|3/4/2022 12:58:00 PM|
Five area wrestlers headed to state tournament
Two Vikings won the section championships in their weight classes and will be heading to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for this weekend’s MSHSL State Wrestling Championship. Brandt Bombard (160) beat Travis Smith of Simley 8-3 in the championship match. And Ashton LaBelle (170) beat Brent Holzem of Simley 4-3 to earn his trip to state. Bombard will face Carver Roman of FMCW in the morning session on Friday. And LaBelle will take on Cooper Hendrickson of Hibbing in his opening match.
Third-ranked Bombard took just 17 seconds to pin Dah Gay Soe of St. Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning in his first match. In the semifinals, Bombard pinned Joseph Mukanda of St. Croix Lutheran at 1:23. Bombard’s championship match against fourth-ranked Travis Smith of Simley was more of a challenge. Bombard had takedowns in the first and second period and led 4-2 at the end of two. With some controversy, Bombard built his lead to 6-3 in the third period and his takedown with 34 seconds left sealed the 8-3 win and the section championship.
Sixth-ranked LaBelle pinned his first two opponents, as well. It took him 1:18 to dispatch Jon Landaverde of St. Paul Harding, and he pinned Matthew Haberkorn of St. Croix Lutheran at 2:40. His championship match against Brent Holzem of Simley went down to the wire. LaBelle took Holzem down with 35 seconds left in the first period and Holzem escaped a few seconds later to make it 2-1. LaBelle chose down in the second period and got a reversal n the first four seconds to go up 4-1. Holzem escaped at 1:39 to cut the lead to 4-2. Holzem chose down in the third period and escaped with a minute remaining to cut LaBelle’s lead to 4-3. Ashton remained the aggressor and hung on for a 4-3 win and a trip to state.
In addition to Myia Teeselink going to the girls’ tournament, two Wildcat boys’ wrestlers are headed to this weekend’s state tournament at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul. Brycen Morley (138) and Logan Bender (195) both finished second and will represent the Wildcats ND Section 4AA at state. It will be the first trip to the state tournament for both wrestlers. Morley (19-13) will open up against Bradley Swiers of Detroit Lakes (35-9) in the morning session on Friday. Bender’s first round opponent will be Teddy Jackson of Minneapolis South (14-4). The section tournament was held last Friday and Saturday at Chisago Lakes High School.
Morley wasted no time in dispatching his first opponent, Jay Snider of St. Paul Highland Park. He pinned Snyder in just 14 seconds. Next up was Michael Thao of North Branch. Morley had a takedown with 1:10 left in the first period and Thao later escaped. Both wrestlers near had takedowns near the end of the first period, and Morley led 2-1 after one. With Thao on top, Morley escaped at the beginning of the second period to go up 3-1. Thao nearly had a takedown at 3:00. After Thao nearly had a takedown at 3:23, Morley lifted him up and threw him to the mat for a takedown at 3:40, putting Morley up 5-1. Thao chose down in the third period. He needed to escape and pin Morley, but Thao looked fatigued as Morley rode him out for the entire period to pick up the win. In the championship match, Morley faced Cash Raymond of Simley, who is ranked third in the state. Raymond used a cradle to pin Morley at 1:01. Since Morley had already beaten Thao, he did not have to wrestle him for true second and Morley was on his way to the state tournament. “This was a nice result for Brycen,” said Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon. “Going into the tournament, there was more of an outside chance that he was going to get through. But he was able to focus and wrestle his way to state. The North Branch kid, Michael Thao, has improved so much in the last couple of years and we would like to give him credit for having a great tourney.”
Bender won his opening match when his opponent forfeited. In the semifinals against Andrew Bonk of South St. Paul, Bender dominated the first period and led 11-3. Bonk spent the entire second period trying to crawl out of bonds, and Bender flipped and nearly pinned him at the end of the period, earning a three-point near fall to go up 14-3. Bender finally pinned Bonk with two seconds left in the match. In the championship match, second-ranked Soren Herzog of Simley needed just 11 seconds to pin Bender. In the true second match, Bender faced Emmet Poppelman of Mahtomedi. Bender made quick work of Poppelman, taking him down at 18 seconds and turning and pinning him at 57 seconds to earn a trip to the state tournament. Frederixon said “That’s what Logan had been doing all year. We wouldn’t have expected him to dominate opponents that are older than him early this year. Herzog from Simley is just a different animal. But Logan took care of business pretty fast in the True Second match.”
Braxton Bender-Ehlke’s (126) third place match against Martin Quiroz Roel was one of the standout matches of the day. Bender-Ehlke had a lift and takedown at 1:20 and Quiroz Roel escaped quickly to make it 2-1. Quiroz Roel chose down in the second period and escaped at 3:00 to tie the match at 2-2. Quiroz Roel got a takedown with 23 seconds left in the period to go up 4-2. Bender-Ehlke started down in the third period, and Quiroz Roel let him up right away, cutting the lead to 4-3. At 4:21, Bender-Ehlke got a takedown and almost had a two-point near fall, but now led 5-4. Quiroz Roel escaped right away to tie the match t 5-5. Both wrestlers nearly had takedowns before Quiroz Roel completed one with 40 seconds left to go up 7-5. Bender-Ehlke escaped, but that was the end of the scoring and he fell 7-6 to Quiroz Roel. Frederixon said “Braxton had a tough year, tough opponents, and some injuries. We always knew he had it in him. He needed a few breaks to go his way and was able to finally finish off some opponents> He came very, very close to a win and a possible True Second match. It was a great tourney for him.”
Connor Frederixon (182) had an exciting day. Trailing 5-1 in the third period of his opening match with Justin Benz of Cretin-Derham Hall, Frederixon threw down and pinned Benz at 4:54 to win the match. In the semifinals, Frederixon was pinned by Wil Nihart of South St. Paul at 5:19. In the third-place match, Frederixon faced Billy Arlandson of Mahtomedi. Trailing 7-3 in the third period, it looked like Frederixon was going to have a tough time catching up to Arlandson. With a minute remaining, Frederixon got a hold of Arlandson, took him down and pinned him in a few seconds (at 5:04) to win the match and claim third place. Frederixon said “Before Connor threw the Cretin kid to his back and pinned him in the quarterfinals, it was stressful for coach and dad and mom, and it was fun to see him win it in the end. Against Arlandson, Connor had wrestled him twice before and lost both times, including a seven-point loss earlier this season. We knew if he came focused, he had a shot to beat him. In the third period when he was down 7-3, we told him to look for the tie up. The kid started backing away from Connor and didn’t really continue wrestling. It allowed Connor to steal his way though and use a little hip throw to take him down and win the match. And that kid was a senior.”
Frederixon talked about some of his other wrestlers. He said “We were happy with Riley Palmer placing this year. He has been battling through some injuries and it was good for him to get key wins to place. For Hayden Trupe, it didn’t end the way he was hoping. We thought taking a shot to move up to 152 would be better for him, and he ended up in sixth place. That kid never stops fighting till the end. Reed Bleymeyer wrestled mainly JV this year and earned his shot at the end. To get all the way to fourth place after not having wrestled for many years was fun to see as well. Stevie Weiss and Chuck Gilman also showed us some good things.
Teeselink sticks though adversity
Wildcat wrestler Myia Teeselink will participate in the first-ever MSHSL Girls’ State Wrestling Tournament Saturday, March 5 at the Xcel Energy Center. The girls’ tournament will take place in conjunction with the boys’ state tournament. Teeselink, competing in the 185-pound bracket, will wrestle Miya Elbing of Rochester Century in a semifinal matchup in the morning session. If Teeselink (14-15) wins her matchup with Elbing (2-8), she will take on the winner of the other semifinal match between Chae Nay Htoo of St. Paul Humboldt – Open World Learning School (0-0) and Elsie Olson of Eastview (9-17) in the afternoon session for the first-ever girls’ state championship at 185 pounds.
If Teeselink loses her first match, she will wrestle the loser of the other match for third place. Teeselink has previously wrestled both Elbing and Olson and she pinned them both, so this is shaping up to be a good weekend.
So how did Teeselink get involved in wrestling in the first place?
She said “My dad was talking to my brother, who was really little at the time, and he wondered if he wanted to wrestle. My brother said ‘yeah’ and then my dad asked me and my sister, and I said ‘yeah, I’ll try it.’ I was in fourth grade, and my dad said, ‘all right, we’ll do it.’” Teeselink’s family lived in St. Croix Falls, Wisc., at the time, so she started wrestling in their youth program. The family moved to the Chisago Lakes area in seventh grade and Teeselink started wrestling at the Chisago Lakes Middle School.
Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon said, “In eighth grade, Myia started coming up to the high school when the middle school season was over, and when she came in, she was just a workhorse. She almost outworked a lot of the boys. She was just after it the whole time. It was fun to see an eighth-grader stepping in just to kind of bring it. And to be a female at the same time, it was kind of an eye-opening experience for us. We were impressed.”
Asked if Teeselink’s participation inspires other girls, Frederixon said, “I know it does. When my younger daughter knows there’s a girl out there wrestling, she pays a lot more attention than she does to any boy out there on the mat. It’s aways been something that has interested her that way, so I think it inspires girls and I think this is just going to continue building throughout the state.”
Frederixon showed his support for Teeselink by signing her up for a girls-only tournament in Pine Island earlier this season. Teeselink said “He got me into the Pine Island tournament, and I hadn’t even known about it. And he set up all my regionals and the state tournament, things like that.”
In what is not an uncommon situation for girl wrestlers, Teeselink has had boys refuse to wrestle her. She said “I’ve had guys tell me that girls shouldn’t be in wrestling. At one of our first tournaments this season, I had some kid say ‘Oh, I can’t believe how many girls are here, this is ridiculous, I would never wrestle a girl.’ And the kid I wrestled at that tournament said, ‘Girls shouldn’t wrestle, I am going to beat her right away,’ and I was like, okay. And then I beat him.” Yes, she had a big grin on her face when she said that.
And Teeselink’s family is very supportive of her wrestling career. She said “They love wrestling, and they love it when I win. I go tell my grandparents and they brag about me. My dad brags about me everywhere. He’s a construction worker, so he likes to brag about how tough I am.”
When did Teeselink first hear there might be a girls’ state wrestling tournament this year?
“We started to hear about it last year,” she said. “I didn’t even think it was going to happen, honestly.” Frederixon agreed, saying the whole thing came together faster than he thought.
So, what does Teeselink want to do after she graduates this spring? She said, “I think I want to be a teacher. I am getting some colleges contacting me about wrestling in college. So, I think if I want to be a teacher it would be a good plan to wrestle in college and get a lot of my schooling paid for.” Among her options at this point are Augsburg and a few schools in Iowa.