United North Central makes first trip to state a memorable one
UNC's Ethan Hendrickson wins state title
ST. PAUL —The third time was the charm for United North Central’s Ethan Hendrickson.
After finishing as the runner-up at the state Class A wrestling tournament the last two seasons, the Menahga senior won his first state title in his fourth and final appearance by defeating a three-time state champion at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday, March 5.
Hendrickson opened the state tournament as the No. 2 seed and the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds. Hendrickson advanced to the semifinals with a 12-4 major decision over Maple River’s Ethan Evenson in the first round and a 7-1 minor decision over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s Brady Holien in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 4.
In the semifinals, Hendrickson edged Kimball’s Gavin Winter 5-4 before defeating Simley East’s Drayden Morton 5-3 in the championship match in a rematch of last year’s title match at 132. Morton edged Hendrickson 3-2 to win the state title last year after also winning state titles at 120 in 2020 and at 106 in 2019.
Hendrickson, who finished sixth at 106 in 2019 and was the runner-up at 113 in 2020 (losing to Sibley East’s Derek Steele 4-2) and last season by suffering his first loss to Morton in the finals, accomplished his goal by ending his high school career as the first state champion for UNC. Morton was a three-time state champion and was on an 81-match winning streak.
Hendrickson was later named to the 2022 Wrestling State All-Tournament Team.
“Ethan is the first ever UNC state champ. We have had our fair share of kids make the finals, but winning that last match has been elusive. So to finally get that first one feels outstanding for our staff, Ethan and the UNC wrestling family,” said UNC head coach Jacob Oyster. “Ethan was pretty excited to win that one. It's something we have been talking about for years, so there were years of emotions built up on Ethan's end with his dad Nate and everyone else cheering him on throughout the years.”
Hendrickson claimed the state title by defeating four ranked opponents to cap off a 52-1 season. Winning a state title capped off a stellar high school career for Hendrickson, who compiled a 172-20 record for the Warriors.
3 other Warriors place
In addition to Hendrickson’s state title, the Warriors had three other wrestlers place at the state tournament.
The senior duo of Eion Ness (fourth at 160) and Torrey Carlson (fourth at 195) and junior Marcus Peterson (sixth at 285) also capped off the season with state medals.
4 other Warriors compete
The Warriors had four other wrestlers compete at the state tournament.
Hank Tellers opened the 152-pound bracket by pinning Eden Valley-Watkins’ Isaac Oritz in 2:51 before dropping a 10-0 major decision to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s Blaine Fischer in the quarterfinals. Tellers stayed alive with a 6-2 decision over Adrian’s Isaac Bullerman before being eliminated with a 7-5 overtime loss to Jackson County Central’s Isaiah Rodriguez. Tellers was rated No. 9 in the state poll.
Zach Hendrickson lost an 18-5 major decision to Tracy-Milroy’s Devin Carter in the first round at 120, but received another match when Carter defeated Goodhue’s Lucas Bortz 9-1 in the quarterfinals. Bortz eliminated Hendrickson with a pin at 3:36.
Conrad Koll at 106 and Aaron Lake at 126 were eliminated after one match.