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New Prague wrestlers score dramatic win

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM
  • Star Tribune
  • January 15, 2013 - 4:15 PM

New Prague's wrestling team had to get its shoulders off the mat if it wanted to remain unbeaten.

The Class 2A, No. 5 Trojans trailed fourth-ranked Scott West 27-13 with three matches remaining. They hadn't defeated Scott West since 1998.

The Trojans pulled off the improbable. They won the last three matches, pulling out a wild, 28-27 victory.

"The victory was a team victory; every wrestler played their role," Trojans coach Greg Tikalsky said. "Going into the match, we believed they were favored in five matches and we were favored in five and four matches were a tossup.

"There were not many surprises. The difference was bonus points. The team knew going into the match that we needed bonus points wherever possible, and the team responded."

Junior Zach Lafavor won the deciding match, recording a second-period pin at 285 pounds.

"Of course, the heavyweight matches are often times the most dramatic and this was no exception," Tikalsky said.

"We needed a pin to win at heavyweight. Zach came out with a lot of adrenaline and was thrown on his back right away. He did fight off of his back and made it safely out of the first period. In the second period, he got the pin we needed."

In the prior two matches, senior Cody Sirek posted a 5-0 victory at 195 pounds and junior Nathan Preston recorded a pin in 30 seconds at 220 pounds. Sirek was in the lineup for the first time in a month since suffering a concussion.

Top runner

Shakopee senior Maria Hauger added one more award to her collection prior to naming her college of choice. Hauger recently was named the state's Gatorade girls' cross-country runner of the year.

Hauger became the first girl to win four consecutive Class 2A individual state championships. She covered the 4,000-meter course in a record time of 13 minutes, 42 seconds, which was 12 seconds faster than the previous mark.

"Maria Hauger is a humble, hard-working athlete and a true role model," Shakopee coach Mark Neu said. "She is 100 percent dedicated to making herself better at everything shoe does."

Hauger, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average in the classroom, took third place in the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships in San Diego in the first week of December. She finished 5 seconds behind the winner on the 5,000-meter course.

She is expected to name her college choice later this month. Her top four schools are Florida State, Iowa State, Virginia and Minnesota.

Top performances

• Tommy Anderson, a freshman on the Eagan/Eastview cooperative boys' Alpine ski team, won the Buck Hill Invitational. Anderson, who finished 11th in last year's state meet, posted an overall time of 44.19 seconds over his two runs.

• Eastview boys' hockey goaltender Zachary Driscoll turned in a performance he won't soon forget. Driscoll, a sophomore, made 64 saves as the Lightning upset Class 2A, No. 5 Eagan 4-2 in South Suburban Conference play.

Ron Haggstrom • 612-673-4498

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