March 12, 2004 at 9:15 a.m.
“There were some nerves,” mentioned Frederixon, Chisago Lakes head wrestling coach. “He was facing a kid he hadn’t seen before so he was trying to figure him out. He was a tough kid, I think he finished second overall.”
“He”, is Josh Holforty from Bloomington Kennedy, James’s first round opponent, and yes, he did place second overall.
The match started slowly as both wrestlers felt each other out. Holforty eventually broke the scoreless tie late in the first with two points, taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. In the second, James broke onto the scoreboard with a one point escape but still trailed 4-1 through two. Holforty held on down the stretch, picking up his 37 win of the season by stifling James in the third, picking up a 4-1 win.
A Holforty win in the quarterfinals kept James alive as the senior moved to the wrestlebacks last Friday. Up next was Ben Roff of Osseo, another state-ranked opponent with just three losses all year. After battling Roff even in the first, James got caught in the second period leading to a Roff pin. It marked just the second time all year James had been pinned. It also brought a close to his wrestling career, finishing the season with a 26-5 record, but still no medal.
“He was definitely disappointed,” replied Frederixon. “He was over that stage of getting there, he wanted to place, but even though that didn’t happen, when he looks back on it, he has a lot to be proud of.”
The match was the final one of the 2003-04 season for the Wildcats, meaning plans for next year are already underway. Even though James will not be back next season, several ‘Cats who were at the state tournament cheering him on will be.
“We have a couple of guys who have set their goals high already,” mentioned Frederixon. “They were down there (at state) watching kids wrestle who they’ve beaten before. They want to make a trip down there. We’re going to be better next year, but right now, we’re starting over. It’s day one of the season all over again.”
State “AAA” Individual Wrestling Tournament (CL only):
Holforty def. James 4-1
Roff def. James (pin)