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Cardinals' lone senior Fagerstrom gets reward

Adam Fagerstrom

Adam Fagerstrom is on the state wrestling mats today needing one win to hit the century mark.

"This is my last chance. It's win or go home," said the Cardinals' 135-pounder.

He sat in the Xcel Energy Center stands the past two years.

"It's some scene," he says of the four-day, three-class wrestle- down.

Four Cardinal wrestlers got to state this year. Willmar's last qualifier was in 2007 when Andrew Larson finished runner-up at 145 pounds.

Sophomore Alex Johannes at 119 and juniors Seth Pollock at 125 and Nathanial Swoyer at 171 join Fagerstrom for the Class AAA tournament.

Fagerstrom is a five-time letterwinner, the only senior on coach Casey Johnson's squad.

He's taken his bumps. He was the only eighth-grader wrestling varsity in 2005-06. The 103-pound starter logged five wins and 16 defeats.

"I remember getting pounded on in practice and meets by older kids," the wrestler said.

He won 20 matches the next year, 27 as a sophomore but slipped to 19 last year when he wrestled at 130 pounds. He's 27-14 this year.

Slight of build, he nonetheless started at outside linebacker this fall. The football program listed him at 5-10, 150 pounds.

"I just loved being on defense and getting my nose in there," he reminisced. "I love to hit. Size didn't matter that much. If I could get lower, I could tackle them."

The three-sport athlete started at third base last spring for the Cardinals' baseball team.

His plans are to attend UW-Stout to study food science.

"I have a passion for food," he said. "I might play baseball or football, but not wrestle."

Willmar wrestling is on the rebound after two tough years.

"We've made big strides," said Fagerstrom. "We were .500 this year and with everyone else back, Willmar should compete for the section title. Coach Johnson has turned it around."

Swoyer and Johannes are leaders in the wrestling room, he said.

Johannes and Pollock are wrestling-room partners.

Fagerstrom needed a true-second match to punch his ticket for state. He won 5-0 late Saturday at Bemidji in the Section 8AAA tournament.

"Coming home, that was the best van ride ever," he recalled. "I couldn't sleep. We were so hyped. I can't wait to get down to state."

On the fly

- Central Lakes Conference Top Performers last week from Willmar: senior guard Mariel Aamot (girls basketball, offense) had season-high 15 points, plus three assists, and senior guard Hannah Smith (girls basketball, defense), had six rebounds and three steals in a win over Rocori; junior forward Landon Peterson (boys hockey, offense) scored two goals in overtime section game at Detroit Lakes.

- Dan Tollefson, Willmar hockey coach, was honored on Feb. 20 before Bemidji State's final game at John S. Glas Fieldhouse. He and other captains from the Beavers' 13 national champion teams were introduced before the game. Tollefson was a captain on the 1993 team that won the Division II championship. The Bea-vers move into the city-owned Bemidji Regional Events Center and the WCHA in 2010-2011

- Correction: the special granite stones those curlers were nursing down the ice in a photo taken at the Civic Center last week weighs 40 pounds, not 38, and there are 18 teams in league, not 16.

- Senior captain Erin Sheehan attended the Ms. Hockey banquet on Saturday and accepted the Class A Team Academic State Champion Award on behalf of her Cardinal teammates.

- Jordan Smith leads the St. Cloud State University Huskies (8-2) at the plate so far in winter ball. In 10 starts, he's hitting .484 on 15 of 31 with 12 RBI. Senior Tyler Horning is hitting .444 in six games. The Huskies are at an invitational in Springfield, Mo., Friday through Monday.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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