New Prague wrestling coach Greg Tikalsky was impressed with the Trojans’ determination from the outset of the season. It paid off for the Missota Conference school.
The Trojans earned their first state team tournament appearance since 1999 with a 43-17 victory over Watertown-Mayer in the Class 2A, Section 2 championship.
The fourth-ranked Trojans also earned the No. 4 seed in the eight-team field, and will meet Adrian in the quarterfinals.
“There is a buzz around the community and the school. We’ve developed quite a fan base,” Tikalsky said. “It’s fun to hear students in class talk about the wrestling team. It has given our kids a sense of pride in calling themselves a New Prague wrestler.”
The state team tournament will be held on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center. The top three seeds are Kasson-Mantorville, Simley and Foley.
“The team has high expectations going into the state tournament,” Tikalsky said. “We’ve faced stiff competition throughout the season, and look forward to another opportunity to challenge our abilities at state.”
The Trojans also had four wrestlers qualify for the individual portion of the state tournament by placing in the top two at the section meet. They are freshman Griffin Parriott (champion at 120 pounds), sophomore James Berg (runner-up at 126), senior Morgan Parriott (runner-up at 152) and junior Nathan Preston (runner-up at 220). The individual state tournament will be held on Friday and Saturday.
• Northfield sophomore Bailey DuPay is quickly climbing the ladder of the greatest athletes in school history. DuPay won the all-around title with a mark of 38.875 in the Class 2A gymnastics state meet on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. She earned a standing ovation with a near-perfect floor exercise routine, registering a winning score of 9.9. DuPay also won the balance beam competition with a mark of 9.55. In the fall, the 5-foot-4 DuPay won her second consecutive Class 1A diving championship at the state swimming meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
• Sticking with the state tournament theme, Lakeville North senior goaltender Cassie Alexander turned in a record-setting performance in the semifinals of the Class 2A girls’ hockey state tournament on Friday at Xcel Energy Center. Alexander made a state-tournament-record 57 saves as the Panthers dropped a heart-breaking 4-3 decision in six overtimes to three-time state champion Minnetonka. It was the longest game in girls’ hockey state tournament history. The Panthers, who also lost to the Skippers 2-1 in overtime in the state tournament semifinals in 2012, wound up finishing third.