State wrestling: Fischenich, Slater end with a win

ST. PAUL -- A total of 29 area wrestlers took the big stage at the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Fifteen of them came home with some hardware.

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ZACH HACKER/DAILY GLOBE Windom/Mountain Lake senior Joe Fischenich (right) shares a hug with his dad, Cobras assistant coach Dave Fischenich, after he won the Class A 132-pound third-place Saturday at the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament in St. Paul.

ST. PAUL - A total of 29 area wrestlers took the big stage at the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Fifteen of them came home with some hardware.
Three Windom/Mountain Lake seniors found themselves in the medal round. Wyatt Stevens (126) and Joe Fischenich (132) both wrestled for third with Jared Willaby (145) making it all the way to the finals.
Willaby nearly had it won.
The senior’s bout with Hank Friederich of Chatfield was tied 0-0 late into the second period when Friederich reached around to grab Willaby’s ankle as time expired. The Cobras fans and coaches bawked, but Friederich was awarded two points for a reversal. Willaby got an escape in the final period but dropped a 2-1 decision to settle for second.
While not wrestling for a state title, Fischenich got to do something few wrestlers are able to accomplish: end his career with a victory.
“When I got that last takedown I looked at the clock and saw there was only five seconds left,” Fischenich said. “I had the thought go through my head that it was my last high school match. I got pretty emotional. I didn’t want it to end. It was special for me to have my dad there coaching for me and I was just glad I could end with a win.”
He clinched third place with a 5-2 victory over Nicholas Meyer of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. It was a rematch of the Section 3A 132-pound title match from just one week earlier. Fischenich won that time, too.
Stevens was close to joining him as a third-place winner. At 126 pounds, he was tied 4-4 against Minneota’s Kyle Hennen when time expired. The score remained that way until the third overtime. That’s when Hennen was awarded two points for a takedown to take a 6-4 victory.
The fact that the three Cobra seniors could share in the experience together was the best part, according to Fischenich.
“That was really special,” he said. “I grew up with them and it’s special to me that we could all go out with a bang. They’ll be my best friends for life.”
Pipestone Area freshman Michael Suda entered the 120-pound championship in Class A without a blemish on his record.
At 36-0, Suda would be tough to bet against in his title bout with Frazee’s Tanner Reetz. An escape early in the second period proved to be the difference for Reetz. He handed the Arrows’ freshman his first loss of the season at 1-0.
Suda nearly picked up two in the second period, however. Midwaythrough the frame, he lifted Reetz high in the air and dumped him to the mat. The Hornet sophomore alertly scrambled away to prevent Suda from earning two points for the takedown.
Adrian put two wrestlers in the medal round with Tony Lynn (138) vying for third while Jesse Slater (170) went for fifth.
Lynn took a tough loss. He tangled with Park Rapids Area senior Ben Baumgartner, who was undefeated entering the state tournament. The Dragons senior fought hard, but ultimately fell victim to a 3-2 loss.
Slater, on the other hand, jumped out to a huge lead in his fifth-place match against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Dalton Elliot. He was on top 7-0 early and cruised to an 8-0 major decision.
Also a senior, Slater said that despite making multiple state tournament appearances, the experience never gets old. He also echoed Fischenich’s sentiments about ending with a victory.
“That was probably the biggest thing for me coming into the fifth-place match,” he said. “I just thought, ‘It’s my senior year and it’s going to be that much better to cap it off with a win.’ But, win or lose I was going to be pleased. Some people don’t even get this chance.”
Jared Welch of Wabasso/Red Rock Central picked up a victory to end his career as well.
The senior got into a tough match against Ian Morrison of Chatfield. Four points in the third period put it away as he clinched third with an 8-4 win.
That came after a tough loss in the consolation semifinals against Todd Erickson from New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.
Luverne’s Solomon Nielsen (152) took a convincing 12-5 win over Glencoe/Lester Prairie’s Nate Tesch in the consolation semifinals to earn the right to wrestle for third place. The Cardinals sophomore had to settle for fourth, however, when he ran into a buzzsaw in Logan Kass of Benilde-St. Margaret’s. He dropped the bout 12-2.
After an emotional win over No. 1-ranked James Berg of New Prague in Friday’s quarterfinals, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Logan Axford dropped a tough 4-2 decision in the semifinals, but he recovered and got into the third-place match at 138.
There, he met up with Berg again. Unfortunately for the Panthers junior, Berg was able to even the score with a 3-1 victory.

132: Fischenich (W/ML) pin Scott (Hold) 3:49; 138: Lynn (AHS) dec. Schmidt (LC) 6-4, 145: Brockhoff (SE) dec. Rogers (AHS) 2-0; 170: Slater (AHS) pin Wickenhauser (NYA) 1:53; 220: Welch (W/RRC) pin Fisher (WHAN) 3:14.
132: Kennedy (K-M) dec. Blanchette (F/MCC) 7-5.
120: Suda (PAHS) dec. Laborde (LCWM) 4-2; 126: Anderly (LSH) dec. Stevens (W/ML) 4-2; 145: Willaby (W/ML) dec. Schmalzriedt (LCWM) 6-2.
138: Austvold (NL-S) dec. Axford (TMB/W-WG) 4-2; 152: Fitzpatrick (Mah) dec. Nielsen (LHS) 3-2.
126: Stevens (W/ML) dec. Coyer (Osakis) 4-2; 132: Fischenich (W/ML) dec. Mandt (Chat) 3-2; 138: Lynn (AHS) pin Colon (M-T/ML) 1:40; 170: Carlson (KMS) dec. J. Slater (AHS) 3-1; 220: Erickson (NRHEG) pin Welch (W/RRC) 2:35.
138: Axford (TMB/WWG) pin Nordstrom (Simley) 4:27; 152: Nielsen (LHS) dec. Tesch (G-LP) 12-5.
170: J. Slater (AHS) major dec. Elliot (LCWM) 8-0; 220: Welch (W/RRC) dec. Morrison (Chat) 8-4.
126: K. Hennen (Minneota) OT dec. Stevens (W/ML) 6-4; 132: Fischenich (W/ML) dec. Meyer (KMS) 5-2; 138: Baumgartner (PRA) dec. Lynn (AHS) 3-2.
138: Berg (NP) dec. Axford (TMB/WWG) 3-1; 152: Kass (BSM) major dec. Nielsen (LHS) 12-2.
120: Reetz (Frazee) dec. Suda (PAHS) 1-0; 145: Friedrichs (Chat) dec. Willaby (W/ML) 2-1.

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