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Hornets finish with silver in Class 1A

Rick Brandt celebrates his pin over Jackson County Central's Tanner Menke Saturday night.1 / 4
Frazee's Kody Lafreniere-Sorenson takes down Jackson County Central's Alex Tewes during their 215-pound match Saturday night.2 / 4
Frazee head coach John Barlund shaved an "H" into his hair for Hornets. Barlund said the Frazee wrestlers all dyed their hair blonde, and since he doesn't have much hair, figured he'd shave it. "It started out as a joke, but since we're winning, I figured I'd keep it," he said.3 / 4
Frazee 140-pounder Rij Koehnen gets Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Grant Kyllo on his back during their match in the class 1A team championship semi finals Friday afternoon at the Minnesota State Wrestling Meet in St. Paul. Koehnen won the match 9-5.4 / 4

ST. PAUL -- Frazee finally met its match.

The Hornets' undefeated season and hopes for their first state title since 2002 both ended on the same mat Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Jackson County Central's lineup countered nearly all of Frazee's strengths, and the result was a 32-23 win for the Huskies in the Class 1A team championship match.

"They matched up well with us. There was no doubt," Frazee coach John Barlund said. "There are a couple of matches we lost that you can look back at in hindsight and wonder, but it hurts.

"And it's important that it hurts, because that means the kids care."

Behind its six state place winners in this year's individual tournament -- including 125-pound champ Bronson Steuber and 160-pound champ Cooper Moore -- Jackson County Central never let the Hornets gain any momentum.

JCC took a 22-10 lead with five weights to go, and it wound up being too much for Frazee to overcome.

The Huskies got a major win early, when Dylan Riggle -- who was 9-23 on the season entering the match -- notched an 11-9 overtime win over Jordan Ketter at 112. Ketter was a state qualifier at the weight.

"That was absolutely huge," JCC coach Randy Baker said. "That kid has had a lot of beatdowns this year, and he had to wrestle better. That was a major win in that spot."

Rick Brandt got a pin at 189 and Kody Lafraniere-Sorenson tallied a major decision at 215 to slice the lead to 26-23 with one match to go.

Jordan Phibbs -- the third-place finisher at heavyweight in the individual tournament -- sealed the victory with a first-period pin in the final match of the dual.

"This one means a lot, because that's a pretty good team over there," Baker said, nodding toward the tunnel containing a glut of Frazee wrestlers. "This group of ours didn't even make the section semifinals last year, so we've come a long way to this."

The Hornets finish the season 20-1, and their team boasts just one senior on the squad.

"These kids have all come down here before, and they know what to expect," Barlund said. "They know nothing is going to come easy down here.

"Still, being the state runner-up is still pretty impressive for these guys."

Frazee dumps Zumbrota in semifinals

Frazee needed Kody Lafraniere-Sorenson to step things up a notch.

The senior 189-pounder did just that, dominating his match at 215 pounds to send Frazee into the Class 1A team championship.

The Hornets downed Zumbrota-Mazeppa 29-18 at Xcel Energy Center on Friday, clinching the win when Lafraniere-Sorenson wrestled up a class and scored a 15-1 major decision over Stu Raasch.

Raasch is a state qualifier at 215.

"I thought I was going out at 189, but it didn't matter to me," Lafraniere-Sorenson said. "I just wanted to wrestle and get my job done.

"As a captain, I knew I was in a position to put us into a state championship match."

Frazee won eight of the first nine matches to set up a 25-3 lead. But Zumbrota-Mazeppa boasts state qualifiers in the final five weight classes.

"We thought we would be favored in our first six matches, but we knew what they had coming," Barlund said. "We were winning the matches, but we weren't getting the extra points to put them away."

Colby Mehrkens (160) and Chad Matthees (171) scored decisions, and then Ben Dahl got a pin at 189 when the Hornets saved Lafreniere-Sorenson for 215.

That put the lead at just 25-15 with two matches to go.

"We thought we'd play the percentages, because we thought Kody would have a great shot at 215 when we hammered out our game plan," Barlund said. "It worked out for us."

Lafraniere-Sorenson's bid for an individual title was derailed Friday when he lost in the 189-pound quarterfinals.

But he said that wasn't that big of a deal.

"The team thing is all that matters," Lafraniere-Sorenson said. "The strength is in the team. As an individual you're weak, but we come together as a team. That's the biggest thing to all of us."

The Hornets thrashed Mille Lacs 62-12 in the quarterfinals Thursday to advance into the semifinals.

Individually, the Hornets finished with three state placers, as each made the semifinals in their respective weight divisions.

Tanner Ellenberg finished fifth in the 119 slot with a 4-2 record, and downed Jake Wirtjes of Blue Earth 7-0 in the fifth-place match.

Jake Schermerhorn took fourth at 152, after making the semis, then earning his way through the wrestlebacks.

Mahnomen/Waubun's Caleb Lanoue won the bronze match over Schermerhorn by pin.

The final state placer was Lafraniere/Sorenson, who fell to John Gusewelle of Sauk Centre in the bronze match on a close 5-3 decision.

Other Frazee wrestlers who competed individually included Trevor Stilke (103), Jordan Ketter (112), Myrel Schermerhorn (130), Rij Koehnen (135), Casey Nunn (145) and Rick Brandt (171).

Hornet results

Class 1A state individual meet at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Wednesday-Saturday, March 3-6.

Frazee results -- 

Trevor Stilke (103 pounds) -- Marcus Hamer (Kimball) pin Stilke 1:46.

Jordan Ketter (112) -- Aaron Bates (Sibley East) dec. Ketter 6-3.

Tanner Ellenberg (119) -- Ellenberg pin Carson Henry (St. Charles) 4:51...Quarterfinals: Ellenberg maj dec. Andy Poster (Royalton/Upsala) 9-1...Semifinals: Travis Borchert (Browerville/Eagle Valley) dec. Ellenberg 4-1...Wrestlebacks: Chase Levos (St. Clair) dec. Ellenberg 5-2...Fifth place: Ellenberg dec. Jake Wirtjes (Blue Earth) 7-0.

Myrel Schermerhorn (130) -- Jacob Revier (BOLD) pin Schermerhorn 5:10.

Rij Koehnen (135) -- Ethan Hildebrandt (St. James) dec. Koehnen 9-4.

Casey Nunn (145) -- Jake Long (West Central) dec. Nunn 7-5...Wrestlebacks: Cole Tensen (Belgrade-B-E) dec. Nunn 4-2.

Jake Schermerhorn (152) -- Schermerhorn maj dec. Cody Blehr (West Central) 9-1...Quarterfinals: Schermerhorn maj dec. Dylan Young (Mille Lacs) 14-3...Semifinals: Brad Keller (Medford) dec. Schermerhorn 10-5...Wrestlebacks: Schermerhorn dec. Sam Lindgren (LeSuer-H) 11-4...Third place: Caleb Lanoue (Mahnomen/Waubun) pin Schermerhorn 5:38.

Rick Brandt (171) -- Brandt dec. Cody Hatch (BOLD) 3-2...Quarterfinals: Nich Dorschner (Martin County West) dec. Brandt 6-5...Wrestlebacks: Brandt dec. Bobby Kulhanek (Mille Lacs) 6-4 (OT)...Chad Matthees (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) maj dec. Brandt 11-0.

Kody Lafraniere/Sorenson (189) -- Lafraniere/Sorenson maj dec. Cody Eckhardt (Blue Earth) 9-0...Quarterfinals: John Gusewelle (Sauk Centre) dec. Lafraniere/Sorenson 6-4...Wrestlebacks: Lafraniere/Sorenson dec. Juan Gomez (Chatfield) 7-0...Lafraniere/Sorenson pin Jeremy Hamman (Crosby-Ironton) 2:12...Lafraniere/Sorenson dec. Ben Dahl (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) 13-9...Third place: John Gusewelle (Sauk Centre) dec. Lafraniere/Sorenson 5-3.