn Olson in 5:35.

113 — Dillon Kibiatowicz (NRHEG) dec. Zach Buseman (Blue Earth Area) 4-1. True second — Buseman dec. Arndt (Maple River).

120 — Ryker VanderWoude (JCC) dec. Cordell Peterson (NRHEG) 7-3. True second: Peterson dec. Trey Wigland (Maple River) 7-0.

126 — Jordan Biehn (JCC) dec. Seth Elwood (Medford) 7-1.

132 — Mason Moreno (Hayfield) dec. Russell Caldwell (Maple River) 12-7. True second — Caldwell decisioned Bryce Flowers (St. Clair/Mankato Loyola).

138 — Dylan Boettcher (St. Clair/ML) pinned Tyler Keller (Medford) in 5:45.

145 — Dylan Herman (United South Central) decisioned Greenfield (Maple River).

152 — Paden Moore (JCC) pinned Derek Herman (United South Central) in 1:22.

160 — Luke Norland (JCC) decisioned Aaron Trio (Maple River), 6-2. True second —Trio major decisioned Nick Von Ruden (Medford), 12-2.

170 — Keegan Moore (JCC) decisioned David Franta (Blue Earth Area), 9-4.

182 — Colten Carlson (United South Central) pinned Garrison Mindrup (Hayfield) in :51. True second —Trevor Grems (Medford) pinned Mindrup in 1:10.

195 — Wyatt Richardson (GMLOK) decisioned Casey Decker (Maple River) 3-2.

220 — Tyler Olson (Maple River) pinned Todd Erickson (NRHEG) in :16. True second —Erickson pinned Zach Nirk (Blooming Prairie) in 2:40.

285 — Martin Granados (Blue Earth Area) dec. Trent Strunk (Blooming Prairie), 3-1. True second — Nate Horn (JCC) pinned Strunk in 3:15.

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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