Wrestlers clinch section title and first state berth in 15 years

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Garett Nelson waited all season while recovering from an injury to make his season debut in the Section 8AA championship match earning a big major decision to held Detroit Lakes capture a section title and state berth for the first time in 15 years. Robert Williams / Tribune

The Detroit Lakes wrestling team knows all about section final disappointment.

Friday night, the top-seeded Lakers turned that recent history into instant elation in a come-from-behind 38-30 victory over Thief River Falls at The Hive in Perham to clinch the program’s first 8AA championship and state tournament berth since back-to-back runs in 2004-05.

“It’s huge; it took a big team effort,” said Blaine Henderson. “We were practicing all week for Perham. We thought they were going to come out, but Thief took them out for us. That helped. The kids dug deep and we did it.”

Detroit Lakes trailed 27-20 heading into Henderson’s match against Dakota Fellman.

“Coach told me to go out there and said I had six minutes to get six points and I dug deep and got it done,” Henderson said.


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Blaine Henderson celebrates after winning by fall in the first period over Thief River Falls' Dakota Fellman to flip momentum to the Lakers down the stretch of the championship match Friday night at The Hive in Perham. Robert Williams / Tribune

One minute and 23 seconds later, Henderson stuck Fellman to cut the lead to one. Despite trailing by a point, the entire vibe in the gym changes as Henderson flexed his muscles at the student section and his teammates. From that point on, the Lakers were not going to be denied.

“When we wrestled them last time they had the same upper weights,” said senior co-captain Blake Weber. “We were pretty confident that once Blaine got that fall that we could do it. We just needed to execute and do our jobs.”

Detroit Lakes had been the section runner-up five times since 2013, including the past three seasons, all losses to the five-time defending champions from Perham.

The Prowlers dispatched of the Yellowjackets 38-32 in the semifinals and had the match in hand up 38-22 after 195.

“It was a little bit of a surprise wrestling Thief; they are a tough team,” Weber said. “They came to wrestle tonight.”

The Prowlers’ Mason Iverson added more drama defeating DL’s Andrew Annette in a tight 1-0 decision at 195 to go back up by four points 30-26 heading to the final two matches.


Senior co-captain Jordan Skadsem pinned Kirby Kilen at 220 in 1:34 for a 32-30 Laker lead and Andreas Barnett cemented the win and Jolson Sargent in 56 seconds creating bedlam in the Perham gym.

Barnett was ready for the limelight having seen his brother Charles in the same scenario a few years ago in one of DL’s finals losses.

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Detroit Lakes heavyweight Andreas Barnett celebrates amidst a roar from the Laker faithful after season the section title with a pin at heavyweight Friday night. Robert Williams / Tribune

“I was there; I watched it.” said Andreas. “It was crazy and so sad. My brother has been such an important mentor for me. The stress and pressure got to him and I just couldn’t let that happen to me. It’s going to come down to me and I’ve got to do my job and come through for the team.”

Barnett flexed to the crowd and his teammates relishing the win and getting himself, his brother and the team over that hump.

“We’re pumped,” he said. “It’s amazing”

“This is what we’ve been working for all season,” Weber said. “It’s more like a dream come true. We were in this position to win it two years ago and it slipped through our grasp. We didn’t want that feeling again this year so we put in the time.”


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The 2020 Section 8AA wrestling champions pose with the section trophy after defeating Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus in the semifinals and Thief River Falls to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2005. Robert Williams / Tribune

The Prowlers Kale Geiser started the dual with a pin and a 6-0 lead, but DL’s Tyson Ullyott and Carson Wold erased that in 32 seconds.

Ullyott hit Nick Svir right off the whistle and buried the 113-pounder in a flash of 10 seconds.

Wold did the same at 120 pinning Kehan Nelson in 22 seconds for a 12-6 DL lead.

Griffin Lundeen and Cody Wienen answered with Prowler decisions to tie the score at 12.

Brody Ullyott (138) put DL back in front 16-12 with an 8-0 major decision over Brady Kasprick.

Thief’s Jake Davis pinned Bradly Swiers and the Prowlers were back in front 18-16, followed by a Brandon Zuniga 5-2 decision over DL’s Thad Schlauderaff.


Swiers wrestled up and put in a big effort to stay with Davis.

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DL's Bradly Swiers battles Thief River Falls Jake Davis in a 145-pound match Friday night in the Section 8AA championship at The Hive in Perham. Robert Williams / Tribune

“Even though that match doesn’t go your way, they set the stage for the next guy. They see that and it really means something to them,” head coach Rob Ullyott said.

Schlauderaff and Zuniga battled back-and-forth and despite losing, not allowing bonus points was huge.

Both teams won seven matches each. Bonus points were critical and why the Lakers were victorious.

Trailing 21-16, Coach Ullyott pulled out a wild card in 160-pound junior Garett Nelson.

“He had an injury earlier in the year and that was his first match of the season,” Coach Ullyott said.


Nelson told Ullyott that he wanted to be a part of the team at the end of the year.

“What a difference maker that was for us getting a major decision for us,” said Coach Ullyott.

Nelson was all over the mat with speed against Aaron Bruggeman scoring at will in a 12-4 victory that juiced up the crowd and his teammates pulling the Lakers back to within a point down 21-20.

Nolan Mann had his hands full with Thief’s Cole Johnson at 170 pounds but hung with the Prowlers state-ranked senior deep into the third period before Johnson earned a hard fought pin at 5:49.

“I think that was one of the most intense evenings we’ve been through,” Coach Ullyott said. “I just can’t tell you how doggone proud of the team I am and of the community for coming out and supporting us. What a great student section we had down here tonight and when that happens it’s just all about our community. We’re so thankful for that.”

The Prowlers got a longer rest after the semifinals taking out Perham while Detroit Lakes and Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus were still battling.


The Lakers trailed early after a pin at 106, but won 12 of 14 matches earning bonus points in eight to take the dual handily 58-12.

During the break before the finals, the Lakers adjusted their focus to Thief River Falls after going in with heavy expectations on a rematch with Perham.

“We still needed to be amped up,” said Weber. “This isn’t the same team we wrestled last time. We needed to be ready to go. We needed to go out there and give it everything and leave it all on the mat.”

Wold, Cade Okeson, Cade Jackson, Brody Ullyott, Mann, Skadsem and Barnett all recorded pins in the victory. Mann finished his the quickest needing only 42 seconds to take out Payton Scott at 170 pounds.

The No. 11AA Lakers head to state with a record of 23-6, winners of the last 16 consecutive duals. DL received the No. 5 seed and will open state against No. 4 Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield.

First up is the Section 8AA individual tournament Feb 21-22 in Pequot Lakes. The state tournament will be held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Feb. 27-29. Class AA team matches begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. Individuals compete Friday and Saturday.

Section 8AA Championship

Detroit Lakes 38, Thief River Falls 30

106 – Kale Geiser (TRF) over Bryant Hazelton by fall 3:42

113 – Tyson Ullyott (DL) over Nick Svir (TRF) by fall 0:10

120 – Carson Wold (DL) over Kehan Nelson (TRF) by fall 0:22

126 – Griffin Lundeen (TRF) over Cade Jackson(DL) Dec. 6-2

132 – Cody Wienen (TRF) over Blake Weber (DL) Dec. 4-2

138 – Brody Ullyott (DL) over Brady Kasprick (TRF) Maj. Dec. 8-0

145 – Jake Davis (TRF) over Bradly Swiers (DL) by fall 3:35

152 – Brandon Zuniga (TRF) over Thad Schlauderaff (DL) Dec. 5-2

160 –Garett Nelson (DL) over Aaron Bruggeman (TRF) Maj. Dec. 12-4

170 – Cole Johnson (TRF) over Nolan Mann (DL) by fall 5:49

182 – Blaine Henderson (DL) over Dakota Fellman (TRF) by fall 1:23

195 – Mason Iverson (TRF) over Andrew Annette (DL) Dec. 1-0

220 – Jordan Skadsem (DL) over Kirby Kilen (TRF) by fall 1:34

285 – Andreas Barnett (DL) over Jolson Sargent (TRF) by fall 0:56


Detroit Lakes 58, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 12

106 –Owen Carlson (PLPRB) over Bryant Hazelton (Detroit Lakes) Fall 2:31

113 –Tyson Ullyott (Detroit Lakes) over Caleb Ruhl (PLPRB) Dec 6-1

120 –Carson Wold (Detroit Lakes) over Grant Thompson (PLPRB) Fall 4:32

126 –Cade Okeson (Detroit Lakes) over Korey Kinyon (PLPRB) Fall 5:30

132 –Cade Jackson (Detroit Lakes) over Karsen Kinyon (PLPRB) Fall 3:48

138 –Blake Weber (Detroit Lakes) over Evan Koering (PLPRB) Dec 8-1

145 –Brody Ullyott (Detroit Lakes) over Finnegan O`Dell (PLPRB) Fall 1:30

152 –Thad Schlauderaff (Detroit Lakes) over Austin Staricha (PLPRB) Dec 9-7

160 –Connor Tulenchik (PLPRB) over Lee Omdahl (Detroit Lakes) Fall 1:32

170 –Nolan Mann (Detroit Lakes) over Payton Scott (PLPRB) Fall 0:42

182 –Blaine Henderson (Detroit Lakes) over Keenan Dahl (PLPRB) Maj 15-3

195 –Andrew Annette (Detroit Lakes) over Corbin Knapp (PLPRB) Dec 3-2

220 –Jordan Skadsem (Detroit Lakes) over Josh Pettit (PLPRB) Fall 4:29

285 –Andreas Barnett (Detroit Lakes) over Logan Carlson (PLPRB) Fall 1:40

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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