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Class 1A wrestling state meet preview: Jackson County wants to prove dynasty status awaited

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ
  • Star Tribune
  • February 28, 2013 - 12:50 AM

A fourth consecutive state championship would confirm to the state what most of Jackson County already believes.

The Huskies are Minnesota's new wrestling dynasty.

With a large group of seniors and the No. 1 seed, it's expected Jackson County Central will reach this status after Thursday's state wrestling team tournament at Xcel Energy Center.

"We're going for our fourth straight title. That's never happened at our school in any sport," senior and defending individual champion Darick Vancura (170 pounds) said. "We're making tradition for ourselves."

Producing such results hasn't happened easily.

Jackson County Central's first taste of back-to-back championships (1999, 2000) as a co-op of Southwest Star Concept of Okabena faded as the Huskies attempted to survive on their own. For the next seven years the program restructured itself under the guidance of Randy Baker, who began to ask much more of his wrestlers.

Wrestling is no longer just a seasonal sport at Jackson County . Training was also amplified to reach certain standards. The Huskies have won four of the past five team titles.

"It's a tremendous amount of work," Baker said. "I'm sure it's like that with the highest-level hockey programs and basketball programs. They demand a little bit more at that level."

Being recognized as "pretty good" is no longer adequate for Baker, Vancura and the two other top-seeded Huskies, Elliot Jurries (132 pounds) and Luke Norland (152 pounds). There is a lot of "pretty good," they said, but not many Simleys or Apple Valleys.

Jackson County Central is 23-2, having lost to Class 2A power Simley and to a ranked team from Iowa.

Vancura said he isn't overlooking Barnesville's experience, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's deep lineup or Chatfield's 29-1 record.

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