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Yellowjackets edge Waconia for third place

The Perham Yellowjackets with their third place trophy after defeating Waconia 27-24 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 4
Perham’s Jack Fudge, front, escapes from Waconia's Will Burroughs during the Minnesota Class 2A Team Wrestling third-place dual Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 4
Perham’s Gareth Covington, top, wrestles Waconia's Josh Wagener during the Minnesota Class 2A Team Wrestling third-place dual Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor3 / 4
Perham’s Gabe Bellefeuille, top, wrestles Waconia's Bradee Dwinell during the Minnesota Class 2A Team Wrestling third-place dual Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor4 / 4

It may not have been the trophy they wanted, but the Perham wrestling team continued to make school history with its first ever third place finish in the Class AA Championships at the Xcel Energy Center when they defeated Waconia 27-24.

The Yellowjackets, the No. 1 seed, were defeated by Marshall, 27-25, in the semifinals. The Yellowjackets could not get on track against Marshall, but were able to rebound with a win against a talented Waconia team.

“I can’t help but feel a little disappointed, but what a cool accomplishment,” Perham head coach Robb Moser said. “It’s something that no Perham wrestling team has done. That was a fun match. We didn’t have the elation on our face, but we have to enjoy these moments. They are not common. Going down and getting a medal at the state tournament is not something you should ever take for granted. I’m really proud of these kids. That was a gritty match and there was nothing flashy about it.”

Perham's Zach Peterson.

It was a back-and-forth duel between the two teams and it wasn’t decided until Dawson Kellogg picked up a 3-2 decision win over Sam McEnelly at 220.

“It’s good. We were expecting to make the finals, but we came out of it the best way we could,” Dawson Kellogg said. “Right away, but we knew as soon as we were done we could get third and that’s just as good as losing in the finals.”

Moser said one of the big matches for Perham came at 120 with Gareth Covington earning a 4-2 victory. Covington’s victory was the second of three straight. Blaze Brady answered an opening major with a major of his own over Riese White. Gabe Bellefeuille followed with a 14-1 major decision as well.

“It was really good to see how happy he was and elated,” Moser said. “Another one was Coltan Satter. He is in the final match of his high school career, he is in the third place match and he wins it in overtime. That was huge for us. We didn’t give up the big points to their horses in the middle.”

Satter earned a 7-2 victory in overtime, which was followed by another strong performance from Jack Fudge. Fudge went 3-0 for Perham with a 7-1 victory over Will Burroughs.

Moser said Fudge has been on a roll. He said he has been under the radar because there are so many good kids at 145, 152 and 160. Moser said he has had a nice end to the season.

Waconia answered with three straight wins, but the trio of Zach Peterson, Ty Moser and Kellogg sealed the victory. Robb Moser said he thought those three were starting to get a bit tired, but they still won and that it was fitting that those three helped seal the win.

Ty Moser

The Yellowjackets finish the season with a 31-2 record overall. It’s the fifth straight year the Yellowjackets have placed at the state tournament.

“That’s a level of excellence that we rarely see, even by Perham standards,” Moser said. “We rarely see something like that. Also, you throw in that so many of those seniors made the individual tournament, that’s awesome and you can’t replace it.”

Perham vs. Waconia

106: Tyson Peitz (WAC) def. Owen Werner (PER) (Maj. Dec. 11-0)

113: Blaze Brady (PER) def. Riese White (WAC) (Maj. 14-4)

120: Gareth Covington (PER) def. Joshua Wagener (WAC) (Dec. 4-2)

126: Gabe Bellefeuille (PER) def. Bradee Dwinell (WAC) (Maj. Dec. 14-1)

132: Max McEnelly (WAC) def. Leighton Rach (PER) (Dec. 6-4)

138: Coltan Satter (PER) def. Gage Mueller (WAC) (S-V 7-2)

145: Jack Fudge (PER) def.  Will Burroughs (WAC) (Dec. 7-1)

152: Timothy Stapleton (WAC) def. Dylan Fudge (PER) (Dec. 4-3)

160: Mitchell Garnatz (WAC) def. Matthew Bush (PER) (Dec. 5-0)

170: Cade Mueller (WAC) def. Brian Ramos (PER) (Tech Fall 15-0)

182: Zach Peterson (PER) def. Jackson Boberg (WAC) (Dec. 19-12)

195: Ty Moser (PER) def. Bram Fitzsimonds (WAC) (Maj. Dec. 15-6)

220: Dawson Kellogg (PER) def. Sam McEnelly (WAC) (Dec. 3-2)

285: Bennett Weber (WAC) def. Rowdie Lindquist (PER) (Fall 1:36)

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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