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Four area matmen qualify for Class A state tournament

Wadena-Deer Creek's Sam Waln defeated Prairie Valley's Tom Leeseberg in a 126-pound match at the Section 6A individual wrestling tournament Feb. 22. Photo by Brian Hansel, Pioneer Journal1 / 3
Wadena-Deer Creek's Tristin Godel and Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale's Justin Gordon battled in the 120-pound bracket Feb. 22. Gordon won the match 6-3. Photo by Brian Hansel, Pioneer Journal2 / 3
Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale's Anthony Kern competes against Border West's Mason Pullis in a 106-pound match. Kern edged Pullis 2-1 and advanced to state as section runner-up in his weight class. Photo by Brian Hansel, Pioneer Journal3 / 3

Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale's Dillon Card earned a return trip to state Feb. 23 as the sophomore grappler claimed the 182-pound championship in the Section 6A individual wrestling tournament in Wadena.

Class A's third-ranked wrestler pinned Prairie Valley's Eric Brauch in 36 seconds and pinned Pelican Rapids' Felix Barragan at the 3:41 mark to reach the finals against New York Mills' Noah Pesola. Card posted a 3-1 decision against the senior with a 32-6 mark.

Card's fellow state qualifiers came from opposite ends of the section's 14 weight classes.

After a first-round bye, 106-pounder Anthony Kern decisioned Border West's Mason Pullis 2-1 and Pelican Rapids' Daniel Franco 4-1. The BHV sophomore met top-ranked Brady Tweeton of Barnesville in the finals and settled for second with a 5-2 setback.

Hunter Truax surprised Prairie Valley standout Logan Nibbe 6-3 in a true second challenge at 285 to earn his state trip. Nibbe's 30-7 mark earned him the only bye of the weight class. He decisioned Pelican Rapids' Eddie Ramos 5-2 to reach the championship finals against New York Mills' Max Carlson. Nibbe ran trouble at that point, losing a 4-3 decision to Carlson in overtime and finding himself challenged for a state berth by Truax.

Truax took a more difficult path to the true second match. The BHV senior was pinned by Ramos at the 2:45 mark of their first-round match. He dropped into wrestlebacks where he pinned Barnesville's Alec Wheelright at 4:23 to earn another shot at Ramos in the third-place match. Truax was ready for Ramos in their rematch, and pinned the Pelican wrestler at the 1:09 mark to earn his second shot at Nibbe.

Truax also scored a quick takedown against the section's No. 1-ranked wrestler, and by using good position he kept his lead until Nibbe made a late bid with an attack that Truax was able to turn into another takedown to seal the win.

"It is great to see how far he has come this year," BHV Head Coach Mike Barthel said.

Barthel not only saw three of his wrestlers qualify for state, but watched 11 of his Raiders place in the top six in the Section 6A tournament.

Dalton Baker pinned New York Mills' Cole Grabow at the 2:25 mark in their 220-pound match. Justin Gordon and Ethan Kimber were fourth-place finishers at 120 and 138, respectively. Zack Waln and Nick Bennett were fifth at 113 and 160. Finishing sixth were Marshall Willis at 120 and John French at 195.

Wadena-Deer Creek Senior Sam Waln survived a true second challenge from Pelican Rapids' Carlos Guiterrez to qualify for state at 126.

Waln was rated No. 1 at 126 going into the section, and earned a first-round bye. Waln pinned Prairie Valley's Tom Leeseberg at 3:44 in his first match and pinned New York Mills' Austin Haman at 3:44 in the semifinals.

Waln ran into Kyler Votava in the finals and lost to the Barnesville junior 3-1.

Pelican Rapids' Carlos Guiterrez lost to Votava 7-2 in the championship semifinals and dropped into wrestlebacks where he decisioned Willis 7-2 and Haman 8-4 to claim third and earn his shot at Waln. The WDC standout edged Guiterrez 3-1 in the true second match.

Wadena-Deer Creek Head Coach Norm Gallant was impressed with Waln's ability to bounce back from the loss to Votava.

"He did a nice job of getting himself back on track," Gallant said.

WDC's Devin Barthel and Josh Lawson earned true second challenges at 132 and 138. Barthel, who broke a hand in the Mid-State Conference Tournament on Jan. 25, lost a tough 7-5 decision to New York Mills' Tyler Ehnert in his true second match. Lawson racked up three victories after losing to Kimber in the first round. The WDC senior was finally stopped by Border West's Dylan Pullis 6-0.

BHV's Hayden Truax fought back for a true second challenge at 152. The sophomore grappler pinned Breckenridge's Josh Petersen at the 1:16 mark for third place, and earned a shot at New York Mills' Kacee Skoog. Truax lost to Skoog by fall at the 3:41 mark.

WDC's Carter Wright placed fifth in the 106-pound weight class and Tristin Godel placed sixth at 120.

Section 6A wrestling results

106: Brady Tweeton (Barnesville) dec. Anthony Kern (Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale) 5-2

113: Cameron Sykora (Border West) tech. fall Conrad Kondos (Breckenridge) 4:12

True Second: Kondos pinned Sam Naddy (Otter Tail Central) 2:55

120: Shane Novak (New York Mills) dec. Tracer Lee (Border West) 7-3

126: Kyler Votava (Barnesville) dec. Sam Waln (Wadena-Deer Creek) 3-1

True Second: Waln dec. Carlos Guiterrez (Pelican Rapids) 3-1

132: Gus McCarthy (Border West) major dec. Tyler Ehnert (New York Mills) 15-3

True Second: Ehnert dec. Devin Barthel (Wadena-Deer Creek) 7-5

138: Rylee Anderson (Barnesville) dec. Dylan Pullis (Border West) 5-2

True Second: Pullis dec. Josh Lawson (Wadena-Deer Creek) 6-0

145: Josh Stuehrenberg (Breckenridge) dec. Royal Crow (West Central Area) 10-3

True Second: Crow dec. Alex Trowbridge (Barnesville) 6-2

152: Nick Stafford (Border West) dec. Kacee Skoog (New York Mills) 10-6

True Second: Skoog pinned Hayden Truax (Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale) 3:41

160: Austin Maanum (Border West) dec. Hunter Olson (Barnesville) 12-8

True Second: Hunter Olson (Barnesville) dec. Darius Erlandson (Breckenridge) 2-1

170: Isaac Goedtke (Barnesville) pinned Derek Nordick (Breckenridge) 5:01

True Second: Nordick pinned Josh McKeown (Prairie Valley) 1:51

182: Dillon Card (Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale) dec. Noah Pesola (New York Mills) 3-1

True Second: Pesola pinned Felix Barragan (Pelican Rapids) 3:29

195: Tyler Patron (New York Mills) dec. Hunter Fick (West Central Area) 2-1

220: Kyle Johnson (Barnesville) dec. Tyler Schlosser (Prairie Valley) 5-2

285: Max Carlson (New York Mills) dec. Logan Nibbe (Prairie Valley) 4-3 3 OT

True Second: Hunter Truax (Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale) dec. Nibbe 6-3