Freshman Austin Sonnek (132) will be the first Viking wrestler to go to the state tournament since 2014. He pinned Tristan Johnson of Hibbing in the true second place match at last weekend’s individual Section 7AA tournament to earn his first trip to state. The section tournament was held in Grand Rapids last weekend. Sonnek will open the tournament during the 11 a.m. session tomorrow against junior Antonio Cortez of South St. Paul, the winner of Section 4AA.
In his opening quarterfinal match at sections, Sonnek squeaked out a 9-7 decision over Josh Fuller of Princeton. Viking assistant coach Kyle Kahl said “Austin pinned Fuller twice earlier this year. He was confident going into this match – maybe he was a little over confident. But, even though he didn’t wrestle well, it woke him up for the next match.“ In his semifinal match against Jordan Lindquist of Mora, Sonnek was in control. He was good on his feet and outworked his opponent. He pinned Lindquist in the second period, at 3:22 of the match, to earn the right to wrestle in the section final.
Sonnek’s opponent in the final was, not surprisingly, Kellen Schauer of Grand Rapids, who went 39-2 this year and is ranked seventh in the state at 132 in Class AA. Sonnek almost took Schauer down early in the match, but Schauer recovered. Near the end of the first period, Schauer got Sonnek in a cradle. He pinned Sonnek right at the end of the first period, winning the section and sending Sonnek to the true second place match against Johnson.
Against Johnson, Sonnek used his scrambling style of wrestling to build a lead throughout the match. Sonnek started down in the third period. Kahl said “Since Austin had the lead, we just wanted him to get up and get away. But Austin scrambled, got on top and pinned him.” When the referee’s hand slapped the mat at 4:49 of the third period, Sonnek was on his way to state “Austin really earned this trip,” said Kahl. “He beat three of the best guys in the section to get there.
After the first match, he wrestled tough and really focused, especially in the true second match. He finished what he had started. At practice on Monday, we brought the whole team back, even though the rest of them were done for the season. They were all pretty excited for Austin and very supportive. It was good for our program and a huge relief to get someone to state after a two-year absence.”
Brandon Swanson (285) was the next highest finisher for the Vikings at sections, coming in fifth. Luke Nadeau (113) and Jack Anderson (126) finished sixth.