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home : sports : sports
July 3, 2022

3/11/2022 10:49:00 AM
Teeselink a trailblazer, Champion
Bombard wrestles for a state title for NB

Wildcat senior Myia Teeselink won the 185-pound class at the first-ever MSHSL Girl’s State Wrestling Tournament, pinning sophomore Chae Nay Htoo of St. Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning at 3:29 to claim the crown.  Teeselink is the Wildcats’ first state champion since Dan Dellwo won the 140-pound class at the boys’ tournament in 1995.  This year’s girls’ tournament was held alongside the boy’s tournament last weekend at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Teeselink had little trouble in her semifinal match Saturday morning.  Her opponent, eighth grader Miya Elbing of Rochester Century, was given two stalling warnings early in the first period, and the second one gave Teeselink a 1-0 lead at 36 seconds.  Teeselink got a takedown at 48 seconds and pinned Elbing at 1:21.   In the championship match later that afternoon against Htoo, Teeselink dominated early and got a takedown at 30 seconds.  She continued to dominate until Htoo surprisingly got a reversal at 1:25 to tie the match at 2-2.  Teeselink was nearly awarded an escape as the wrestlers tumbled out of bounds at 1:48, and Htoo held Teeselink down for the last 12 seconds. The score was 2-2 after the first period.    In the second period, Htoo deferred and Teeselink chose down.  A focused Teeselink got a reversal at 2:15 to go up 4-2 and completed her pin at 3:29 to win the championship.  She got up off the mat and flexed her muscles as she beamed in celebration, delighting the Wildcat faithful and the rest of the crowd in attendance.

Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon said “We knew she could do it.  It was a situation where she was almost wrestling against herself and the environment, and she needed to not let the moment get too big for her.  She wrestled through nerves and everything that comes through wrestling at the Xcel.  She put in many hard practices wrestling against boys who have a superior strength factor.  To be able to  wrestle other girls for the state title is a big moment and I am glad for her that she was able to take full advantage of it.

“When she got reversed in the first period of the championship match, we just tried to get her to refocus.  You just never know what adrenaline will do to your body, and if it empties out at that point you could be facing the longest four minutes of your life in the last two periods, especially after the referee chose not to award her an escape late in the first period.  In the second period she chose down, got a reversal, and got back in control of things.”

Freshman Brycen Morley (138) faced senior Bradly Swiers of Detroit Lakes in his opening match on Friday.  Swiers had a takedown for the only points scored in the first period and led 2-0.  Morley started on the bottom in the second period, and Swiers pinned him at 3:01.  Swiers lost his next match, denying Morley a chance at wrestlebacks, and Morley’s tournament was over.

Frederixon said “Brycen wrestled a kid from Section 8AA in his opening match, and they will always send really tough kids from up there.   Throw he fact that he was a senior and this was his final shot at the state tournament, and you are going to get best possible kid they can provide.  Brycen had a very good year but ran into kid who wasn’t going to be denied in first round of state.

Freshman Logan Bender (195) faced senior Teddy Jackson of Minneapolis South in his opening round match on Friday.  Bender got a takedown at 1:43 and pinned Jackson just four seconds later to move on to the quarterfinals.  In his quarterfinal match, Bender matched up against junior Hayden VanderVoort of Hutchinson/Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.  VanderVoort got a takedown at 39 seconds.  Bender escaped at 51 seconds to cut the lead to 2-1 but was assessed a stalling point at 1:01 and VanderVoort led 3-1.  VanderVoort completed another takedown at 1:49 and took just another eight seconds to finish the match, pinning Bender at 1:57, and sending Bender to the wrestlebacks.

In his first consolation match, Bender wrestled junior Drew Shay of Hibbing.  Bender completed a takedown at 1:39 to go up 2-0 after one period.  In the second period, Shay chose bottom and escaped at 2:12.  But Bender took Shay down just ten seconds later and led 4-1.  In the third period, Bender chose bottom.  He got a reversal at 4:33 to go up 6-1.  He was given a stalling warning at 5:35 but was able to refocus and held off Shay for the last 25 seconds for the 6-1 win.  In the consolation semifinals, Bender and senior Martin Prieto were tied 0-0 after the first period.  In the second period, Prieto chose down and had a quick escape, followed by a takedown and a three point near fall to go up 6-0.  Bender chose up in the third period.  Prieto had a takedown at 4:30 and was awarded a two point near fall as Bender escaped at 5:22 to increase his lead to 10-1.  Prieto had another takedown 15 seconds later to make the final score 12-1 and ended Bender’s run at the state tournament.

Frederixon said “Being a freshman at 195, Logan did well at a tough weight as the youngest kid in his bracket.  He went out and wrestled the way he did all year and was able to get a couple of wins.  It was good experience as he goes into these next three years.”

North Branch
For the first time since 2010, the Vikings had two wrestlers place in the same year at the MSHSL Boy’s Wrestling Tournament.  Senior Brandt Bombard took second place at 160 pounds, and senior Ashton LaBelle came in fourth place at 170 pounds.  The tournament took place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last weekend.

Bombard, ranked third in the state in Class AA at 160, faced junior Carver Rohrman of Fairmont/Martin County West in his opening match on Friday morning.  Bombard had a takedown at 44 seconds to go up 2-0.  He chose down in the second period, and Rohman chose to let him up before they even started to give Brandt an escape point and a 3-0 lead.  Bombard completed a takedown at 2:23 to increase his lead to 5-0.  The referees gave Rohman a stalling warning at 3:23, and Bombard led 5-0 after the second period.  Rohman chose up in the third period.  Bombard was given a stalling warning midway through the period.  Rohman got a takedown at 5:55.  Bombard was assessed a stalling point at the end of the match to cut Bombard’s lead to 5-3, but it was too little, too late for Rohman and Bombard’s 5-3 win moved him on to the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinal match, Bombard went up against senior Cody Wienen of Thief River Falls.  After a 0-0 first period, Bombard chose down.  He got a reversal at 3:11 to go up 2-0, and Wienen escaped at 3:51 to cut Bombard’s lead to 2-1.  Wienen chose down in the third period and escaped at 4:48 to tie the match at 2-2.  As time wound down, it looked like they were headed to overtime.  But Bombard completed the only takedown of the match with just six seconds remaining and won 4-2 to earn a trip to the semifinals.

In the semifinal match, Bombard was matched up against a junior from Simley – fourth-ranked Travis Smith, who Bombard had already beaten twice this year.  After a scoreless first period, Smith chose down in the second period.  He escaped at 2:17 to go up 1-0.  Neither wrestler got close to a takedown for the rest of the period.  Bombard chose down in the third period and took just eight seconds to escape and tie the match at 1-1.  Bombard was given a stalling warning at 4:59.  Bombard worked hard on a takedown in the last 15 seconds of the third period but didn’t quite complete it and the match went to overtime.  After the first overtime was scoreless, Bombard chose down in the second overtime  and got an escape at 7:09 to go up 2-1.  Smith chose down in the third overtime.  Bombard almost had a near fall at 7:43.  It looked like Bombard might hold Smith down for the win, but Smith escaped with one second left in the period to tie the match at 2-2.  Since Smith scored first in the match, he got to start on the bottom in the fourth overtime.  He would win if he escaped, and Bombard would win if he could keep Smith from escaping for the entire 30 seconds.  With about ten seconds left in the match, Smith stood up, Bombard held on to his ankle.  Smith dove to try to break loose for the escape and the win, but Bombard somehow held on to his foot as they headed toward out of bounds.  With four seconds left, and despite protests from the Viking coaches, the referees ruled the wrestlers out of bounds.  On the restart, Bombard held Smith down for the final four seconds to get the win, 3-2, and advanced to the championship match.  Assistant coach Kyle Kahl said “That’s the third time he wrestled Smith in the last 20 days.  To beat him all three times- 5-2, 8-3 and sudden victory – is amazing.  And this last match was the most exhilarating match I have ever been a part of.  I was so impressed with Brandt’s poise and how he finished the match.  It took me all night to have my heart rate come down after seeing his raw emotion and tears of joy.  That’s the real power of sport – people coming together.”

In the championship match on Saturday evening, Bombard wrestled senior Jude Link of Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield, the state’s top-ranked Class AA wrestler at 160 pounds.  Neither wrestler came close to a takedown in the first period.  Link chose down in the second period and escaped at 2:12 to take a 1-0 lead.  Link came close to a takedown with a minute left in the period but didn’t complete it.  Bombard chose down in the third period and took just six seconds to escape and tie the match at 1-1.  Neither wrestler came close to a takedown for the rest of the period, and they headed to overtime.  Bombard and Link engaged early in the first overtime and were on their knees with their arms holding each other’s shoulders.  Suddenly, Link spun and got on Bombard’s back at 6:25 for a takedown to win 3-1 in sudden victory.  Bombard finished second to end his high school wrestling career.

Sixth-ranked LaBelle opened the tournament against sophomore Cooper Hendrickson of Hibbing.  LaBelle had three takedowns in the first period and led 6-2 at the end of one.  He built his lead to 11-3 at the end of the second period with a quick escaped and two takedowns.  But Hendrickson nearly came all the way back in the third period.  He escaped at 4:19, but LaBelle took him down at 4:32 and it looked like he would ride it out for the win.  But very late in the match, Hendrickson had an escape, a takedown and a three point near fall to cut LaBelle’s lead to 13-10 at 5:48.  But LaBelle avoided the pin and added another escape to win 14-10.

In the quarterfinals, LaBelle faced unranked junior Caden O’Malley of Tri-City United.  After a scoreless first period, LaBelle chose down in the second period but was not able to escape.  O’Malley chose down in the third period and escaped at 4:13 to go up 1-0.  That was all the scoring in the match as O-Malley hung on for the 1-0 win and sent LaBelle to the wrestlebacks.

In the first consolation match, LaBelle shut out junior Guinahi Douhe of Fridley 7-0.  LaBelle’s second consolation bout matched him up with Brian Thilges of Mankato East.  After a 0-0 first period, Thilges chose down in the second.  LaBelle got a stalling warning at 2:34 and Thilges escaped at 3:44 to go up 1-0.  With LaBelle on the bottom to start the third period, he escaped at 4:15 and had a takedown 25 seconds later to go up 3-1.  He was assessed a stalling point at 5:46 to cut his lead to 3-2.  Thilges escaped at the end, but the referees got together and ruled the escape came after the final whistle, giving LaBelle a 3-2 win.

LaBelle did not have any easy or boring matches in this tournament.  Facing senior Dusty Wilke of Grand Rapids in his next match, Bombard got an escape at 2:25 to go up 1-0.  But with just under 30 seconds to go in the period, he was given two stalling warnings in quick succession, giving Wilke a point to tie the match at 1-1.  Wilke started on the bottom in the third period, and LaBelle let him up at 4:15 to give Wilke a 2-1 lead.  The tension built as LaBelle worked to get a needed takedown.  At 5:51, with just nine seconds left in the match, LaBelle was awarded a takedown as the wrestlers sailed out of bounds, and he now led 3-2.  As the wrestlers re-set at the center of the mat with LaBelle on top, the referee gave the signal for the restart.  But as wrestling commenced, the timekeeper did not start the clock.  He finally started it after four or five seconds had elapsed.  The referees were made aware of this and stopped the match with two seconds left on the clock, giving the win to LaBelle, and sending him to the third-place match.

In the third-place match, LaBelle wrestled Caden O’Malley for the second time in the tournament.  O’Malley chose down in the second period and escaped at 2:13 to go up 1-0.  LaBelle attempted a takedown not long after that, but O’Malley turned it into a takedown of his own at 2:31 to go up 3-0.  LaBelle nearly escaped at 3:30, but O’Malley hauled him back down.  LaBelle chose up in the third period and nearly had an early takedown but couldn’t complete it and lost 3-0 to end up in fourth place.

Kahl said “We are pretty proud of both of them.  It was finally good to see those guys shine on the highest stage.  Last year, Ashton didn’t get a chance to wrestle due to a skin issue, and Brandt got caught up in the supersection mess dictated by the pandemic.  In Brandt’s semifinal match, the whole crowd was watching the overtime.  And they cheered him when he beat the Simley kid.  It was cool to heave them cheering, not necessarily against Simley, but for Brandt.  I couldn’t be any more proud of both of them.  Now that the season is over. They can feel a sense of accomplishment.  It was big for Ashton to beat the Grand Rapids kid to go for third.  Brandt will be able to look back in a couple of weeks and know that there aren’t too many people who can say they made it to the state finals.  I have been telling everyone for years about these two and it’s great to see it finally come through.  Nothing was easy for Brandt in this tourney.  He was going to score on other people’s offense and played that script really well, but in the end, it didn’t quite go his way.  And one thing I will never forget – Brandt and Ashton each only lost to one other guy in this tourney.”

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