State wrestling: Three JCC matmen win championships together
ST. PAUL -- Saturday, Jackson County Central achieved something that has been in the making for more than four years. First it was Paden Moore at 160 pounds. Minutes later, it was 170-pounder Luke Norland. Finally, Keegan Moore -- Paden's brother...
ST. PAUL - Saturday, Jackson County Central achieved something that has been in the making for more than four years.
First it was Paden Moore at 160 pounds. Minutes later, it was 170-pounder Luke Norland. Finally, Keegan Moore - Paden’s brother - emphatically joined them with a pin. With that the mission was complete. All three Huskies were officially Class A state wrestling champions.
“It started out when Luke made the move from Spirit Lake to Jackson,” Keegan said shortly after his victory. “At that time I think I was in seventh grade and him and Paden were in eighth grade. We’ve been best friends and practice partners ever since.”
For Keegan, his 182-pound championship was his second state title. Only a junior, he still has one year left in a Huskies’ singlet. Paden Moore’s 8-3 win over Royalton/Upsala’s Brad Crow in the 160-pound title match gave him his first state title. He and Norland are both seniors, and when Norland finished off Gage Thom of St. Clair/Mankato Loyola for a 13-6 vicotry, both were walking away as champions.
Although that fact hadn’t entirely set in yet Saturday evening in the tunnels underneath St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center.
“When you work so hard and so long for something, it’s an amazing feeling when you finally do it,” Norland said. “But I don’t think it’s even set in yet.”
For Paden Moore, it was also his first state championship after always coming up a bit short in the past. Last year, he took third place after a 46-4 season.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “To come so close and then finally reach it is just awesome. I had some close losses, but that just makes me more focused on what God has in store for me next.”
Of course, making the championships even more special for the Moore brothers was the fact that they were able to do it together.
“It’s very special,” Paden said. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to be in a situation like that we’re in; winning titles in the same year.”
“Something like that only comes around very few times,” Keegan added. “I wouldn’t be anywhere without him.”
Their trips to the title weren’t easy. In Paden Moore’s semifinal bout, he took on No. 4-ranked Noah Landrus of Aitkin. Moore was in control the whole time, however, clinching a spot in the final with an 8-1 victory.
In the finals, he met up with Royalton/Upsala’s Brad Crow. The JCC senior was up 5-3 at the end of two periods and rode that to an 8-3 victory.
Perhaps the man with the roughest road to the finals, however, was Norland. Ranked No. 2 in the state, he clashed with No. 1 Zachary Carlson of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in the semifinals.
Norland was up 2-1 early but needed an escape with 16 seconds left to tie the score at 3-3. The match eventually went into quadruple overtime, where a coin flip put Carlson in the “down” position. Norland was able to ride him for the entire 30 seconds for a thrilling 4-3 win.
“I was confident,” Norland said. “I just had to keep believing in myself and believing in the offense. Coach (Randy) Baker is probably the best coach in the country and he teaches us to be on the attack.”
It might not have necessarily been easy, but Keegan Moore made it appear that way en route to the 182-pound title. He pinned his semifinal opponent - Anthony Wendland of Paynesville Area - in 1:25. He followed that with a 32-second pin of Sibley East’s Jake Wentzlaff in the finals.
All that was left to do was celebrate his second state title.
“I love going out there and pleasing the crowd,” he said. “That’s my style.”
Jacob Tvinnereim (113) gave the Huskies a fourth on the medal stand. He picked up a 3-1 win in the consolation quarterfinals on his way to taking sixth.
For the three title-winners, the day they were all at the top of the podium may have been a long time coming. But when that moment came, it was worth all the work.
“To do this with my brother and my main practice partner feels pretty great,” Keegan said. “Wanted to win a title with these guys. That’s what’s driven me all year.”
CLASS A CONSOLATION
113: Tvinnereim (JCC) dec. Meine (F-B) 3-1; 132: Meyer (KMS) pin VanderWoude (JCC) 4:12.
CLASS A SEMIFINALS:
160: P. Moore (JCC) dec. Landrus (Aitkin) 8-1; 170: Norland (JCC) OT dec. Carlson (KMS) 4-3; 182: K. Moore (JCC) pin Wendlandt (PA) 1:25.
CLASS A CONSOLATION
113: Molinaro (ACGC) dec. Tvinnereim (JCC) 2-0.
CLASS A FIFTH-PLACE:
113: Coyer (Osakis) dec. Tvinnereim (JCC) 3-2.
CLASS A FINALS:
160: P. Moore (JCC) dec. Crow (R/U) 8-3; 170: Norland (JCC) major dec. Thom (St. C/Loy) 13-6; 182: K. Moore (JCC) pin Wentzlaff (SE) :32.