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Frazee finishes third at state wrestling

Tony Malikowski, right, and the Frazee wrestling team placed third at the Minnesota Class A Wrestling Tournament on Thursday, March 2 in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg/Forum News Service

Frazee's wrestling team could have phoned it in. The top-seeded Hornets had already lost in the semifinals of the Minnesota Class 1A state wrestling tournament March 2 at Xcel Energy Center.

It marked the fifth straight season they would be returning home without a state title, two of those seasons resulting in losses in the state championship.

It would have been easy to go on cruise control for the third-place match against West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville. Senior captain Tanner Reetz answered why they didn't with a message he hopes he leaves behind with his team after his last dual match with Frazee.

"We wrestle every match hard," Reetz said. "Third is still a big deal, too. It's not first or second, but it's one of the big ones, too."

Frazee topped the No. 3 seed Knights 40-18 to bring home third place.

"I told the guys all the hard work that you put into the season, pulling for each other, paid off here," Frazee coach Clay Nagel said. "Third in the state in Class 1A in this division ... they could wrestle next weekend and the whole thing could be different. Be proud of what you've done and accomplished and enjoy the moment."

Frazee had to battle to escape Sibley East in the quarterfinals. The Hornets trailed 25-23 with two matches to go before Rory Drewes got a major decision and Tony Malikowski got a pin to send the Hornets to the semifinals.

Frazee led 19-3 against Z-M, but two major decisions from Maverick Jackson and Jacob Bennett, two decisions from Sam Nordquist and Tyler Soltau and a couple of pins from Hayden Voxland and Caden Steffen and the Hornets' championship hopes were squashed in a 32-25 loss.

"We didn't wrestle real great against Zumbrota," Nagel said. "They're a great team, whether we could beat them or not I don't know. We weren't offensive. We didn't go after things. We just talked about if you're going to wrestle then let's wrestle to score, wrestle to win. That was the big difference. They went after it (against WCA-A-B-E). They did not want to finish fourth. They wanted to finish on a positive, and they all worked hard to get that."

The Knights cut a 20-4 Frazee lead to 20-18 with four matches to go. Frazee answered with a pin from Logan Wacker and a major decision from Luke Tweeton. Drewes clinched the win with a major decision and Malikowski ended the season for the team with a pin.

There are no medals for fourth place at the state wrestling tournament. The Hornets are coming home with medals and momentum into next season.

"Obviously, we had big goals this year, but knowing we return a lot next year is big. It was a great year for Class 1A, so knowing we still came home with a medal is pretty good feeling," Wacker said. "For me, it sets even bigger goals that we're coming for the 'X' next year and hoping to make a statement."

Reetz, who won a state individual title as a sophomore and lost in the state championship last season, hopes his team will always remember his statement.

"I'm definitely going to miss them," Reetz said. "I hope they think I was a good captain. All the coaching staff, they've done so much for me. I hope they just put me in perspective and look at some of my moves and can learn from that."