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Prep wrestling: Willmar sitting on the top of the loop

WILLMAR -- In an inspired performance, the Cardinal wrestlers dismantled Fergus Falls 62-12 on Thursday evening before the season's largest crowd at the Willmar gym to spit polish the Central Lakes Conference trophy.

Willmar wrestling
Tribune photo by Rand Middleton The Willmar Cardinals’ wrestling team celebrates an undefeated Central Lakes Conference season and the school’s fourth CLC championship in wrestling after defeating Fergus Falls on Thursday in Willmar.

WILLMAR - In an inspired performance, the Cardinal wrestlers dismantled Fergus Falls 62-12 on Thursday evening before the season’s largest crowd at the Willmar gym to spit polish the Central Lakes Conference trophy.

The team finishes the slate 8-0. The only other undefeated Cardinal team in CLC duals was the 1989-90 juggernaut which went 7-0.

It’s the school’s fourth CLC title since 1977-78. The most recent was 2010-11 - a three-way tie with Fergus and Little Falls, each finishing 7-2.

Current varsity senior starters Zach Leuders and Austin Miley were freshmen while current sophomores Logan Wolkow and Colten Carlson also lettered on that team as seventh-graders, Carlson earning CLC Honorable Mention.

Leuders said this year’s success flowed from the hard work at practice.

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“We push each other so hard in the room we’re not tired in matches. We beat each other up pretty good,”

Leuders, Miley, Estevan Navarro, Travis Deegan, Matt Hennes and Leon Richards each won by fall. Eighth-grader Clay Carlson, starting off at 106, gave up at least six inches of height and two grades but won a major.

Older brother Colten squared accounts with Dane Ringquist who beat him by a point in a holiday tournament. Carlson controlled the match with five takedowns for a 10-5 win at 160 pounds. Carlson is ranked No. 1 AAA and Ringquist No. 4 in AA.

In another faceoff of ranked wrestlers, Vaughn Johnson outmuscled Gus Makovsky at 182 pounds, another well-contested match.

Willmar wrestlers just seemed inspired at every weight. Jalen Cabrera faced No. 3 Abram Aho. Twice Cabrera took the taller Otter wrestler down though he immediately twisted away before the pancake at 5:10, one of the two Fergus wins.

Leuders added that this “This is an amazing team. So Solid top to bottom. We’ve really come together.”

The crowd on Pack-the-Gym and youth wrestling night nearly filled the north stands with others on two other bleachers not normally out for wrestling. Many in the Cardinal band stayed to watch after playing the Anthem.

“We wrestled really well tonight,” said Coach Ed Oehlers. “We’re proud of these kids. We want to keep this momentum going and roll into the post-season.”

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The team section tournament is a week from Saturday at Wayzata High School.  

Willmar 62, Fergus Falls 12

106: Clay Carlson, W, maj Seth Langbehn 17-6

113: Jacob Bollig, W, forfeit

120: Juan Resendez, W, forfeit

126: Ben Schindler, F, pin Jon Linden 3:18

132: Austin Miley, W, tf Nate Onstad 16-1

138: Zach Leuders, W, pin Tyler Adam 1:44

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145: Estevan Navarro, W, tf Joe Wedill 20-4

152: Travis Deegan, W, pin Jake Antrim 1:34

160: Colten Carlson, W, dec Dane Ringquist 10-6

170: Kory Welgraven, W, forfeit

182: Vaughn Johnson, W, dec Gus Makovsky 4-1

195: Abram Aho, F, pin Jalen Cabrera 5:10

220: Matt Hennes, W, pin Luke Baker 1:23

285: Leon Richards, W, pin Taylor Tenner 2:50

Related Topics: WRESTLING
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