March 11, 2010 at 10:50 a.m.

Olson earns fourth, first Wildcat to place at state since '95

Olson earns fourth, first Wildcat to place at state since '95
Olson earns fourth, first Wildcat to place at state since '95

Senior Clay Olson (171 pounds) became the first Wildcat wrestler since 1995 to place at the state tournament, coming in fourth place at last week's Class AA tournament at the Xcel Energy Center. Freshman Quade Zupko (112) and junior Travis Kammerer also participated in the tournament as the Wildcats sent three wrestlers to the tournament for the first time since 1989.

Olson, appearing in the state tournament for the second time, earned his 100th career win by beating senior Aaron Brasket of Delano 7-1 in the first round. He dominated the match from start to finish. A two-point near fall with 22 seconds left in the second period gave him a 5-0 lead after two periods. With 1:10 left in the third period, he sealed the win with a takedown to make the score 7-0. In his quarterfinal match against senior Dylan Shequen of Staples-Motley, Olson got off to a cautious start and led 2-1 after the first period. He dominated the second period completely and increased his lead to 9-1. Shequen tried some desperation moves in the third period and Olson took advantage, adding eight more point to win 17-3 and nearly earning a technical fall (which requires a 15-point differential). Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon said "Clay just kept the pressure on the other kid the whole time and it was too much for him."

Olson fell behind early in his semifinal match against junior Sebastian Gardner of Monticello. Gardner scored a takedown just 15 seconds into the first period. Olson's escape with 1:34 left in the second period cut Gardner's lead to 2-1. Olson nearly had a takedown at the end of the second period, but ran out of time. Gardner increased his lead to 3-1 with an escape 1:34 into the third period. Just seconds later, Olson got caught on his back in a headlock for a takedown and a near fall and all of a sudden found himself down 7-1. He picked up a reversal with a minute left in the match, but that was all he could manage. Gardner added a takedown at the end to knock Olson out of the championship round by a final score of 9-3. Frederixon said "This was one of those types of matches where getting the first takedown would have given Clay some control. Once he got behind, it was hard to come back against such a tough opponent."

After the disappointment of losing in the semifinals, Olson made the most of his wrestleback opportunities. Trailing 4-2 in the third period against senior Alex Feldt of Detroit Lakes, Olson scored three takedowns in the last minute of the match to win 8-6. Olson's win sent him to the third place match against senior Justin Bowland of Foley who was ranked first in the state at the beginning of the season and ended up ranked fourth. Olson trailed 2-1 at the end of the first period. Bowland increased his lead to 5-1 with a takedown and an escape. Olson got a penalty point and an escape to cut the lead to 5-3. But that's all he could managing against Bowland, a defensive stalwart, losing the match 5-3 and ending up with a fourth-place finish.

"We're pretty proud of Clay," said Frederixon. "It's 15 years since we've had a placewinner. It's huge. And Clay deserves all he gets. He works hard and puts in so much time and energy. It's going to be hard to find another guy with the same commitment. He brings a great amount of focus and confidence to every match. It's amazing how levelheaded he is in big matches. He never lets the spotlight get to him and wrestles to his best ability ever time he goes out there."

"Clay has really come on strong the last two years, said Frederixon. "He had 39 wins last year and 37 this year, with only 10 total losses. He's had an outstanding career at Chisago Lakes and plans to wrestle next year at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse."

Zupko's first round match pitted him against second-ranked Cody Paulsen of Totino Grace, a senior with just three losses on the season. Zupko held out for two periods, but Paulson pinned him 45 seconds into the third period to end Zupko's championship run in the opening round.

Paulson, who finished second in the tournament, won his second round match. This gave Zupko a shot at the wrestlebacks. He faced sophomore Mitch Dunlap of Foley, who pinned Zupko when the two met last season. Zupko trailed 4-2 late in this match. Late in the third period, he was driving for a tying takedown when he stumbled. The stumble provided an opening for Dunlap, who got behind Zupko for a takedown and a four point swing to make the final score 6-2.

"Paulsen ended up in second place for the tournament," said Frederixon. "He's a senior who had a lot more experience than Quade. Paulson also made his first state tournament as a freshman, so he had been there and knew what to expect. That's a good thing for Quade to learn from. Quade had a lot of fun at the tournament. He has 69 wins for us in the past two years. Olson is the only guy with more over that period. He took a big step getting to the state tournament as a freshman. Next year, he's got to be hungrier in order to get to the next level."

Zupko is the youngest state entrant from the Chisago Lakes area since 1993, when Dan Dellwo made the trip. He becomes only the third wrestler in school history to earn a state tournament berth at this age. Darin Zimmerman accomplished it in 1981.

Kammerer started the tournament with an impressive performance against fellow junior Zach Barabash of St. Paul Harding. Kammerer's takedown midway through the first period gave him a 2-0 lead. Barabash tied it with a reversal with 14 seconds remaining in the period. It what may have been the defining moment of the match, Kammerer responded with a reversal of his own with four seconds left to lead 4-2 after one.

Kammerer started on the bottom in the second period, getting a reversal at 20 seconds. He rode Barabash the rest of the period, thwarting a Barabash reversal attempt with 45 seconds remaining. He sealed the win with a three-point near fall halfway through the third period and rode Barabash nearly the rest of the match for a 9-3 win.

He faced John Nething of New London-Spicer in the quarterfinals. Nething, ranked second all year, controlled Kammerer from the start and never really allowed him to get going. Nething's only loss before the state tournament was in the section finals and he looked like he had something to prove, making it tough on Kammerer. Kammerer lost by a final score of 11-0.

In his wrestleback match, Kammerer got down 4-1 early to junior Jared Peterson of Windom Area. He battled back to tie it 5-5 in the third period. He let Peterson up for an escape and a one-point lead with a minute to go in order to go for a winning takedown. He was in position for the takedown near the end of the match, but needed about ten more seconds to finish it off when the whistle sounded. Kammerer lost 6-5.

"Travis had a good experience at the state tournament," said Frederixon. "He was disappointed for the result, but it definitely gives him something to build on for next year. And he certainly has a great chance to make it back here again." Kammerer had his third straight 30 win season this year and has now moved into second place in all time wins at Chisago Lakes.

"I think it's great that we got three guys to the state tournament this year," said Frederixon. "We're losing two great leaders in graduating seniors Clay Olson and Riley Myers, but we have a lot coming back. If the guys make a commitment to getting better during the offseason, I'll be really excited going into next year. It could be a lot of fun."


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