Hornet wrestling back in state
It was all about the pins for the Frazee wrestling team's latest Section 8-1A team championship.
Instead of finding themselves on their backs -- which occurred five times in the first meeting during the regular season against section rival Badger/Greenbush-Middle River -- they put the Gators on theirs to secure the Hornet's 17th career trip to the state wrestling meet with a 41-24 win in the section title bout.
Frazee finished third in last year's 2008 state meet, losing to eventual state champion Jackson County Central in the semifinals 34-28 and defeating New York Mills in the bronze bout 39-18.
Frazee, which is unseeded for the state tournament, will face No. 2 seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo Thursday, March 5, at 9:30 a.m. inside the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul.
"The first time we wrestled (BGMR), we gave up a number of pins," said Frazee head coach John Barlund. "We stressed in practice to eliminate those pins, that was our biggest key point."
As expected, the Hornets and Gators met in the section championship Saturday in Fertile, as the BGMR defeated Crookston and Frazee downed Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 44-19 in the semifinals.
The Gators previously marked one of two losses on the Hornet's record during the regular season, but Frazee held the formula to turn the tables -- stay away from the falls.
In the first meeting, Frazee gave up five pins and registered three.
Saturday in the championship match, Frazee recorded four falls and gave up just one.
"We just had a lot of practice on hand control and we knew (BGMR) was good with their cradles, so we worked on countering those," Barlund said. "We just worked on controlling the matches."
Another crucial turning point in the title bout came during the 130-pound match, where Wade Hukreide picked up a tide-turning victory.
In the previous match against the Gator's Thomas Gullickson, Hukreide was defeated by decision.
In the championship match, Hukreide gained some big points with an 8-3 victory to pull the Hornets back to within to an 11-8 deficit.
"Turning those points around at 130 was huge,"" Barlund added.
With the Hornets surviving the Gators strongest part of their lineup -- the lower weights -- they started to take advantage of their strength.
After the Frazee built a 19-11 lead on Rij Koehnen's technical fall win at 135 and Mike Lucero's fall on Tomm Ingle at 140, BGMR made a final push to come to within one at 19-18 with a major decision by Trevor Ingle at 152.
But bonus points came in droves for the Hornets, as Tyler Blauert kicked off a four-match winning streak which netted a total of 22 points to seal the deal.
Blauert's major decision at 160 was proceeded by three consecutive pins by Cody Nunn, Kody Lafreniere-Sorenson and Ben Lujan for the 41-18 margin and eventual win.
Frazee also used the pin as major bonus points in its win over D-G-F, registering five falls to the Rebels one.
"We got our bonus points," Barlund said.
This will be the first year of seeding teams for the state tournament, but only the top four are seeded, while the rest are assigned by random draw.
It's a system Barlund thinks some bugs will need to be worked out.
"I think they should seed all eight teams," the Frazee coach said. "I don't think seeding just four teams is enough. With how balanced the state is, it's hard to seed just the top four teams."
Barlund does like the match-up with No. 2 Kenyon-Wanamingo, but knows at this point in the game, all matches will be tough.
Kenyon-Wanamingo also lost to Jackson County Central, falling in the first round 45-25.
"They are a tough draw down low, so our plan is to minimize bonus points there and if we can keep it within range by the time we get up top, we'll be in the ball game," Barlund said of the first-round matchup.
Other Class 1A state match-ups include: No. 3 ACGG vs. Royalton; No. 1 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg vs. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and No. 4 Medford vs. Border West.
The Section 8-1A individual tournament will be Friday and Saturday in Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
Section 8-1A team tournament in Fertile, Saturday, Feb. 21.
Frazee 44, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 19
103 Chad Johnson (D) dec Trevor Stilke (F) 6-3
112 Tanner Ellenberg (F) fall Jayden Harm (D) 3:20
119 Myrel Shermerhorn (F) maj dec Arthur Zavala (D) 10-1
125 Wade Hukreide (F) fall Alex Johnson (D) 1:04
130 Rij Koehnen (F) dec Zach Askelson (D) 8-2
135 Taylor Peterson (D) maj dec Tyler Ziegler (F) 16-8
140 Mike Lucero (F) fall Heath Knapper (D) 4:34
145 Shawn Johnson (D) dec Cody Piper (F) 9-2
152 Casey Nunn (F) fall Bennett Mercil (D) 5:56
160 Tyler Blauert (F) dec Scott Kern (D) 8-1
171 Cody Nunn (F) maj dec Hunter Rosenfeldt (D) 13-2
189 Taylor Yliniemi (D) dec Kody Lafreniere/Sorenson (F) 6-2
215 Ben Lujan (F) fall Ronald Tollefson (D) 2:33
285 Logan Rinke (D) fall Jamie Holmer (F) 1:29.
Frazee 41, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 24
103 Isaac Novacek (B) maj dec Jordan Ketter (F) 19-7
112 Tanner Ellenberg (F) tech fall Jordan Wahl (B) 15-0 4:55
119 Storm Booe (B) dec Bruce Lemon (F) 4-0
125 Skylar Price (B) maj dec Myrel Shermerhorn (F) 13-1
130 Wade Hukreide (F) dec Thomas Gullickson (B) 8-3
135 Rij Koehnen (F) tech fall Tanner Sovde (B) 18-2 5:26
140 Mike Lucero (F) fall Tomm Ingle (B) 3:05
145 Eli Jenson (B) dec Casey Nunn (F) 7-3
152 Trevor Ingle (B)maj dec Brandon Vanwatermulen (F) 13-4
160 Tyler Blauert (F) maj dec Ben Evans (B) 14-2
171 Cody Nunn (F) fall Timm Ingle (B) 1:52
189 Kody Lafreniere/Sorenson (F) fall Brennen Kirkeide (B) 4:49
215 Ben Lujan (F) fall Cole Christianson (B )3:04
285 Alex Yeager (B) fall Jamie Holmer (F) :35.