Weather Forecast


Prep wrestling: Cards finish sixth at state

Willmar’s 145-pounder Estevan Navarro works over Maple Grove’s Robert Morgan during a 6-1 decision that gave Willmar a 16-11 lead in the Class AAA consolation semifinals on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

ST. PAUL — For the second year in a row, the Moorhead Spuds yanked the consolation hardware away from the Willmar Cardinals at the Class AAA state wrestling meet.

Each team won seven matches Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center, but the difference was in bonus points in the 30-26 victory for the Section 8AAA champs. No. 7-ranked Willmar was favored as the fifth seed while the Spuds were one of the three unseeded teams.

“It was tight,” said Ed Oehlers, Willmar’s co-head coach with Justin Brown.

“It’s easy to critique where things didn’t go our way and we will eventually, but we’re proud of these kids and all the fan support. We just want to keep building the program.”

The Cardinals, who finish 20-5, fell behind 9-0 at the start, got a minor decision from senior Austin Miley at 126 to get on the board. After a Spud pin at 132, Willmar wrestler posted five straight wins starting with senior Zach Leuders at 138, a 7-6 decision. Junior Estevan Navarro followed with a lightning stick to make it 15-12 Spuds. Junior Travis Deegan followed with a major for a Willmar 16-15 lead and sophomore Colten Carlson worked hard to gain a major at the buzzer for a 20-15 advantage through 160. Junior Vaughn Johnson took down Joe Grove (30-6) by a 12-6 score making it 23-15, but the run had produced only eight bonus points, leaving the lead shaky.

The Spuds (22-4), often reflecting  the intensity exhibited by their coach, New London-Spicer graduate Skip Toops, got back-to-back sticks at 182 and 195 to regain the lead at 27-23. Brody Jerome decisioned junior Matt Hennes 7-3 for the clinching points. Senior Leon Richards, the Willmar heavyweight, won his third match of the day to bring the final gap down to 30-26.

In a dual in which every one of the 14 weights loomed large, what was the biggest in the eyes of the Moorhead head coach?

He pointed to seventh-grader Riley Schock’s 4-3 win with a late reversal to beat junior Juan Resendez. And he mentioned the importance of bonus points, earning them or saving them: “When you get a guy on his back, pin ‘em.”

At 113, Willmar freshman Jacob Bollig started slow falling behind 8-1 and trailing 8-3 with a minute left in the match. Suddenly, he took over the bout. He put Ethan Tallakson on his back for near-fall points and it looked like he would get the pin when the clock ran out losing 9-8, a six-point swing early that might have made the difference.

It was that kind of dual.

Miley at 126, Navarro at 138, Deegan at 152, Carlson at 160, Johnson at 170, Hennes at 220 and Richards at 285 get to continue their season today and Saturday as they qualified for the state individual tournament at last Saturday’s Section 6AAA tourney.

Moorhead 30,

Willmar 26

106: Grant Brendemuhl, M, dec Clay Carlson 7-4

113: Ethan Tallakson, M, dec Jacob Bollig 9-8

120: Riley Shrock, M, dec Juan Resendez 5-4

126: Austin Miley, W, dec Matthew Sollid 7-3

132: Kenny Mark, M, pin Logan Walkow 3:20

138: Zach Lueders, W, dec Jack Lien 7-6

145: Estevan Navarro, W, pin Wyatt Hanson 3:35

152: Travis Deegan, W, maj R.J. Olson 13-5

160: Colten Carlson, W, maj Grant Trowbridge 12-3

170: Vaughn Johnson, W, dec Joseph Grove 12-6

182: Samuel Grove, M, pin Kory Welgraven 2:50

195: Ryan Schock, M, pin Jalen Cabrera 0:54

220: Brody Jerome, M, dec Matt Hennes 8-3

285: Leon Richards, W, dec Brenden Edner 8-6

Consolation Semifinals

Willmar 36,

Maple Grove 26

Maple Grove was down 32-11 after 170 but the Crimson won three straight to put Richards on the spot with Willmar up 32-26, but the senior heavyweight never wavered, collecting a 12-1 major.

Maple Lake got two quick majors that trailed Clay Carlson’s 5-3 overtime win at 106 to grab an early 8-3 lead. The Cardinals then got a first-period pin from Miley at 126 and a 14-6 major from Logan Walkow at 132 to go back on top.

A little later Estevan Navarro’s 6-1 decision at 145 started a four-match win streak that took the score from 13-11 to 31-11 in the Cardinals’ favor. Pins from Deegan at 152 and Colten at 160, and a major at 170 from Johnson trailed Navarro’s win.

106: Clay Carlson, W, dec Brad Osatuik 5-3 ot

113: Tyler Shilson, M, maj Juan Resendez 11-3

120: Jack Herbes, M, maj Jacob Bollig 15-6

126: Austin Miley, W, pin Tyler Rengel 1:30

132: Logan Walkow, W, maj Theo Gee 14-6

138: Logan Dick, M, dec Zach Lueders 5-1

145: Estevan Navarro, W, dec Robert Morgan 6-1

152: Travis Deegan, W, pin Elijah Solomon 4:37

160: Colten Carlson, W, pin Jebah Doe 5:30

170: Vaughn Johnson, W, maj Billy Herbert 12-1

182: Jason Chisato-Rodvik, M, pin Kory Welgraven 5:18

195: Tahi Nomane, M, dec Jalen Cabrera 5-3

220: Taylor Tison, M, pin Matt Hennes 2:34

285: Leon Richards, W, maj Barry Ndip 12-1


Hastings 42, Willmar 21

The Cardinals, looking flat, fell behind 12-0 to start out and through 152 pounds they were looking at a 25-6 gap, after losing a pair of one-point matches at 113 and 152.

It was expected to be close, but Hastings had no vulnerable weights at the first seven classes and matched Willmar at the top each winning three bouts from 160 on.

Miley stopped the Raiders’ run at the beginning by earning a 6-1 decision at 126. A couple of weights later Estevan Navarro won a 9-3 decision at 138.

The Cardinals’ three other wins came from first-period pins at 160 from Carlson and 285 from Richards, and a 16-7 major at 182 from Johnson.

106: Adam McSorley, H, pin Israel Navarro 2:23

113: Spencer Kopp, H, dec Juan Resendez 5-4

120: Luis Sanchez, H, dec Jacob Bolling 7-1

126: Austin Miley, W, dec Kyle Erickson 6-1

132: Luke Rowh, H, tcfl Zach Lueders 22-9

138: Estevan Navarro, W, dec Austin Eichmann 9-3

145: Jake Anderson, H, pin Eli Gunderson 3:28

152: Jake Johnson, H, dec Travis Deegan 4-3

160: Colten Carlson, W, pin Stuart Mattison 1:14

170: Dan Marquette, H, tcfl Kory Welgraven 5:38

182: Vaughn Johnson, W, maj Mark Vaith 16-7

195: Cullin Brendeland, H, pin Jalen Cabrera 4:46

220: Tony Lodermeier, H, pin Matt Hennes 2:27

285: Leon Richards, W, pin Edison Duong 1:09

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. 
(320) 214-4334