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Area notebook: Willmar Cardinals get top seed in 8AAA wrestling

Cardinals edge No. 2 Bemidji, which is the defending section champion, in coaches' seedings meeting

011820.S.WCT.Wrestling analysis Willmar.jpg
Willmar seventh-grader Steven Cruze (left) goes for a takedown on Lakeville South's Kaleb Airaudi during their 120-pound match at the Willmar Cardinal Classic on Dec. 6 at Willmar High School. Cruze has a 12-2 record for the Cardinals at 120 pounds. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The Willmar Cardinals have earned the top seed in the Section 8AAA wrestling tournament.

That was announced Wednesday after an on-line seedings meeting of the section’s coaches.

The Cardinals garnered only first-place votes from the coaches, who are not allowed to seed their own team.

Defending Section 8AAA champion Bemidji earned the No. 2 seed.

The rest of the seeds were: No. 3 Brainerd, No. 4 St. Cloud Tech/Apollo/Cathedral, No. 5 Sartell, No. 6 Little Falls, No. 7 Sauk Rapids, No. 8 Moorhead and No. 9 Brainerd.

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The first day of matches is Wednesday, Feb. 12. Top-seeded Willmar will host No. 8 Moorhead and No. 9 Buffalo, who wrestle each other at 6 p.m. The winner then faces the Cardinals.

The semifinals and final are Friday, Feb. 14 at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. The winner earns a trip to the state team tournament Feb. 27 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Willmar attempts to get back to state after missing last season. The Cardinals had made it to state seven straight years from 2012-18 and also in 1998 and ‘05.

CLC performers named

Willmar girls hockey player Bailey Olson and Willmar gymnast Taylar Schaefer each were named Central Lakes Conference performers of the week.

Olson, a junior, had four goals and three assists last week. S:chaefer, a ninth-grader, took first in the all-around (37.625), vault (9.65), bars (9.325) and beam (9.45).

West Central honors athletes

Athletes from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Benson and BOLD all earned West Central Conference Performers of the Week honors.

From ACGC, wrestler Kelvin Ponce and dance team member Ellie Grimsgard were honored.

From Benson, gymnast Mariah Ahrndt was named.

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And from BOLD, boys basketball player Drew Sagedahl earned recognition.

Also honored was Sauk Centre girls basketball player Mariah Ahrens.

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