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Eidenschink falls just short of state champion aspirations

It was an unfortunate end to a brilliant career for Detroit Lakes senior Brent Eidenschink.

Leaving as one of the best Laker grapplers ever, Eidenschink missed out on his most coveted goal -- a state championship -- by just seven seconds.

Wrestling in the Class 2A 189-pound championship match against Fulda/Murray County Central senior Nick Henning, Eidenschink was holding a 1-0 advantage late in the third period, after a very close battle in the first two frames.

But it would all come down to the final seven seconds, and who was able to make the first move. Henning would tie the score 1-1 at the 58-second mark after Eidenschink started out on top to start the third, with the two undefeated wrestlers deadlocked from there on out for most of the way through.

But with time winding down, Henning was able to get the first foot forward, landing a take down on Eidenschink near the out of bounds marker for the 3-1 advantage and eventual win.

Eidenschink nearly landed a couple of take downs in the first and second periods, but Henning had enough defense to fend the Laker off.

"For the most part, I felt I controlled the first two periods," Eidenschink said. "He just caught me on my heels. I was about to take a shot on him, but I couldn't."

Eidenschink had a tough row to hoe from the start of his quest of becoming the first-ever DL wrestler to win a state championship. Hauling in a 33-0 record of his own into the state tourney, the combined records of Eidenschink's four opponents' were a lofty 144-21.

The Laker fended off Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Osterland/Kingsland's Lance Peters (43-0) in the quarterfinals with a 2-0 overtime win. The scene was oddly familiar for Eidenschink, who lost an overtime bout last year in the quarterfinals.

"I had the same thoughts as last year (going into overtime), and that was not to let him control me," Eidenschink said of his quarterfinal win over Peters. "He took a shot at me, and I countered."

Eidenschink earned a berth in the title bout with a 4-2 win over Zimmerman's Zac Neilsen (43-2), after pinning BOLD's Zach Kopel (21-12) in the opening round.

Even though Eidenschink fell short of his goal, he finishes his career with a pair of state runner-up finishes at 189 and a third-place finish at 215 last year. The only other DL state runner-up has been Shane Tappe.

"Yeah, it hurts now for Brent, but when you get down here, everyone is tough," said DL head coach Rob Ullyott. "He beat some very good kids, but Brent just got caught on his heels at the end there."

Two other Lakers place at state

Junior Mike Griffin also had a narrow miss in his semifinal loss, but the Laker recovered well to place fourth in the 160 class.

Griffin dropped a 10-8 overtime loss to Eric Reinert of Watertown-Mayer in the semifinals, after holding a 6-1 lead at the end of one period and a 6-3 advantage after two. Griffin nearly gained a fall on Reinert in the first period, but an illegal hold was called by the referee to break the potential pin.

Reinert was able to chip away at the lead, eventually registering a take down with three seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score 8-8. Reinert would notch another take down with 10 seconds left in overtime to advance to the championship.

"It was nice to get those take downs in the first, and I almost had him on his back before that call," Griffin said. "(In the third) all I had to do was run circles, but I didn't. A loss like that, you don't forget."

Griffin was able to win his wrestleback bout against Dustin Nelson of Hinckley-Finlayson/Pine City/Willow River by fall, but fell in the third place match to Minnehaha Academy's David Hauge 10-2.

"Next year I'm going for that state title," Griffin added.

Senior Justin Horne also made it through the first two rounds, qualifying for the semifinals before losing to Montgomery-Lonsdale's Joe Selly 6-2. Horne eventually finished sixth, accomplishing his goal of placing at state.

"After I won that second match and I knew I was going to place, I just wanted more," Horne said. "But I earned my goal of placing and that was very important, because it was my last chance."

Sophomore Jon Tolbert also registered his first state win by beating Zach Loppnow of Lake City 4-0 in the first round. But the young Laker heavyweight would lose his next two bouts and was eliminated.

Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience for Tolbert, Ullyott said.

"Everybody wrestled hard and you never know what to expect at state," the DL coach said.

St. Michael-Albertville qualified a record 14 individually, with four leaving with state championships. SMA also took home the team title with relative ease.

Laker results

MSHSL Class 2A individual state meet at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, St. Paul March 2-4.

DL individual results (starting with 1st round):

Justin Horne (125 pounds, 6th place, 2-2): Horne pin Issiah Hruby (Roseau) 2:32; Quarters: Horne pin Matt Farber (Watertown-Mayer) 3:39; Semi's: Joe Selly (Mongomery-L/L) dec. Horne 6-2; Wrestlebacks: Kelly Januszewski (Ottertail Central) dec. Horne 7-6; Sixth: Robert Koranda (Becker) dec. Horne 14-7.

Mike Griffin (160, 4th, 3-2): Griffin pin James Gallagher (Montevideo) 4:56; Quarters: Griffin dec. Tom Duncombe (St. Michael-Albertville) 13-11; Semi's: Eric Reinert (Watertown-Meyer) dec. Griffin 10-8 (OT); Wrestlebacks: Griffin pin Dustin Nelson (Hinckley) 4:17; 3rd place: David Hauge (Minnehaha) dec. Griffin 10-2.

Brent Eidenschink (189, 2nd, 3-1): Eidenschink pin Zach Kopel (Buffalo Lake/BOLD) 2:49; Quarters: Eidenschink dec. Lance Peters (Grand Meadow) 2-0 (OT); Semi's: Eidenschink dec. Zac Nielsen (Zimmerman) 4-2; Championship: Nick Henning (Fulda/MCC) dec. Eidenschink 3-1.

Jon Tolbert (HWT, DNP, 1-2): Tolbert dec. Zach Loppnow (Lake City) 4-0; Quarters: Evan Osterhoudt maj dec. Tolbert 11-1; Wrestlebacks: Darrin Massman (Rocori) maj dec. Tolbert 8-0.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.