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Young guns head to nationals

ROCHESTER -- Seven freshmen and one sophomore make up Ridgewater's national delegation for the NJCAA Wrestling Tournament beginning today.

"It's exciting to be going down with such a young team," said Ridgewater wrestling coach Tom Beyer. "They've wrestled some great competition, from Division II and III four-year colleges and we wrestled well at the national qualifier."

District 13 that the Warriors will compete in features Division I Iowa junior colleges. Last year, the district had 25 percent of the overall All-Americas.

The tournament is held over two days at the University Center/Rochester-Sports Center.

Each weight class is expected to have between 26 and 28 wrestlers. Eight wrestlers will advance to Saturday's quarterfinals undefeated, plus wrestlers alive in the wrestlebacks.

There are no easy draws at nationals, but Tyler Stempler at 141 pounds has one of the toughest. He meets returning national champion Aaron Senzee of Meremac in the first round.

The Warriors' lineup for nationals with hometown and record:

133 pounds: Jake Patnode, Brainerd (21-14)

141 pounds: Tyler Stempler, Caledonia (16-14)

149 pounds: Trevor Krueger, Barnesville (20-11)

157 pounds: Chase Tempel, Aberdeen, S.D. (20-29)

165 pounds: Trent Molacek, Willmar (16-9)

174 pounds: Martin Hagen, Yellow Medicine East (13-15)

197 pounds: Greg Arnt, North Branch (17-15)

Heavyweight: Cody Kinney, Kerkhoven (22-16)