Totino-Grace’s strength at the upper weights was emphasized in the Eagles’ 34-31 victory over Perham in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Perham won seven of the first nine matches and led 31-9 going into the 170-pound match. Totino-Grace’s Jared Florell won comfortably, 13-7 over Perham’s Patrick Glynn, starting a string of five straight victories. Three of them were pins, the last by Sam Anderson at heavyweight, pushed the Eagles over the top.
In the semifinals, Totino-Grace won four of its final five matches, but lost to Simley, which advanced to the finals with a 45-18 victory.
Jackson County Central sophomore Matt Strom had just two victories this season going into his 195-pound match in the Class 1A quarterfinals. His opponent, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Ari Harnitz, had won 15 times.
But Strom wrestled the best match of his high school career, pinning Harnitz with 30 seconds left in the third period. It gave the No. 5-seeded Huskies a 13-point lead, 35-22, and they needed every single point.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, the No. 4-seed, got pins at the final two weights, cutting JCC’s margin of victory to one point, 35-34.
Thinking team first
A heart condition nearly sidelined Minneota senior Alec Engler. The No. 2-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds in Class 1A,
Engler was told he had to cut back on his wrestling. He did, forgoing personal glory to wrestle for the team.
His 2-1 victory over Freedom Hunt of Zumbrota-Mazeppa was crucial to the Vikings’ 31-30 victory in the Class 1A championship match. “He just found out this year,” head coach Joel Skillings said.
“He said he wouldn’t wrestle individuals anymore, just team. That says a lot about the kinds of kids we have.”
Who’s third, fifth
In third-place matches, Prior Lake downed Willmar 46-20 in Class 3A, Scott West held off Totino-Grace 42-31 in 2A and Jackson County Central defeated Frazee 40-31 in 1A
In the consolation finals, Moorhead beat Farmington 33-29 in 3A, Perham downed Foley 30-26 in 2A and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial beat West Central Area 40-17 in 1A.