State Class AA wrestling: Nielsen to see familiar face in semifinals

ST. PAUL -- When Luverne wrestler Solomon Nielsen steps on the mat for his 170-pound semifinal match today, he will see a familiar face looking back at him.

ST. PAUL -- When Luverne wrestler Solomon Nielsen steps on the mat for his 170-pound semifinal match today, he will see a familiar face looking back at him.

Mason Rutt of Tri-City United is a personal friend with whom he has a relationship away from wrestling.

“My cousin goes to his school -- Tri-City United -- I used to hang out with him a lot and I’ve practiced with him,” Nielsen said.

But his friendship with Rutt won’t stop him from trying to dominate him in their match -- much like he dominated his two matches on Friday at the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center -- and earn a berth in the Class AA state final.

“I know this next guy’s not a big conditioning guy,” said Nielsen, the state’s No. 3-ranked 170-pounder entering the tournament. “So I’m going to push the pace and try to get him tired. And try to break him.”


In his opening round match, Nielsen rode three second-period takedowns to a 13-2 major decision over Orono’s Danny Striggow.

In his quarterfinal match, Nielsen earned a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Perham’s Zachary Peterson. He scored a takedown late in the second, and opened the third down and escaped almost immediately.

“He knew my style because I wrestled him last year,” Nielsen said. “He knew I was going to try scoring a lot, so he tried to slow me down. We’re both offensive guys, but I like how it went. He tried getting me in a couple positions, and I just got out of it.”

Worthington’s Jacob Prunty (120 pounds) won his opening round match against Leighton Rach of Perham via 3-1 decision. Prunty struck early with a takedown in the first, and added an escape in the second.

In the quarterfinal, Prunty lost to last year’s 113-pound champion, Waconia’s Garrett Vos, 1-0. Vos started the third period down and escaped to earn the match’s only point.

In wrestlebacks, Prunty defeated Litchfield’s Afton Kaping 5-1 to stay in contention for third place.

Prunty’s teammates Vince Riley (182 pounds) and Brandon Kempema (195 pounds) both lost their opening-round matches. Riley lost to Becker’s Jaylin Hildebrandt 3-2, while Kempema lost to Perham’s Ty Moser 6-2.

Wabasso/Red Rock Central’s Jared Welch (285 pounds) pinned Princeton’s Colton Hellman in 3:16 in the opening round to advance to the quarterfinals. In his quarterfinal match, he lost to Foley’s Mitch Trigg 5-2. And in wrestlebacks, he fought through an injury sustained against Trigg, but lost a 5-0 decision to St. Peter’s Tony Putz.


W/RRC’s Tyson Doubler (138 pounds) lost his opening round match to Kasson-Mantorville’s Keaten Schorr by major decision 8-0, but advanced to the second round of wrestlebacks via injury default.

Doubler is joined in the second round of wrestlebacks by 195-pound teammate Devan Liebl. Liebl defeated Bloomington Kennedy’s Erick Lopez via 10-4 decision in the opening round. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Daniel Kerkvliet of Simley by 23-8 tech fall in 2:50.

But he won his first wrestleback match over Hibbing’s Devante Jelle by 8-0 major decision.

Nick Altermatt (170 pounds) and Jared Schroepfer (145 pounds), and Mitchell Fulton (182 pounds) of W/RRC each lost in the first round and weren’t eligible for wrestlebacks. Altermatt lost a 7-5 decision to Bloomington-Kennedy’s Noah Keith. Schroepfer lost a 5-3 decision to South St. Paul’s Trevor Oberg. And Fulton lost a 7-5 decision to Albany’s Gabe Zierden.

Nielsen was joined by two Cardinals teammates at the state tournament -- Hunter Baker (106 pounds) and Zach Luke (220 pounds) -- but both lost in the first round.

Baker lost to Byron’s Matthew Peterson by 24-9 tech fall in 3:18 in the first round, and lost an 11-0 major decision to Nic Cantu of Albert Lea in the first round of wrestlebacks, ending his tournament.

Luke was pinned twice losing to K-M’s Noah Ryan in 1:10 and Hutchinson’s Tyler Stenzel in 0:48.

Fulda/Murray County Central’s Danny Blankenship was pinned by Delano’s Carson Tschudi in 0:43 in the first round, and wasn’t eligible for wrestlebacks.


Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Dereck Ellingson’s tournament was also over after the opening round when he lost a 6-5 decision to Cade Lundeen of Thief River Falls.

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Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.