Prep Wrestling: Falcons drop close match in consolations
ST. PAUL — The Falcons' flight at the Class A state tournament was clipped short when they ran into perennial powerhouse Frazee Thursday in the quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
ACGC opened the match with 10 points through the first five weight classes, sporting a 10-8 lead, but it was all Hornets after that. Frazee rattled off 33 unanswered points to take the 41-10 victory.
ACGC kept things close on a match-by-match basis, losing by one or two points in five of the 14 matches.
"For the most part I think we wrestled pretty good," said ACGC head coach Mike Amsden. "We just didn't have the firepower that they had. I can't complain with how we wrestled. We just didn't win some of the matches I really expected us to win, but overall I'm proud of the way we wrestled."
Amsden noted prior to Thursday's match that his team's relative inexperience on the big stage could play a factor. Frazee, the No. 2 seed in the Class A tournament, has competed as a team 25 times since 1987, with scores of individual competitors, including 10 scheduled to compete in Friday's individual tournament. The Falcons, on the other hand, have two wrestlers left over from their most recent trip to the tournament in 2015.
"Our kids were kinda looking around, looking in the stands, a little starstruck I guess," Amsden said. "Overall, we wrestled well, they just had more experience and they took it to us."
The Falcons only wrestled four seniors in the opening round, though, meaning Thursday morning proved to be a chance to learn for a slew of young wrestlers. As expected, Kelvin Andrade-Ponce provided some punch at 106 pounds, earning an 11-3 major decision victory to get the Falcons started on the right path. Jake Mortensen ran into a buzzsaw at 113 pounds in Michael Miller, a state-bound individual with a 36-5 record. He salvaged a decision to keep the Falcons up, paving the way for Ramzee Molinaro's 12-6 decision victory at 120 pounds.
Tanner Schermerhorn proved to be every bit as impressive as his resume at 126 pounds, taking a 17-1 tech fall over fellow individual state tournament competitor Hayden Straumann.
One of the highlights of ACGC's quarterfinal match, however, came via eighth grader Jaxon Behm, who battled for a 7-2 sudden victory at 132 pounds over Kaden Hiemenz (33-12).
"I did not expect us to win at 132 pounds, Jaxon came up big for us," said ACGC head coach Mike Amsden. "Jaxon showed a lot of improvement this year. He's one of the guys that has come a long way this year. He's been on varsity maybe 15 times this year but every match he seems to get better. He's really good on top and doesn't get turned easily. He came up big. Once we won that one, I thought things would flip for us there."
Frazee refused to let the momentum take over, though, bouncing back with a tightly-fought 2-1 decision victory at 145 pounds to take the lead for good.
With the loss, ACGC moved on to take on Blackduck-Cass Lake Bena in the consolation bracket, a dual in which they fell just short 30-27. Andrade-Ponce earned a pin to start things off and he was joined by Tanner Berghuis (220) and Jordon Schultz (285) with pins as well.
"We needed to make something happen so we moved everyone up and we just couldn't handle losing the weight," Amsden said. "Even if we win one of those, we win the dual. It was a learning experience for me, too. We've been bumping up all year. You can bump up with teams around the area but once you get down to state it's a different animal."
Regardless of the 0-2 finish, the Falcons have plenty to feel good about moving into the coming seasons. In addition to the wrestlers that contributed to the Section 4A title, ACGC also featured a ninth grade team that took second in the state in all classes recently.
"We plan on coming back (to the state tournament) a couple of years in a row," Amsden said. "We've got a really strong group of young guys coming up and our guys today continue to get better. They're hungry. The future is bright."
Six members of the current Falcons hope their near future is as bright as the coming years, too. They'll compete in Friday's Class A individual state tournament. Andrade-Ponce (106), Mortensen (113), Molinaro (120), Straumann (126), CJ Toedter (182) and Berghuis (220) all will look to make a run of their own starting a 1 p.m. Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Frazee 41, ACGC 10
106: Kelvin Andrade-Ponce, A, maj dec Christian Carlson 11-3
113: Michael Miller, F, dec Jake Mortensen 9-2
120: Ramzee Molinaro, A, dec Lukas Volstad 12-6
126: Tanner Schermerhorn, F, tech fall Hayden Straumann 17-1
132: Jaxon Behm, A, sudden victory Kaden Hiemenz 7-2
138: Carter Shipman, F, dec Skye Powers 2-1
145: Ricky Roforth, F, dec Chase Arndt 7-2
152: Hudson Hiemenz, F, dec Taylor Fester 2-1
160: Tanner Eischens, F, dec Levi Lund 9-4
170: Logan Wacker, F, ultimate tie breaker Cullen Lewis 7-5
182: Brett Graham, F, dec CJ Toedter 4-3
195: Gabe Drewes, F, pin Logan Sherwood 1:09
220: Luke Tweeton, F, dec Tanner Berghuis 3-1
285: Tanner Tappe, F, pin Jonathon Behm 0:52
Blackduck-Cass Lake Bena 30,
106: Kelvin Andrade-Ponce, A, pin Christian Pater 0:35
113: Trevor Janssen, B, tech fall Brady Holien 20-1
120: Christian Schmidt, B, dec Jake Mortensen 4-1
126: Michael Staples, B, dec Ramzee Molinaro 6-4
132: Trenten Juelson, B, maj dec Hayden Straumann 14-6
138: Skye Powers, A, dec Xayvion Rodgers 6-4
145: Lucas Reiplinger, B, dec Chase Arndt 8-1
152: Taylor Fester, A, dec Logan Dobmeier 5-2
160: Ian Frenzel, B, dec Levi Lund 7-1
170: Cullen Lewis, A, dec Michael Juelson 8-3
182: Mason Smid, B, dec CJ Toedter 10-8
195: Hunter Wilcowski, B, pin Logan Sherwood 0:38
220: Tanner Berghuis, A, pin Brayden Rose 1:11
285: Jordon Schultz, A, pin Jaccob Nattrass 1:18