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Perham takes fourth, secures best state tournament finish since 2008

Dylan Fudge, top, of Perham wrestles Colton Kerkow of Scott West during their 145-pound match of the Class AA consolation team dual of the Minnesota Wresting Tournament on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service1 / 2
Dylan Johnson, left, of Perham wrestles Colton Bahr of Scott West during their 113-pound match of the Class AA consolation team dual of the Minnesota Wresting Tournament on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Saint Paul. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service2 / 2

The Perham Yellowjackets secured their best finish in the Class AA wrestling tournament since 2008 when they finished fourth at the Class AA Championships at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on March 1.

The Yellowjackets secured their best finish when they snapped a quarterfinal round drought with a 31-25 victory over the Foley Falcons. The Falcons were a team that had the Yellowjackets’ number the past two seasons in the quarterfinal rounds. However, the Yellowjackets were able to avenge those losses.

“It was a little bit of getting over the quarterfinal hump. It feels good to get fourth, but the truth is you are still 1-2 for the weekend. It does feel a little bit better,” Perham head coach Robb Moser said. “It’s a good thing for our program. If we have been going down to the state tournament and getting fifth every year, which is on almost any standard, pretty exceptional. But, for our kids the standard is a little higher.”

Owen Werner

Perham was eliminated from championship round competition when they were defeated by the state’s top-ranked team and eventual Class AA Champions, Kasson-Mantorville. The KoMets defeated Perham 48-10.

Perham finished the day, falling to Scott West 33-30 in the third place match. It was the best Perham finish since 2008 when they finished second in the state. Moser said the match with Foley was one of their highlight matches of the season.

“I thought our kids came ready to wrestle and that’s not always the case at this tournament for us. I think that was a great first round match up,” Moser said. “When you run against Kasson-Mantorville, there is not a lot (you can do). I think a lot of people would agree they are the best team in the state, all classes. We were able to get some guys in the lineup and save some matches for guys that are wrestling on Friday and Saturday.”

Moser said they were realistic about their chances going into the dual with Kasson-Mantorville. The KoMets defeated Perham 48-10 with the Yellowjackets winning three of the matches behind the efforts of Dylan Fudge, Zach Peterson and Ty Moser.

The Yellowjackets set their sights on the third place trophy this year, although they didn’t reach that goal, they reached a goal of finishing higher than they have the past three years when they were consolation champions.

Dawson Kellogg

“We didn’t end with a win, but it’s a nice little springboard for our kids next year,” Robb Moser said. “Next year will be a neat year. We will be going into a new facility and we will have a little bit more momentum. We are only losing three seniors and we have some really good kids. We got some young kids some great experience this weekend.”

Peterson said it was a great atmosphere for the team and it showed how hard the team has been working, building on their success the past four seasons at the state meet.

“The last three years we have been really successful,” Peterson said. “We have won six duals before this tournament, but our guys this year were able to take fourth and it shows how hard we work in the practice room and how hard we push each other. We are constantly trying to get better and that was great by our team.”

Ty Moser said it feels good and it doesn’t come around very often. Moser continued a run that he started as an eighth grader. The junior wrestler has yet to be defeated in team competition for the Yellowjackets. He finished the day 3-0, including a match sealing win against the state’s top ranked wrestler at 195 in Foley’s Saylor Schmidt.

Owen Werner and Dylan Johnson started things off for Perham with major decision wins against Scott West. Werner finished with an 11-0 win, while Johnson recorded a 12-2 win. It was a nice end to Johnson’s career, closing with a win at the state championships.

Dylan Fudge snapped a streak of four straight Scott West wins with his third straight win on the day with a fall at the one minute and 15 second mark.

Dawson Kellogg earned a fall win, picking up some key bonus points for the Yellowjackets at 170. He defeated Jon Huss at the 1:51 mark. The top-ranked wrestler at 170 finished a perfect day with two wins.

After a loss at 182, Perham answered back with Peterson and Moser. Peterson earned a major decision win 14-6 over Dylan Askalson. Moser followed with a fall at 3:09 over Hunter Struffert, giving Perham the slight edge. Scott West responded with a win at 285, closing out the match with a 33-30 win.

The Yellowjackets cap off the season with a 28-3 record overall and their highest state tournament finish since 2008 with the fourth place finish. Seven members of the Yellowjackets wrestling team will be in action for the Class AA Individual Tournament, starting at 9 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center.

Scott West 33, Perham 30

106: Owen Werner (PER) def. Tory Pumper (SW) (Maj. Dec. 11-0)

113: Dylan Johnson (PER) def. Colton Bahr (SW) (Maj. Dec. 12-2)

120: Justin Stauffacher (SW) def. Gabe Bellefeuille (PER) (Maj. Dec. 10-2)

126: Jacob Hill (SW) def. Gareth Covington (PER) (Maj. Dec. 13-5)

132: Tyler Shackle (SW) def. Leighton Rach (PER) (Dec. 12-6)

138: Jackson Stauffacher (SW) def. Jack Fudge (PER) (Dec. 8-2)

145: Dylan Fudge (PER) def. Colton Kerkow (SW) (Fall 1:15)

152: Jack Fogarty (SW) def. Matthew Bush (PER) (Fall 3:52)

160: Jace Demmers (SW) def. Wyatt Guck (PER) (Dec. 7-2)

170: Dawson Kellogg (PER) def. Jon Huss (SW) (Fall 1:51)

182: Tyler Buesgens (SW) def. Brian Ramos (PER) (Fall 1:17)

195: Zach Peterson (PER) def. Dylan Askalson (SW) (Maj. Dec. 14-6)

220: Ty Moser (PER) def. Hunter Struffert (SW) (Fall 3:09)

285: Calvin Menke (SW) def. Colton Kostynick (PER) (Maj. Dec. 9-0)

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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