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Blue Earth Area earns 3rd at Class A state mat meet

STATELY HERO — Blue Earth Area wrestler Nick Lawrence (left) drives Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove opponent Eathan Martinez to the mat during the 220-pound match in Friday’s Class A state team third-place meet at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Lawrence went on to pin Martinez to seal the Bucs’ bronze medal-winning performance. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ST. PAUL — After 18 years without a team state tournament appearance, Blue Earth Area is going home as the No. 3 team in Class A.

The No. 5-ranked Bucs came back late to beat No. 9-ranked Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Southland 34-32, fell to eventual wrestling state champion No. 1-ranked Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville 39-18 in the semifinals, then outlasted No. 6-ranked Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove, 36-26, to claim the bronze medal on Friday.

BEA head coach Randy Wirtjes said the Bucs’ did a good job controlling how many points they gave up.

“We were happy to be here, but, of course, wanted to make some noise when we got here,” Wirtjes said. “We wrestled very well, put ourselves in position to do it. … Getting to the third-place match and wrestling Tracy once this year, we knew it would be tight. … It was just a great team win. Our alternates did a great job. We all did a good job of not giving up bonus points. We stuck to our philosophy of getting bonus points and not giving them up.”

The clinching points in the third-place match came, as they did in the quarterfinals, from Nick Lawrence.

The Bucs went into Lawrence’s 220-pound match with a one-point lead after holding the Panthers’ previous three wrestlers, who had combined for only six losses this season, to 11 points.

Lawrence stuck Eathan Martinez’s shoulders to the mat in 3:01 to bring the Bucs’ lead to seven with only the heavyweight bout left.

BEA’s Ian Cornelio iced the dual with a 4-2 win.

The pin ended a day for Lawrence that began with a pin of GMLOS’ Colton Gardner to give the Bucs six necessary points at heavyweight to take a 34-32 win in the Class A quarterfinals.

BEA started its third-place dual from behind when it had to forfeit 106 pounds after usual 106-pound wrestler Caleb Langager was hurt during the Bucs’ semifinal bout.

Ty Peterson erased the deficit quickly with a pin of Alex Schuh in 5:29. The teams swapped points, with the Panthers’ No. 1-ranked 120-pounder Ayden Horner pinning Carson Sturtz before the Bucs’ No. 7-ranked 120-pounder Davis Sunken moved up to 126 and pinned Jayden Torgeson in 2:54.

The Panthers’ No. 8-ranked 126-pounder Levi Ellingson moved to 132 where he took a 4-1 decision over Jacob Beeler, before Caleb Beeler tied the matchup at 15 with a 3-2 decision over Blaine Petersen at 138.

BEA’s No. 7-ranked 138-pounder Jaxen Klinkner gave the Bucs their first lead of the day when he shoved Sawyer Otto’s shoulders to the floor at 145, then Koby Nagel took a 4-3 decision over Caden Johnson at 152 to extend the lead to 24-15.

No. 3-ranked 160-pounder Max Ehrich continued the Bucs’ run with an 8-6 decision over No. 5-ranked Sawyer Schwartz before the Panthers began their three-match comeback.

Gabe Krick took a 5-3 decision over Kean Hicks at 170, then No. 3-ranked 170-pounder Jace Paplow moved up to 182 and took a 10-4 decision over Nick Frank and No. 1-ranked 182-pounder Trevor Eisfeld built a 22-7 technical fall over Luke Mertens at 195 before Lawrence clinched the win for the Bucs.

Six Bucs won their bouts against the Eagles during semifinal action.

Peterson claimed a 5-0 win over Cael Lorentz at 113, Sunken pinned No. 4-ranked 120-pounder Justin Crandall in 5:17, Nagel fought to an 11-7 decision over No. 9-ranked 145-pounder Nye Becker, Ehrich battle to an 8-6 decision over No. 8-ranked 170-pounder Gabe Pesta and Cornelio worked a 5-3 decision over Trey Lancaster at heavyweight.

The Bucs fell behind early in the quarterfinals, but battled back.

After No. 2-ranked 106-pounder Anthony Romero pinned Langager and No. 9-ranked 113-pounder Cohen Wiste took a 6-2 decision over Peterson, Sunken fought to an 11-1 major decision over Cael Gilbert to get the Bucs on the board.

Jacob Beeler followed with a pin of James Jacobsen in 3:27, then Caleb Beeler won a 2-0 decision over Lucas Winfield at 132 pounds.

No. 9-ranked 138-pounder Donavon Felton pinned Klinkner at 138 before Nagel pinned Corbin Ludemann at 145, giving the Bucs a 19-15 advantage.

No. 8-ranked 145-pounder Rece Voigt then worked to an 11-1 major decision over Parker Meyers before Christian Jacobson put the GMLOS lead at 25-19 with a pin of Schavey at 160 pounds.

Ehrich moved up to 170 to face No. 4-ranked 160-pounder Daniel Smith, earning a 9-7 decision before No. 7-ranked 170-pounder Noah Sayles worked a 10-2 major decision against Hicks at 182.

Frank pinned Aaron Mork at 195 pounds to get the Bucs within one, then Cameron Sneed earned a 9-3 decision for GMLOS at 220, leaving the Bucs down four with only Lawrence’s heavyweight pin left.

Seven Bucs return to the Xcel Energy Center at 9 a.m. today to open the Class A state individual meet.

Class A Quarterfinal

BEA 34, GMLOS 32

106: Anthony Romero (GMLOS) pinned Caleb Langager, 0:42. 113: Cohen Wiste (GMLOS) dec. Ty Peterson, 6-2. 120: Davis Sunken (BEA) major dec. Cael Gilbert 11-1. 126: Jacob Beeler (BEA) pinned James Jacobsen, 3:28. 132: Caleb Beerler (BEA) dec. Lucas Winfield, 2-0. 138: Donavon Feltron (GMLOS) pinned Jaxen Klinkner, 1:16. 145: Koby Nagel (BEA) pinned Corbin Ludemann, 2:55. 152: Rece Voigt (GMLOS) major dec. Parker Meyers, 11-1. 160: Christian Jacobsen (GMLOS) pinned Adam Schavey, 1:59. 170: Max Ehrich (BEA) dec. Daniel Smith, 9-7. 182: Noah Sayles (GMLOS) major dec. Kean Hicks, 11-2. 195: Nick Frank (BEA) pinned Aaron Mork, 1:04. 220: Cameron Sneed (GMLOS) dec. Luke Mertens, 9-3. 285: Nick Lawrence (BEA) pinned Colten Gardner, 0:34.

Class A Semifinal

LPGE/Browerville 39,

Blue Earth Area 18

106: Braden Thom (LPGEB) won by injury default. 113: Ty Peterson (BEA) dec. Cael Lorentz, 5-2. 120: Davis Sunken (BEA) pinned Justin Crandall, 5:18. 126: Carter Meiners (LPGEB) dec. Jacob Beeler, 5-0. 132: Landon Gode (LPGEB) pinned Caleb Beeler, 1:39. 138: Mason Gode (LPGEB) tech. fall Jaxen Klinkner 20-5. 145: Koby Nagel (BEA) dec. Nye Becker, 11-7. 152: Ted Stacey (LPGEB) pinned Parker Meyers 3:48. 160: Riley Thom (LPGEB) major dec. Adam Schavey, 8-0. 170: Max Ehrich (BEA) dec. Gabe Pesta, 8-6. 182: Caleb Pesta (LPGEB) dec. Nick Frank, 4-3. 195: Hans Holmquist (LPGEB) dec. Luke Mertens, 5-1. 220: Levi Line (LPGEB) dec. Nick Lawrence, 5-2. 285: Ian Cornelio (BEA) dec. Trey Lacaster, 5-3.

Class A Third-Place

BEA 36, TMB/WWG 26

106: Devin Carter (TMBWWG) won by forfeit. 113: Ty Peterson (BEA) pinned Alexander Schuh, 5:29. 120: Ayden Horner (TMBWWG) pinned Carson Sturtz, 0:41. 126: Davis Sunken (BEA) pinned Jayden Togeson, 2:55. 132: Levi Ellingson (TMBWWG) dec. Jacob Beeler, 4-1. 138: Caleb Beeler (BEA) dec. Blaine Petersen, 3-2. 145: Jaxen Klinkner (BEA) pinned Sawyer Otto, 1:36. 152: Koby Nagel (BEA) dec. caden Johnson, 4-3. 160: Max Ehrich (BEA) dec. Sawyer Schwartz, 8-6. 170: Gabe Krick (TMBWWG) dec. Kean Hicks, 5-3. 182; Jace Paplow (TMBWWG) dec. Nick Frank, 10-4. 195: Trevor Eisfeld (TMBWWG) tech. fall Luke Mertens, 22-7. 220: Nick Lawrence (BEA) pinned Eathan Martinez, 3:01. 285: Ian Cornelio (BEA) dec. Travis Willhitte, 4-2.

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