ST. PAUL — Nine. Count ‘em. Nine southwest Minnesota high school Class A wrestlers advanced to the semifinals Friday at the state wrestling tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Pipestone Area’s two-time champions, Michael Suda at 126 pounds and Hunter Burnett at 132, stayed alive for possible third consecutive individual crowns. And a third PA matman, 182-pounder Garrett Ploeger, also won twice on Friday to gain a semifinal bout.
Jackson County Central qualified two wrestlers for the semis, Jacob Tvinnereim at 152 and Dalton Wagner at 195. So did Windom/Mountain Lake with Brett Willaby at 113 and Alex Borsgard at 138.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Derreck Ellingson will get into the semifinals at 126 pounds. And Nick Altermatt of Wabasso/Red Rock Central will compete at 170 pounds in the semis.
Action resumes today, culminating in place-winners from first to sixth.
Willaby won two matches convincingly on Friday, beating Gabe Geiser of New York Mills 14-4 and Carter Jonsagaard of Lewiston-Altura-Rushford-Peterson 17-3. He will take a 39-3 record into his semifinal match today against Ben Naddy (37-1) of Ottertail Central.
Borsgard beat Jonathan Tostenson of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 3-0 before decisioning Payton Schiefelbein of Kimball Area 3-1. He owns a 39-4 record, and he’ll wrestle Gage Zieske of Osakis (43-1) in the semifinals.
Borsgard’s match with Schiefelbein was played close to the vest.
“He was a very defensive wrestler. It was hard to get him out of position,” said Borsgard, a junior. “In the first period I was experimenting, trying to get something.”
The match was scoreless after the first period.
Borsgard considers himself now a better wrestler than he was last year when he achieved a fifth-place finish.
“I’ve gotten better on the bottom, for sure. I’ve improved on my feet, too. I’ve improved my arsenal, I’ve got a couple more set-ups,” he declared.
Suda can score in bunches, and he did again on Friday, first with a 17-6 major decision over Nate Williams of Crosby-Ironton and second with a 20-10 major over Cole Rasmussen of Triton.
The Arrow dynamo will take a 38-3 record with him against Tanner Schermerhorn of Frazee today. Schermerhorn is 44-4.
Suda sat out a couple of matches before the section tournament due to sore ribs. He has them wrapped this week, and he’s feeling good.
“I felt real good out there,” he said after his quarterfinal match. “I knew what I had to do, what were my best moves out there, and just did what I had to do.
“He wanted to make a big move on me. They all have their own style to slow me down. … I just have to give it 100 percent all the time, wear ‘em out as much as I can.”
For the semifinals, he shared a warning for his opponent, who likes to attempt low picks.
“He’s gotta get extra low to get them on me.”
Burnett beat Nolan Rommel of Wabasha-Kellogg with a 20-5 technical fall (5:44) in his opener. He then pinned Shawn Rue of Paynesville Area in 5:19.
His next opponent will be Nate Hart of Ottertail Central. Hart is 46-1. Burnett is 42-2.
The third Pipestone Area semifinalist, Ploeger, pinned Thomas Battcher in 1:18 to open his portion of the individual tournament. He then decisioned Michael Nelson of Dover-Eyota 11-5.
Ploeger will bring a 36-7 record into the semifinals against Holt Truax (42-0) of Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale.
Jackson County Central’s Jacob Tvinnereim was a 4-2 winner over David Seymour of Caledonia-Houston early Friday, then a 3-2 winner over Dylan Rudringen of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg later. He will take a 47-5 record with him in the semifinals against 41-5 Zach Buseman of Blue Earth Area.
The Huskies’ Dalton Wagner was overpowering in his two matches. He pinned Hunter Jennings of Triton-Dodge Center in 3:23 to start, then pinned Andrew Schauer of Sibley East in 2:43, rolling up a 10-3 lead before putting Schauer on his back.
Wagner, 11-0, missed much of the 2017-18 season while suspended. But he’s back now, with a vengeance, and gets ready to wrestle Jake Ubert (37-3) of Fosston-Bagley in the semifinals.
“Ever since I got back, I was focused on what I have to do,” Wagner said. “I like to go out and just wrestle my match. Go out, score first, then they have to come to me. Just attack.”
He didn’t yet know who his semifinal opponent was moments after walking off the mat a second time on Friday.
“I don’t think about it. I just go out and do my stuff,” he explained.
Ellingson beat Jamaal Baird of Deer River 4-3 in his opener at 126 pounds. Next, he beat Kaleb Getz of West Central Area 6-0. He’ll take a 35-6 record into the semifinal match against Blake Legred (38-5) of United South Central.
Wabasso/RRC’s Nick Altermatt topped Tim Lewis of Sibley East with a fall in 3:42, then advanced past Joe Dezelar of Badger-GB-MR by injury at 1:58. Altermatt is 33-1, and his semifinal opponent, Jaden Kindopp of Canby, is 35-11.To wrestlebacks
Three area Class A wrestlers were eliminated after losing their initial matches. Logan Taylor of Adrian lost 8-2 to Michael Miller of Frazee and was out of the tournament after Miller lost his next match. Grant Budden of Pipestone Area lost 8-6 to Jorge Hernandez of LeSueur-Henderson at 120 and exited. So did Jared Schropfer of Wabasso/Red Rock Central after falling to Matt Ziebell of Pelican Rapids 14-10 at 160.
Several other area matmen participated in wrestlebacks Friday night.
Ayden Horner of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove beat Trevor Michienzi of Deer River 5-0 at 106, then lost to Seth Goetzinger of Chatfield, 6-2. He lost his wrestleback 4-3 to Sibley East’s Drayden Morton.
Zach Spinks of Windom/Mountain Lake lost his first match at 145, 5-3 in overtime to Lukas Meier of Crookston. He lost in the wrestlebacks in a 2:50 fall to Tyler Spolarich of Aitkin.
Another 145-pounder, Anthony Axford of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove beat Devin Dean of Bertha-Hewitt 7-3, then lost to Jake Mandt of Chatfield 7-2. He beat Ayden Friese of Quad County in the wrestlebacks, 2-1.
Nash Meyer of T-M-B/W-WG was beaten 9-0 by Kelby O’Reilly of Goodhue at 160 and lost in the wrestlebacks 9-1 against Ian Frenzel.
Tyler Timm of T-B-B/W-WG was pinned by Will Storch of WEM-JWP in 1:55 at 220. He lost by fall in the wrestlebacks against Luke Tweeton of Frazee in a fall at 4:27.
Scot Edwards of Adrian won his first match at 285 pounds with a 35-second fall against Austin Streich of Sibley East. He was pinned in his second match, by Craig Orlando of Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale, in 2:43. He had a lead in the wrestlebacks when he was turned and pinned by Zach Evans of Badger-GB-MR in 2:55.