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ACGC gets tough draw at state

ACGC is back in the Class A state tournament for the first time since 2015 and, well, if they could return their "welcome back" present they might consider it.

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ACGC's Jaxon Behm grapples with Minnewaska's David Lilenthal during a Jan. 11 match in Grove City. Jake Schultz / Tribune

ACGC is back in the Class A state tournament for the first time since 2015 and, well, if they could return their "welcome back" present they might consider it.

The Falcons' prize for winning the Section 4A tournament over Sibley East is facing Frazee, the No. 2 seed in the Class A State Tournament that gets underway at 9 a.m. today at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Frazee enters the tournament for the 25th time since 1987, a stretch that includes four championships and seven second-place finishes. The Hornets may be one of the more prestigious Class A teams but ACGC isn't far behind. The Falcons have 11 state tournament trips under their belt, including a state championship in 2007 and a runner-up finish in 2014.

The Hornets team success translated to individual success as well. They'll bring 10 wrestlers to Friday's individual tournament, which might be intimidating for some teams, but not for the Falcons.

"I don't think it's as bad of a draw as people think," said sixth-year ACGC head coach Mike Amsden. "They are extremely tough but I think we will for sure win six matches. There are four toss-ups, so if we can win at least two of those then we'll be right in it."

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ACGC's 26-7 record doesn't necessarily impress in the same way that Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville's 23-1, for example, but they've proven their ability throughout the season with wins against Annandale/Maple Lake and Sibley East. Frazee is far from perfect this season, too. They worked a 21-6 record this season.

The Falcons also bring six wrestlers to the individual tournament with Kelvin Andrade-Ponce leading the way at 106 pounds.

The low weights are where the Falcons have excelled in the 2017-18 season. In addition Andrade-Ponce, who is 34-8, the Falcons will run out Jake Mortensen (26-8, 113 pounds), Ramzee Molinaro (37-7, 120 pounds), and Hayden Straumann (29-14, 126 pounds) who will all compete Thursday and Friday, with hopes for extending their season to Saturday. CJ Toedter (32-11, 182 pounds) and Tanner Berghuis (32-11, 220 pounds) will also compete in the individual tournament.

Thursday's match could come down to experience, a detail that applies to Frazee and does not for the young Falcons. That experience, however, could also mean the Hornets are apt to look past the Falcons and on to a semifinal meeting with Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville.

"Weight-wise, they could try to set it up so they're ready for other teams and that could play into our favor," Amsden said. "It could hurt us, too, but we should be where we need to be. We have option one or option two for every wrestler.

"They have experience on us but if we wrestle well like I think we will then we can hang with them."

ACGC's Skye Powers smiles as time expires in a 5-4 decision over Minnewaska's Mason Blair during a Jan. 11 quad in Grove City. Jake Schultz / Tribune
ACGC's Skye Powers smiles as time expires in a 5-4 decision over Minnewaska's Mason Blair during a Jan. 11 quad in Grove City. Jake Schultz / Tribune

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