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DL WRESTLING Lakers send 3 to state

DL senior Gabe Foltz (bottom) will be a contender in the 106-pound division during state.1 / 3
laker Luke Payne (top) fought his way to state as a No. 6 Section 8-2A seed.2 / 3
laker Zach Baker (top) puts an opponent on his back earlier this season. Baker will wrestle in the Class 2A state meet as a 132-pounder.3 / 3

There will be a trio of Detroit Lakes Lakers competing in the Class 2A state individual wrestling meet, which will start Friday and run through Saturday inside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Although each of the three Lakers will have different expectations in state, they all had one thing in common last Saturday in Fergus Falls -- they all had a stellar Section 8-2A meet.

Senior Gabe Foltz will make a return trip to state at 103 pounds, while first-time state entrants freshman Luke Payne qualified at 113 and junior Zach Baker at 132.

For Foltz, his sites are set on one thing and one thing from here on out, and that's a state championship.

After going 2-2 in last year's state meet at 103 pounds, Foltz added a ton more experience during the offseason and tore through the regular season with a 39-2 record, with many of his matches being a weight up at 113.

"Gabe was the heavy favorite in the section and he continued to be aggressive and focused," said DL head coach Rob Ullyott.

Foltz plowed through his section competition and ended with the 106-pound title with a 15-2 major decision on Pequot Lakes' Anthony Phillipson.

But wrestling as a 113-pounder for a portion of the season has readied Foltz for the tough competition which lays ahead of him in state.

"I'll be wrestling smaller guys, which will be easier," Foltz said. "I definitely have more confidence this season and I feel I can beat anyone.

"I'm going for the gold, but I am not looking ahead and just going to stay aggressive at state."

Foltz will open against eighth grader Jackson Sweeney (28-14) of Watertown-Mayer.

Baker also had high expectations heading into the sections as the No. 2 seed at 132 with a record of 34-8.

His memories from last year's section meet were very vivid this time around, after he lost in a True Second match in 2011, thus denying him his trip to state.

Not this year, as Baker sealed and delivered his state ticket by winning the 132 crown with a 15-8 decision over Thief River Falls' Austin Hjelle.

"Zach's weight class was the deepest, but he has been wrestling well all season," Ullyott said. "His semifinal victory over his East Grand Forks opponent was huge for him."

But taking third this year was not an option for Baker, so he made it easier on himself and just outright won his division.

"After I won my semifinal match, I felt like I was going to win it all," Baker said. "Now, I want to place at state and stay in every match."

Baker will start his state tournament against freshman Justin May (29-9) of Fridley.

The Laker wildcard was Payne (16-8), who entered the 113 division as the No. 6 seed.

Instead of wrestling to his seed, he upset the No. 2 and 3 ranked wrestlers on his way to the championship match, where he lost to heavy favorite Fergus Falls' Abbott Aho by technical fall 22-7.

But it was more than enough for Payne to earn his first taste of state as a freshman.

"Going into sections, my goals were just to wrestle as well as I could," Payne said. "I was a little surprised making state, but it feels pretty good."

Ullyott said the 113 class was close after Aho, so Payne had his work cut out for himself.

"There were five others who were close after Aho and Luke just outwrestled everybody," Ullyott included. "They made mistakes and he capitalized on them."

Payne will face junior Jarred Oftedahl (35-0) of Benilde-St. Margaret's in the first round.

Surprisingly, freshman Parker Jackson was denied his second-consecutive state berth, after falling to Drey Loge of Pequot Lakes in the 138 finals, then losing in his True Second match to Perham's Luke Sailer.

"All those final three wrestlers were so close in talent, that if there were three matches between them, there would be three different outcomes," Ullyott said. "I imagine Parker has identified his weaknesses and will prepare and work hard in the offseason for next year."

Section 8-2A results

Section 8-2A individual tournament in Fergus Falls, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25.

Championship and 3rd place matches:


1st Place Match - Gabe Foltz (Detroit Lakes) 39-2 won by major decision over Anthony Philipson (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 31-8 (Maj 15-2)

3rd Place Match - Ben Schindler (Fergus Falls) 20-21 won by decision over Brett Jerome (Roseau) 28-11 (Dec 5-4).


1st Place Match - Abbot Aho (Fergus Falls) 38-4 won by tech fall over Luke Payne (Detroit Lakes) 16-8 (TF 22-7)

3rd Place Match - Noah Bernier (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 32-11 won by injury default over Triston Rubner (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 25-9 (I-D).


1st Place Match - Ben Baumgartner (Park Rapids) 37-4 won in overtime over Blake Miller (Staples-Motley) 38-5 (OT 9-5)

3rd Place Match - Ben Marx (Fosston Bagley) 32-12 won in overtime over Nathan Francis (Detroit Lakes) 22-15 (OT 6-4).


1st Place Match - Cody Weiland (Crookston) 34-4 won in overtime over Brandon Lueders (Perham) 33-8 (OT 6-4)

3rd Place Match - Mason Swegarden (United-Clay-Becker) 31-5 won by pin over Kyle McCourt (Roseau) 27-12 (Pin 1:43).


1st Place Match - Zach Baker (Detroit Lakes) 34-8 won by decision over Austin Hjelle (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 32-10 (Dec 15-8)

3rd Place Match - Josh Werner (Perham) 31-8 won by decision over Alex Yanish (East Grand Forks - Sacred Heart) 30-6 (Dec 5-3)


1st Place Match - Drey Loge (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 31-7 won by decision over Parker Jackson (Detroit Lakes) 38-3 (Dec 3-0)

3rd Place Match - Luke Sailer (Perham) 34-6 won by decision over Dane Ringquist (Fergus Falls) 25-18 (Dec 5-1)


1st Place Match - Wyatt Wixo (United-Clay-Becker) 34-5 won by decision over Ty Haverland (Perham) 32-11 (Dec 8-4)

3rd Place Match - Wyatt Hanson (Crookston) 30-8 won by pin over Derek Sonenstahl (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 25-13 (Pin 5:43)


1st Place Match - Nathanael Holecek (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 20-4 won by decision over Darian Rubner (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 37-5 (Dec 7-4)

3rd Place Match - Zachary Steffen (Park Rapids) 29-14 won by decision over Wyatt Nordskog (Fosston Bagley) 23-17 (Dec 2-1)


1st Place Match - Holden Nelson (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 39-2 won by decision over Peter Harrison (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 38-4 (Dec 10-5)

3rd Place Match - Jordan Heldman (Staples-Motley) 28-7 won by pin over Blake Begeron (Crookston) 29-11 (Pin 2:34)


1st Place Match - Forrest Drury (Park Rapids) 35-6 won by decision over Blake Olson (Fosston Bagley) 28-7 (Dec 6-0)

3rd Place Match - Justin Mackenthun (Pequot Lakes - Pine River - Backus) 25-18 won in overtime over Logan Alten (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 32-10 (OT 5-2)


1st Place Match - Craig Williams (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 38-2 won by pin over Blake Petrich (Staples-Motley) 40-1 (Pin 4:41)

3rd Place Match - Gus Makovsky (Fergus Falls) 24-20 won in overtime over Gio Garcia (Perham) 19-25 (OT 4-2)


1st Place Match - Josh Edlund (Crookston) 31-5 won by decision over Mat Pepper (United-Clay-Becker) 36-3 (Dec 6-1)

3rd Place Match - Ben Kucera (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 30-11 won by decision over Devin Hagen (Fosston Bagley) 26-10 (Dec 5-1)


1st Place Match - Cody Nylander (Perham) 38-1 won by decision over Brandon Ritter (Park Rapids) 25-2 (Dec 6-0)

3rd Place Match - Jon Erickson (Thief River Falls - Goodridge) 30-8 won by pin over Luke Juve (Fosston Bagley) 8-4 (Pin 1:08)


1st Place Match - Jesse Hein (Perham) 41-0 won by pin over David DeYonge (Staples-Motley) 26-7 (Pin 1:14)

3rd Place Match - Abram Aho (Fergus Falls) 28-15 won by pin over Josh Albright (Fosston Bagley) 25-15 (Pin 4:12).

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