4 Owatonna Wrestlers Qualify for State; Medford Sends 3
Owatonna senior Nick Staska won the Section 1AAA championship to earn a spot at the state wrestling meet at Xcel Energy Center this weekend. OHS senior Cade King and freshmen Landen Johnson and Kanin Hable also qualified for state with runner-up finishes.
Medford junior Willie VonRuden and freshmen Charley Elwood and Alex Helgeson all qualified for state. NRHEG will send seniors Tyler Jacobson and Quinten Arndt to state. The Westfield Razorbacks, a coop between Blooming Prairie and Hayfield, qualifies juniors Colton Krell and Dylan Nirk for the March 1-2 tournament.
Staska earned a pair of exciting wins Saturday to win the title at 220 after spending much of the season competing at 195. In the semifinals he faced a friend he has wrestled against his whole life in Northfield's David Tonjum. The two were locked in a defensive battle, circling each other most of the time. Staska took a shot in the third period that led to the winning take down in a 3-1 victory.
In the finals, Staska faced senior Brady Nielsen of Albert Lea who had knocked out the top-seed Tyler Nachtigal of Winona. Staska's approach this time was to score early. He got a first-period take down and went on to win 5-2.
No. 2 rated King, the defending state champion at 182 pounds, faced Albert Lea's Zach Glazier for the fourth time this season. Like the previous three Glazier's defensive approach worked against the usually high-scoring King for a 1-0 win. King won the true second match due to a medical forfeit. It's likely the two will meet in the finals at the state meet Saturday night.
No. 6 ranked Johnson lost to No. 1 rated Drew Woodley of Northfield at 138 pounds then scored a pin in the true second match to return to the state meet. Hable upset the No. 2 seed Sam Holman of Northfield in the semifinals. He lost to top-seed Nic Cantu of Albert Lea in the finals at 120 pounds but did not need to wrestle in a true second match to earn his first trip to state.
Owatonna's Kaden Nelson finished third at 145 pounds after advancing to the finals but losing to Luke Peterson of Farmington then to Caleb Talamantes of Albert Lea in a true second match. Matt Seykora had a great tournament. The sophomore upset the No. 2 seed in the 160-pound semifinals with a win by fall and ended up in fourth place.
Owatonna eighth-grader Cael Robb lost a tight 5-4 decision to No. 2 seed Hunter Frost of Farmington in the semifinals at 106 pounds. Robb wrestled back with a pin and a 17-2 tech fall but did not get to wrestle in a true second match. He went 4-1 in the tournament.
Huskies' sophomore Ashton Macht won the fifth place match at 113 pounds, as did freshman Jacob Reinardy at 132.