The 120-pound Sykora kept his bid for a fourth consecutive Class 1A state championship alive with a pair of victories Friday, including a 15-0 technical fall over Ryan Killeen of Spectrum in the quarterfinals.
Sykora said Racer’s transfer wasn’t a distraction at all. In fact, it turned out to be a boon.
“It’s actually helped,” said Sykora, now 33-0 this season. “Not only is Dayton a great kid, but it’s nice to have a practice partner to work with.”
It’s been a little different this year for Jackson County Central brothers Paden and Keegan Moore. For the first time since 2009, their team did not win the Class 1A team championship. The Moores — Paden is a junior 152-pounder, Keegan a sophomore at 170 — have been part of all four championships. Not taking home a first-place trophy has thrown in an extra dash of motivation.
“It’s left a little bit of a bad taste in our mouths,” said Paden, 41-3 going into today’s semifinals. “It’s made us more hungry.”
Keegan is 46-0 and also in the individual semifinals.
’13 champions fare well
Of the 13 returning state champions in Classes 1A and 2A, 12 are still alive in the hunt for another title.
Seven are in the 1A semifinals: Austin Anderly, Le Sueur-Henderson, 113 pounds; Sykora, 120; Louie Sanders, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 120; Quinten Berres, Kimball, 132; Larry Bomstad, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, 145; Nathan Rose, Sibley East, 195, and Lucas Damm, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, 220.
The only returning champion to lose was Delano freshman Tucker Sjomeling.
He was undefeated and ranked No. 1 at 106 pounds but lost 11-9 to Kasson-Mantorville’s Keaton Schoor in the first round.
The other four defending champions in Class 2A semifinals: Anthony Luft, Worthington, 126; Lance Benick, Totino-Grace, 195; Clay Broze, Cannon Falls, 220; and Stoll.