LAMBERTON -- Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove edged two rivals on Saturday to qualify for the state Class A team wrestling tournament.
The Panthers nipped Minneota 30-29 in the Section 3A semifinals before toppling Canby 36-34 in the championship.
Jackson County Central, the tournament’s top seed, lost its semifinal contest to Canby, 34-30, when Denver Noyes pinned the Huskies’ Keldon Bennett in 2:44 at 285 pounds. Noyes is the fifth-ranked Class A wrestler in the state at heavyweight. Bennett, a fine athlete and football player, is a first-year wrestler.
In the 220-pound match, Canby’s Shane Noyes pinned Lee Drahota to put the Lancers in position.
After being eliminated, JCC head coach Nate Hanson said the future looks bright for the relatively young Huskies squad. But, he admitted, “It was a tough loss. We were winning a couple matches and got pinned, and that hurt.”
Seven wrestlers did win for JCC, though. Logan Butzon (113 pounds), Thomas Freking (120), Dylan Withers (126), Payton Handevidt (152), Ethan Hendrickson (160), Caleb Vancura (170) and William Freking (182) were all winners. Handevidt and Freking won their matches with falls.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed. In the narrow victory over Canby in Saturday’s finals, the Panthers clinched it at 195 pounds when Trevor Eisfeld pinned Parker Verhelst in 0:52.