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MINNEAPOLIS — Willmar senior Michael McLain swam to a second-place finish in the preliminaries of the 100 freestyle and advanced to championship races in three other events Friday during the first day of the Class A State Boys Swimming and Diving Meet at the Aquatic Center on the campus of University of Minnesota.
Counting Willmar’s senior heavyweight Cass Herzog and junior 132-pounder Austin Miley, the area will have 23 section champions competing at the two-day individual state wrestling tournament that kicks off this Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. There also will be 28 wrestlers from the area that will compete this weekend after finishing second at this past weekend’s section tournaments.
WILLMAR — Alexandria big man Logan Doyle was held to just 9 points before fouling out late in the game Friday as the Willmar Cardinals got some key defensive stops in rallying to edge Alexandria 64-60. The win puts Willmar at 12-12 overall and in line to land the No. 4 seed for the Section 2AAA playoffs that start on March 5. But the Cardinals need to take care of business and beat St. Cloud Tech (7-17) on the road Monday to cement their chances of landing a home game for the first round of the playoffs.
University of Minnesota redshirt sophomore Joel Bauman, a 2010 graduate of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School, is ineligible to compete in meets, the school announced Monday. The decision is based on Bauman’s music career that has taken off recently on internet sites www.youtube.com and www.tunecore.com . The school said it had to make the necessary move because of an NCAA by-law. The StarTribune’s website reported Monday that the school is allowing Bauman to stay on his athletic scholarship and practice with the team.
BELGRADE — After a three-year absence, the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons are returning to the Class A Team State Wrestling Tournament after they edged two-time defending Section 5 champion Kimball 34-27 Friday in a jam-packed gymnasium at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa High School. The Falcons lost to Paynesville in 2010 and Kimball the last two years in the section title bouts, but this year ACGC hasn’t had much trouble racking up wins. ACGC has won 22 duals to just one loss and is the No. 2-ranked Class A team in the state.
WILLMAR — All nine Ridgewater wrestlers that participated in the NJCAA North Central District Tournament Sunday qualified for the national tournament. Three Warriors reached the championship bout at their weight class with Klinton Van Heuveln winning at 141. The sophomore from KMS High School was the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler after earning a first-period pin in the quarterfinals, collecting a 7-5 decision in the semifinals and outlasting Peter Stewart of Iowa West 4-3 in overtime in the final.
WILLMAR — Austin Rambow netted 18 points and Alex Grove added another 11 to help Willmar snap a two-game losing streak Saturday by upending Montevideo 62-52 in a non-conference tilt. The Cardinals (9-9) are now back at .500 after winning four of their last six games. Montevideo have lost three of its last five and now sit at 9-6 overall. A back-and-forth affair for much of the first half started to lean Willmar’s way later in the half as the Cardinals went into the locker room at halftime with a 37-26 lead.
GROVE CITY — Early excitement at the ACGC Junior-Senior High School went in the Falcons’ favor and so did the majority of the remainder of their non-conference dual with Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Friday. In a match between two top-five teams in Class A, No. 2 ACGC rolled past No. 5 KMS 49-14. The side bleachers were at capacity and the drama came immediately with a three-overtime match at 106. ACGC eighth-grader Rylan Molinaro, who was down to start the third period, got a reversal to edge seventh-grader Caleb Collins 6-4.
GROVE CITY — Area wrestling fans will be in for treat tonight as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg will march into Grove City to square off against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City in a 7:30 p.m. battle of two highly-ranked Class A prep teams. The Falcons are No. 2 behind only powerhouse Jackson County Central and are unbeaten in 13 duals this season. They have also won four invitationals and placed third in a tough field that was led by JCC and Prior Lake, ranked No. 3 in Class AAA, at the Hutchinson Invite on Jan. 19.
COON RAPIDS — Ridgewater had Anoka-Ramsey right where it wanted at halftime Saturday, but the No. 4 Golden Rams’ defense wore down the Lady Warriors in the second half as Ridgewater was sent home with a 72-58 MCAC South loss. Ridgewater, fighting for a spot in the state tournament, owned a 36-34 lead at intermission after shooting 52 percent (12-for-23) from the field in the first half. But the Lady Warriors were only 5-for-25 (20 percent) from the field in the second half as Anoka-Ramsey outscored the visitors 38-22.