Zach Brown won his weight class, and Lukas Meier advanced by placing second.
CROOKSTON - The Pirates hosted the Section 8A Individual Tournament for the second straight year, and, in the spirit of repetition, Zach Brown (So. 113 Pounds) and Lukas Meier (Sr. 152 Pounds) qualified for the state competition for the second year in a row.
"I thought our guys wrestled really hard and wrestled an aggressive style," Pirates Head Coach Wes Hanson said. "Zach repeating as section champ and Lukas as runner-up...congratulations to them for heading down to state again. Everybody on the team really fought, and I thought we had a solid performance as a team."
It took Brown only two wins to claim another section title. After receiving a first-round bye, Brown, the No. 2 wrestler in the state for 113 pounds, took care of Seth Lavalier by fall in 3:36.
In the championship match, Brown grabbed an early lead, expanded and held on late to defeat Christian Carlson by a 10-5 decision and win the gold.
"[Carlson] is very well-conditioned," Brown said. "I got to get in better condition if I want to go far in state. He definitely pushed me."
Brown improved his season record to 36-1.
Meier made quick work of Brandon Van Den Einde to open up his tournament. Meier pinned Van Den Einde in 49 seconds, and later, beat Andy Dostal 9-2 to advance to the finals.
Waiting for Meier in the championship match was the No. 1 wrestler in the state for 152 pounds, Chandler Mooney. Undefeated on the season, Mooney continued his superb campaign and downed Meier 9-2.
With Dostal winning his third place match, Meier avoided a true second place match and made it to state with the silver.
"It really comes down to just believing in yourself, setting your goals and working every day at achieving them," Meier said. "Once I became healthy this year, I really fought back to the top of my conditioning. I still need a little more work before I get down there, but we've got a week."
Cameron Weiland (So. 132 Pounds) possessed the best chance for a third Pirate to advance out of the section, but walked away with a bronze. It began with a quarterfinals victory by fall in 3:13 over Hank Tellers. Weiland came up short in the semifinals losing to Carter Sorenson by a 7-1 decision which sent the sophomore to the consolation semifinals.
Needing two more wins and some luck to get a chance to advance, Weiland completed part one and beat Tyler Stuhaug by fall in 2:48 to reach the third place match. There, Weiland bested Tellers for the second time in two days, this time by fall at 1:02.
Sorenson went on to win the section championship granting Weiland a true second place match with Brandon Pries. The sophomore came inches away from a pin, but Pries escaped and eventually won the match 13-7.
"Cameron Weiland just wrestled tremendous this tournament," Hanson said. "[He] had a great opportunity in the true second where he used a cow catcher, had his opponent on his hip and was able to use his feet to run him over to his back. He had a good opportunity to pick up a pin. It was awfully close, but his opponent was able to work his way out."
Damian Hodgson (Sr. 182 Pounds) - 4th Place
Quarterfinals: W by Decision, 7-2, over Ethan Waage
Semifinals: L by Major Decision, 14-6, to Dale Grindahl
Consolation Semifinals: W by Fall, 4:37, over Harmon Liebl
Third Place Match: L by Fall, 3:43, to Teigen Hextell
Blake Fee (Sr. 220 Pounds) - 4th Place
Quarterfinals: W by Fall, 1:29, over Evan Chalich
Semifinals: L by Fall, :07, to Dominik Vacura
Consolation Semifinals: W by Fall, 2:39, over Kyle Bliss
Third Place Match: L by Fall, 2:30, to Zachary Howard
"I thought our two seniors, Blake Fee and Damian Hodgson, both fought back to get into that third place match," Hanson said. "Both are solid wrestlers and have had good careers with us. [They] unfortunately came up a little short, but over all, [I'm] pleased with their efforts."
Ethan Bowman (8th Grade 106 Pounds) - 5th Place
Quarterfinals: L by Decision, 9-7, to Daunte Yost
Consolation Quarterfinals: Bye
Consolation Semifinals: L by Fall, 1:31, to Tony Olson
Fifth Place Match: W by Decision, 6-3, over Daunte Yost
Nolan Dans (So. 120 Pounds) - 5th Place
Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 4:47, to Tyler Moe
Consolation Quarterfinals: Bye
Consolation Semifinals: L by Fall, 3:34, to Christian Schmidt
Fifth Place Match: W by Major Decision, 11-2, over Wesley Ramberg
Braxton Volker (8th Grade 120 Pounds) - 5th Place
Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 3:30, to Dylan Rasmussen
Consolation Quarterfinals: Bye
Consolation Semifinals: L by Major Decision, 10-2, to Lukas Volstad
Fifth Place Match: W by Fall, 1:54, over Oscar Duden
Ethan Boll (8th Grade 160 Pounds) - 6th Place
Quarterfinals: W by Fall, 3:21, over Daniel Graham
Semifinals: L by Major Decision, 19-5, to Ben Olson
Consolation Semifinals: L by Decision, 9-2, to Alex Smith
Fifth Place Match: L by Decision, 10-5, to Tyler Maruska
Hunter Knutson (8th Grade 138 Pounds) - DNP
Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 1:44, to Garrett Undeberg
Consolation Quarterfinals: L by Decision, 9-7, to Kaden Kappedal
Cade Coauette (So. 145 Pounds) - DNP
Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 1:27, to Eion Ness
Consolation Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 3:02, to Jayce Thompson
Cade DeLeon (Fr. 170 Pounds) - DNP
Quarterfinals: L by Tech Fall, 3:00 (17-2), to Tristyn Ferguson
Consolation Quarterfinals: L by Fall, 2:13, to Gabe Horgeshimer
Brown and Meier will now prepare for the state competition at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Day one of the competition is Friday, March 1.
Last season, Brown did not place at state in the 106-pound class, and Meier took fifth in 145.
The two state-qualifiers spoke on their return to St. Paul.
"Especially the way I ended last year being up 4-0 and then ended up losing that match," Brown said. "It's definitely a booster coming in and working hard every day just to reach that podium."
"Just believe in myself every match, fighting every minute, every second and trying to be the aggressor out there," Meier said.
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