March 8, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.

Zupko's sixth top finish for area wrestlers

Zupko's sixth top finish for area wrestlers
Zupko's sixth top finish for area wrestlers

Quade Zupko (138) finished sixth at last week’s state wrestling tournament, becoming the first Wildcat junior to place at a state tournament since the Dan Dellwo era over 20 years ago.  Two other Wildcats, eighth-grader Kyle Schoenecker (106) and senior Chase Kammerer (285), won their first round matches and lost in the second round.  The other four Wildcats wrestlers that made it to state – freshman Dylan Connell (113), senior Bobby Sontag (145), freshman Joe Virga (152) and junior Jonah Westbury (220) – lost their first round matches.  The state tournament was held  Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.
 Kammerer’s first round pin gave him 29 pins for the season to break the school record of 28 set by Troy Montague in 2008.
 
Zupko (138), in his third appearance at the state tournament, opened against sophomore Carter Holthaus of Albany.  Holthaus tried a takedown move about 30 seconds into the first period, but Zupko reversed it into a takedown of his own for a 2-0 lead.  Holthaus escaped at the 1:00 mark to cut the lead to 2-1.  Zupko dove for Holthaus’ legs and executed another takedown with eight seconds left in the period and held off Holthaus’ attempt at a reversal to lead 4-1 after one period.  Zupko started down in the second period and neither wrestler scored in the period.
 
Holthaus started down in the third period and Zupko let him escape right away to cut Zupko’s lead to 4-2.  Then things got a little strange.  The timekeeper failed to restart the clock with 50 seconds left in the period.  The referees realized it 19 seconds later just as Zupko took Holthaus down and nearly pinned him.  They stopped the clock and awarded Zupko three points for a near fall.  A few seconds later, they realized they had forgotten to give Zupko credit for the takedown before the near fall and awarded him another two points, so he now led 7-2.  Zupko was awarded two more points for a near fall at the end of the match, winning by a final score of 9-2.
 
Next up for Zupko was senior Matt Lloyd of Montgomery Lonsdale. Neither wrestler scored in the first period.  Zupko started down in the second period and escaped almost immediately for a 1-0 lead.  Midway through the second period, Lloyd attempted a takedown near the edge of the circle and both wrestlers skidded out of bounds standing up.  The referee blew the whistle and, for some reason, Lloyd gave Zupko an extra shove.  The referee awarded Zupko one point for Lloyd’s late shove to give Zupko a 2-0 lead.  Lloyd started down in the third period and escaped at 4:45 to cut the lead to 2-1; 30 seconds later, Zupko was given his first warning for stalling.  At the end of the match, he threw Lloyd down empathically for two points.  Zupko’s 4-1 win sent him to the semifinals on Saturday morning.
 
Zupko faced junior Coltan Laganiere of Kasson-Mantorville, ranked second in the state, in the semifinal match.  Laganiere dominated the match early.  He got two points for a takedown at about 25 seconds, allowed an escape almost right away and then had another takedown later in the period to lead 4-1 after one.  Laganiere, the eventual state champion, had three more takedowns in the second period and led 10-3 after two.  One more takedown in the third made the final score 12-3.  The loss sent Zupko into the third place bracket.
 
Zupko took on freshman Andrew Fogarty of Scott West, ranked fifth in the state.  Fogarty managed one escape for a 1-0 lead.  Zupko couldn’t get in to get a takedown, but Fogarty couldn’t do much against Zupko either.  “It was two pretty similar wrestlers just in there battling,” said Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon.  Zupko’s 1-0 loss moved him to the fifth place match against senior Nate Lynn of Adrian, ranked first in the state.  The match went back and forth.  Zupko got into Lynn pretty good a couple of times and nearly finished two takedowns, but Lynn turned them around for takedowns of his own.  Lynn ended up winning 7-5.  But even though he lost, Zupko ended up placing at the state tournament for the first time in his three appearances there.
 
Frederixon said, “That was a pretty even match.  It could have easily ended with Quade on top.  It’s good for Quade that he was wrestling close to his full potential at the right time of the year.  He got into some big matches that could have gone either way.  He lost to the eventual champion and the third and fifth place guys.  And those three guys were ranked first, second and fifth in the state.  You don’t go to too many tournaments where you wrestle that caliber of competition.  The fact that he stayed right there in most of his matches shows the high level he’s wrestling at.”
 
Schoenecker (106) matched up against fellow eighth grader Esteban Teigen of Spectrum in his opening match.  Teigen got a takedown right away, but Schoenecker escaped and got a takedown of his own for a 3-2 lead.  Teigen started down in the third period and scored a reversal to go up 4-3.  Schoenecker escaped as time ran out to tie the match 4-4 and send it into overtime.  The overtime went back and forth.  Teigen nearly had a takedown midway through the overtime, but Schoenecker escaped.  Schoenecker got a takedown late in overtime and was going for a pin when the referee inadvertently blew his whistle.  Though he was denied a chance at a pin, it didn’t matter as Schoenecker was awarded two points for the takedown and a 6-4 win.
 
Schoenecker’s next opponent was seventh grader Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville, ranked first in the state.  Berge, who lost only once all season and was the eventual state champ, dominated the match from the beginning and won with a 16-2 major decision.  In wrestlebacks, Schoenecker lost 6-2 to freshman Josh Tarum of St. Thomas Academy.  “Kyle had a great last second move to send his opening match into overtime,” said Frederixon.  “And he went up against a very tough kid in his second match.  He has done a great job getting to the state tournament the last two years and has some great things ahead of him over the next four.”  Schoenecker’s opening round win was the 60th for him in just his first two seasons.
Connell (113) gave up a takedown right away in his opening match against junior Kyle Gliva of Simley, ranked number one in the state.  Gliva allowed an escape and took Connell down again for a 4-1 lead.  Gliva eventually won 5-1 and went on to later win his second straight state championship.  
 
In the wrestlebacks, Connell lost 1-0 to sophomore Zach Siegle of Scott West.  “Dylan was right there with Gliva,” said Frederixon.  “And he couldn’t quite get through Siegle’s defense to get a takedown.  Siegle beat up a lot of kids to get through the tourney and Dylan is a pretty tough kid himself.  He did just fine,” said the coach.
 
Sontag’s opponent, senior Wyatt Wixo of UCB, just wore him down over the course of the match.  After a scoreless first period, Wixo scored and escape and picked up a stalling point against Sontag to lead 2-0 after two.  Sontag escaped early in the third period to cut the lead to 2-1, but Wixo’s takedown at 4:51 made the score 4-1.  Wixo was awarded a near fall at 5:45 to make the final score 6-1.  Wixo lost his second round match, so Sontag did not get a chance to participate in the wrestlebacks.  Frederixon said “We’ve watched Bob grow the last two seasons.  This is the first year he had a record above .500 and he was also able to complete a full season without injury.  After working hard and putting in his time through the years, a trip to the state tournament was a great way for him to end his senior year.”
Virga (152) took on senior Charlie Pesch of Scott West in his opening match.  Pesch executed a fireman’s carry for a takedown and let Virga escape right away for a 2-1 lead.  Pesch did the same thing in the second period at the 2:40 mark of the match to go up 4-2.  Zupko stared down in the third period and nearly had a reversal just 20 seconds into the period.  He escaped a few seconds later to cut Peach’s lead to 4-3.  But the two wrestlers spent most of the rest of the period locking arms and Virga lost 4-3.  Pesch lost his second round match, eliminating Virga from a shot at the wrestlebacks.  “Joe’s got a few more in him,” said Frederixon.  “I think he’s kind of sent a little message to the rest of the state about who to look out for in the future.  He only wrestled one match at state and lost to a senior.  He was just one takedown away from a win.  Joe is going to get down to the Xcel Center and make some noise for the next few years.  It should be a lot of fun.”
 
Westbury’s opponent at 220, senior Brandon Ritter of Park Rapids, got a takedown 16 seconds into the match and rode Westbury out for the rest of the first period.  An escape and a takedown early in the second period stretched Ritter’s lead to 5-0.  Westbury got escapes in both the second and third periods but ended the match on the short end of a 5-2 score.  In the wrestlebacks, Westbury was pinned by Jovan Ramos at 2:18, ending Westbury’s first state tournament appearance.  Frederixon said, “I think Jonah is going to be very motivated next season.  He watched Joe Schiller of Totino Grace win the state title.  He lost to Schiller 3-2 earlier this year and can’t wait to get a rematch next year.  It’s Jonas’ first year on varsity – nobody knew he was just waiting in the wings and he shined this season.  His brother Aaron James was a two time state entrant for Chisago Lakes and Jonah wants to match his brother.  If he sets his mind to it, Jonah has the ability to be the state champ next year.”
 
It didn’t take Kammerer long to finish off junior Davion Franklin of Waconia in his first match.  Franklin tossed Kammerer at 30 seconds, but Kammerer reversed it into a takedown of his own.  He was awarded a three point near fall at 55 seconds.  He didn’t let up and pinned Franklin at 1:23 to win a trip to the quarterfinals to face senior Brient Pokornowski of Dassel-Cokato.
 
Against Pokornowski, Kammerer neared a takedown early in the first period, but the wrestlers ended up sliding out of bounds before the points were awarded.  Pokornowski got two points for a takedown at 1:15 and Pokornowski pinned Kammerer at 1:43 for the win.  In wrestlebacks, Kammerer faced senior Mike Dyer of Richfield.  Kammerer’s takedown in the third period put him up 5-4.  Dyer escaped and, with 15 seconds left, got a takedown of his own for a 7-5 win to end Kammerer’s season.  Chase had an outstanding season for us,” said Frederixon.  “He wrestled full time as a sophomore and was injured last year.  This year, he ended so many of our duals on a positive note.  It was nice to see him rise to the occasion all year.  People outside of our program didn’t know what to expect and he turned into one of the top heavyweights out there.” 
 
“We didn’t place as many as we had hoped,” said Frederixon. “We wrestled a lot of tough matches against tough kids.  We weren’t getting blown out of the water.  We were just a takedown, a near fall or an escape away from some wins.  We need to get more guys on the podium.  We showed our potential by getting seven guys to the state tourney.  I think our guys will be inspired to work hard in the offseason so they can go even further next year.”
North Branch sends two
Two Viking wrestlers made the trip to last week’s state wrestling tournament and both of them were knocked out in the first round.  Sophomore Reid Johnson (126) led going into the second period of his match with senior Noah Schlee of Grand Meadow, but Schlee pinned Johnson in the second period.  And senior Patrick Mork (160), making his third and final appearance at the state tournament, took an early lead against junior Holden Nelson of Thief River Falls.  But Nelson came back to beat Mork 6-4.  The tournament was held at the Xcel Center in St. Paul Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3.
 
Johnson gave up a takedown early in the first period,  but later escaped and got a takedown of his own to take a 3-2 lead into the second period.  Johnson chose the down position and Schlee eventually turned it into a cradle, pinning Johnson at the 3:35 mark.  Schlee lost his next match, eliminating Johnson from the wrestlebacks.  
Viking head coach Tony Aho said, “Although Reid did not finish the season the way he would have liked, we are extremely proud of this young man and know that he will go far in this sport.  He has an extremely good work ethic and a great skill set.  Combine that with his talent, and you have a recipe for a very strong competitor who will challenge for medals at the state tourney for the next two years.”
 
Mork came into the match with 39 wins, matching Nelson’s total.  Mork got a takedown at 55 seconds to take a 2-0 lead.  Aho said, “It looked like Patrick was going to control the match.  We thought that he probably had earned criteria for near fall points, but unfortunately sometimes the referee doesn’t see it the same way.”  Nelson escaped at 1:10 to cut Mork’s lead to 2-1.
 
Mork started down in the second period and made a nice escape move at 3:25 to push his lead to 3-1.  He was nearing another takedown at the end of the second period, but couldn’t complete the move before time expired.  
 
Nelson started down in the third period.  Mork let him up for an escape at 4:35, cutting his lead to 3-2.  20 seconds later, Nelson took Mork down for two points and a 4-3 lead.  Mork escaped to tie the match at 4-4, but Nelson earned another takedown at 5:30 to take a two-point lead.  After a restart with nine seconds left, Mork started working on a reversal.  But he ran out of time and lost a 6-4 decision.  
Nelson lost his next match, so Mork didn’t get a chance to compete in the wrestlebacks.  Aho said, “Patrick had a disappointing end to his season and career.  As time passes, however, Patrick will look back and be happy with his career in this sport.  It has been a pleasure working with him and we are very proud of his accomplishments.” 
 
Aho added, “Special thanks to all of the parents and supporters of North Branch wrestling.  It has been great to be amongst all of you this season.”

Comments:

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

Events

March

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
25
26
27
28
29
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.

Events

March

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
25
26
27
28
29
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.