ON TO STATE
Seven area wrestlers will be representing three Steele County schools this week in the state individual wrestling tournament in the Twin Cities.
Tyler Archer of Blooming Prairie’s Westfield, Tommy Elwood, Josiah Hedensten and Brennon Hoffman from Medford and Cael Robb, Landen Johnson and Matt Seykora from Owatonna all qualified for the state wrestling tournament after competing in sections this past weekend.
Archer, Elwood, Hoffman and Johnson all claimed section championships in their respective weight divisions. The others came in runner-up but still qualified for state.
Westfield’s 182-pound junior Tyler Archer, who earned a 24-5 regular-season record, competed against Blue Earth Area senior Nick Frank, who went 23-7 this season, in the first-place match of the individual state prelim.
Archer got on the scoreboard first via a takedown, but Frank earned an escape to cut Archer’s lead in half, 2-1.
In the second period, Archer started in the top position, but Frank once again got an escape to tie the score 2-2.
Later, Archer earned an escape of his own and prevented Frank from getting any more points to win the first-place match by decision 3-2 and advance to the state individual tournament.
Medford’s 106-pound eighth-grader Tommy Elwood, who boasted a 24-1 regular-season record, faced Jackson County Central freshman Nolan Ambrose, who came in with a 32-2 record, in the first-place match of the Section 2A-3A individual state prelim.
Elwood got an early takedown to a 2-0 lead, but Ambrose, the second-ranked wrestler in the state at 106 pounds, quickly tied it up again with his own takedown. Late in the third period, Ambrose led 4-3, but Elwood got a last-second reversal to win the first-place match by decision 5-4 and advance to the state individual tournament.
At 220 pounds, Medford senior Brennon Hoffman (12-1) won his first two matches by fall to reach the first-place match.
In the first-place match, he squared off against Minneota’s Jackson Esping, who came into the state prelim with a 27-5 regular-season record.
In a low-scoring match, each wrestler scored an escape and the score was tied 1-1, but Esping committed a penalty by backing away from his opponent and that one-point penalty proved to be the difference as Hoffman won by decision 2-1 to claim his spot in the state individual tournament.
Owatonna’s Johnson claimed the section title by grabbing two critical takedown points in the third period.
See today’s sports section for more on the wrestling action.