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Prep Wrestling: KMS heads back to state

The Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg wrestling team celebrates its victory in the Section 3A championship match on Saturday in Benson. The Saints defeated Wabasso/Red Rock Central 30-26 and returns to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament for the first time since the team won the Class A title in 2009. Tribune photo by Tom Larson.

BENSON -- The referee slapped the mat, Chase Norton had his match-clinching pin and the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg wrestling team had earned its way back to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament.

Aaron Collins won a key match at 132 pounds and the Saints took four of the final six matches to defeat Wabasso/Red Rock Central 30-26 in the Section 3A title match Saturday at Benson High School.

The victory avenged a one-point loss to WRRC in last season's section semifinals and a two-point loss to the Bobcats earlier this season. KMS, now 16-2 in duals, returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2009, when the Saints won the Class A championship.

The Saints defeated defending section champ Minneota 39-22 in Saturday’s semifinals while WRRC overwhelmed Pipestone 56-10. WRRC then lost in the section title match for a second-straight year and suffered its first loss in 28 duals this season.

The Section 3A individual tournament is Friday and Saturday in Pipestone.

KMS was missing Jared Krieger and Kyle Baker and also had to forfeit the heavyweight match in the 31-29 loss to the Bobcats on Jan. 8. In last year’s section semis, KMS won eight of 14 individual matches but pins killed the Saints in the Bobcats’ 30-29 victory.

“We felt real good going into this,” said KMS head coach Wes Haglund “These guys were ready. They deserve this. They worked hard for this every day. This was their goal all year.”

Rather than jinxed, the Saints felt confident facing the Bobcats.

“We were always confident,” said 170-pounder Jordan Rothers, who broke a 17-17 tie with a major decision over WRRC’s Blake Altermatt. “We’ve always been close, we just had to get everybody healthy. We knew we could do it, we just had to get everybody out there and do it.”

WRRC picked up two decisions to open the match but KMS’ Nick Meyer and Cody Peters countered with wins at 120 and 126 to give KMS a 7-6 lead.

Collins got the KMS contingent in the packed gym rocking with his against-the-odds win at 132.

Collins trailed the Bobcats' Derek Christians 4-0 after the first period, with two of the points coming on a near fall. Collins was still down 4-1 late in the match when he turned the tables, wrapped up Christian and pinned him with just 1:22 remaining. Had Christians been able to hang on, KMS would have been trailing by two instead of leading by seven.

“He’s so good at that move,” Haglund said. “When he got (Christian’s) legs locked up, I was thinking, ‘We might have something here.’ ”

WRRC scored 11 points with wins at 138, 145 and 152 to take the lead, but the Saints’ Zach Carlson's major decision at 160 tied the match at 17-17 and Rothers earned his major decision at 170 to put KMS ahead for good.

At 195, the Saints’ Jorge Munoz-Peterson won a tough, tense 3-1 match with KMS leading 21-20. As it was with Collins’ match, Munoz-Peterson’s win was pivotal

“I just treat every match the same,” Munoz-Peterson said. “You can’t get nervous. I think we knew we’d have a better chance against (the Bobcats) this year.”

Norton needed only a decision to lock up the match but he was aggressive throughout, building an 8-2 lead before sticking Jared Welch at 3:25.

“I wanted it,” Norton said. “We had confidence all the way through the match. We found motivation after the first (WRRC) match this season.”

Section 3A Championship

KMS 30, Wabasso/RCC 26

106: Mitchell Fulton, W, dec. Caleb Collins 7-2

113: Spencer Jenniges, W, dec. Jordan Engler 10-4

120: Nick Meyer, K, dec. Josh Altermatt 6-2

126: Cody Peters, K, dec. Caleb Kemp 17-3

132: Aaron Collins, K, pin Derek Christians 4:38

138: T.J. Fulton, W, maj. dec. Jared Krieger 20-6

145: Tanner Rohlik, W, maj. dec. Fred Mansfield 11-1

152: Mitchell Schroepfer, W, dec. Kyle Baker 3-2

160: Zach Carlson, K, maj. dec. Dominic Ourada 18-7

170: Jordan Rothers, K, maj. dec. Blake Altermatt 14-4

182: Jordan Schroepfer, W, dec. Austin Rothers 8-1

195: Jorge Munoz-Peterson, K, dec. Brady Bierl 3-1

220: Chase Norton, K, pin Jared Welch 3:25

285: Alex Schroepfer, W, pin Colton Kinney 0:26

Section 3A Semifinals

KMS 39, Minneota 22

106: Brock Buysse, M, pin Caleb Collins 1:34

113: Jordan Engler, K, dec. Eric Hauswedell 8-2

120: Nick Meyer, K, dec. Landyn Van Overbeke 6-1

126: Cody Peters, K, dec. Bryce Brunner 1-0

132: Alec Engler, M, pin Aaron Collins 5:41

138: Cole Hennen, M, dec. Jared Krieger 5-0

145: Kyle Baker, K, dec. Nicholas Esping 6-5

152: Zach Carlson, K, pin Grant Abraham 0:54

160: Travis Lamecker, K, dec. Justin Van Keulen 5-0

170: Jordan Rothers, K, pin Everett Van Hecke 0:43

182: Nathan Bueltel, M, dec. Karter Van Heuveln 6-1

195: Isaac Josephson, M, tech. fall Austin Rothers 5:59

220: Chase Norton, K, pin Jameson Hettling 0:15

285: Colton Kinney, K, pin Doug Van Keulen 5:01

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372