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|Paynesville Press - March 3, 2004|
Six wrestlers advance to state
Six Bulldog wrestlers qualified for state on Saturday by placing in the top two at sections, led by senior Pat Utsch (215) and sophomore Sean Glenz (145), who each won a Section 6A individual title. |
Seniors Derek Burris (275) and Matt Kerzman (152), junior Todd Thielen (119), and sophomore Joe Sheridan (112) also qualified for state by finishing as runners-up at the Section 6A individual tourney, held on Friday and Saturday at BBE.
Utsch (35-4), seeded first at 215, won two matches to qualify for state for the first time. He pinned his opponent from Mille Lacs in the semifinals and defeated Pierz junior Matt Mrnak (27-7) 4-0 in the final. Utsch also beat Mrnak in the section team final.
Senior Pat Utsch controls Pierz's Matt Mrnak in the section final at 215. Utsch beat Mrnak agin 4-0 to claim the Section 6A title.
Utsch, rated sixth in state in Class A at 189, opted to wrestle at 215 in the section tournament.
Glenz (39-0) remained undefeated for the season in capturing the section title at 145, winning three matches at sections. Glenz, ranked seventh in state in Class A, pinned both his opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals and then beat Mille Lacs senior Justin Jones (35-4) 6-2 in the final.
Glenz scored a takedown in the first period against Jones, a state runner-up last year, and rode him for the rest of the period. Jones tied the score at 2-2 with a near fall in the second period, but Glenz took the lead by escaping with 10 seconds left. In the third period, Glenz rode Jones again, twice turning him and getting one counts but no back points and finally turning him a third time with 15 seconds to go and holding him in a cradle until the end of the match.
Glenz will make his third appearance at state as an individual this week, starting on Thursday evening. He has qualified for state the past two years in Class AA but did not place either year.
Junior Todd Thielen scores back points while winning a third-place match. He then scored a fall in a true-second match to advance to state.
Kerzman and Sheridan were both seeded second and proved the merits of that seeding by taking second. Kerzman (36-5) lost in the finals to a Pierz wrestler but pinned his opponent in a true-second match to earn his first state trip.
Sheridan (24-11) also lost in the finals to a Pierz wrestler but did not face a true-second challenge. His closest call came in the semifinals when he beat BBE seventh grader Travis Rath 4-2 in overtime. Sheridan tied the score at 2-2 in the third period with a penalty point and then got a takedown 12 seconds into overtime to win. He is also making his first trip to state.
Burris and Thielen produced upsets to qualify for state. Burris (11-11), seeded third, pinned Pierz's heavyweight, gaining revenge for a defeat in the section team final, in the semifinals to earn his state berth. He lost to Mille Lacs' state-rated heavyweight in the finals but earned his first trip to state.
Thielen (20-17), seeded fifth, won four of five matches to place second at 119. He beat the fifth-seeded wrestler in the quarterfinals, nearly beat the top seed and eventual champ in the semifinals, losing 8-7, and then won three straight matches to take second, including a true-second match. In that match, Thielen avenged his loss in the team section, reversing and pinning his Pierz opponent in the third period with 12 seconds to go. Thielen trailed in points, though his five-point move would have given him the lead without the pin. He will make his first trip to state.
Sophomre Joe Sheridan tries to reverse his Pierz opponent in the Section 6A final at 112. Sheridan lost the final but qualified for state.
Sophomore Joel Kerzman (33-8) placed third at 135, just missing a state berth. His best chance to qualify for state came in the semifinals, when he lost 2-0 in overtime to the eventual champion from Pierz. Kerzman rode his opponent for the entire second period and needed to score an escape in the third to win, but the match ended in a scoreless tie after regulation time. Pierz' Warren Gall scored a takedown 15 seconds into overtime to beat Kerzman.
Kerzman rallied to take third, and when Gall scored three points in the last seven seconds to win the section title at 135, Kerzman got a true-second match, but he lost to a state-rated wrestler from Braham.
In all, the Bulldogs had 12 of 14 wrestlers place in the top six and earn a medal at the section tourney. Other placers were: eighth grader Jordan Christian (fourth at 103), sophomore Keith Klein (fourth at 160), sophomore Andrew Christian (fifth at 125), junior Jack Mueller (fifth at 140), and junior Josh Tebben (fifth at 189).
Senior Derek Burris locks up with Jon Odle of Mille Lacs in the section final at 275. Burris was the section runner-up to quallify for state.
Top-rated Pierz, who beat the Bulldogs for the section team title, dominated the 11-team section tournament, having nine section champions and advancing ten to state individually. Paynesville was next with two champions and advancing six to state. Mille Lacs also had two champs and advanced four to state, as did Braham. Host BBE had one champ and advanced two to state.
The state tournament starts on Thursday, March 4, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Class A individuals start at 6 p.m. with the quarterfinals following.
On Friday, Class A wrestlebacks will be held at 10 a.m. with the semifinals and more wrestlebacks to be held at 8 p.m. The last round of wrestlebacks will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the Class A individual championships being held on Saturday evening, during the last session. Since this follows the other championship sessions on Saturday, an exact time is not known but it should not start before 5:30 p.m.
The annual wrestling banquet - to honor all wrestlers and cheerleaders from grades 7-12 - will be held on Sunday, March 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Hilltop Restaurant. Awards will be presented to wrestlers at junior high, junior varsity, and varsity levels. The banquet is open to all wrestlers, cheerleaders, parents, and fans. The cost of the meal is $5.75.
Section 6A Individual Results
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