December 6, 2022 at 4:39 p.m.
Girls, boys wrestlers shine for Sauk Centre-Melrose
The Sauk Centre-Melrose Defenders wrestling team earned eight medals from the Defender Open Dec. 2 at Melrose Area Elementary School in Melrose.
“We put six kids in the (boys) tournament and they all finished third or higher,” said Vaughn Glasener, head coach.
In the girls tournament, the team had two more medal winners. Lanna Walter went unbeaten in the 120-pound division and earned Outstanding Wrestler of the girls tournament. Lili Raya Park, in her first competition, finished second at the 145-165 division, recording two wins and a pin in an exhibition match.
Four of the nine schools are in the Defenders’ section. Team champion, Thief River Falls, which earned 194.5 points, is one of them. So, also, were Alexandria and Albany. Traditional powers Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Paynesville, Osakis and Eden Valley-Watkins participated, as did Andover.
“The tournament has really gotten bigger and better,” Glasener said. “There were four section teams. It was good for our kids to see that.”
Three Defenders reached the championship round. Jose De los Santos-Morales fell 7-4 to BBE’s Ryan Jensen. Dominic Kerzman had two pins on the night before being pinned in the 113-pound championship match. Noah Christen, 132, also earned second place.
“Noah last year was 0-4 here and a year later, he was in finals,” Glasener said. “That was awesome.”
Others won in wrestlebacks. Isaac Frericks had two pins in the wrestlebacks to win the 220 third-place medal. Mitchell Christen, after recording a pin and decision in wrestlebacks, earned the 145 third-place medal. Will Sjogren, 285, was sent to wrestlebacks after a three-overtime loss in the semifinals. There, he faced a familiar wrestler.
“It was Kevin (Raya Botello). He wrestled with us last year, but he moved,” Sjogren said.
Sjogren posted a 6-2 decision win in that match, finishing the night with a pin for a third-place medal.
Sauk Centre-Melrose finished sixth as a team with 113 points in the boys tournament. The girls did not have a team tournament, but there were 28 girls from 11 schools participating.
Boys: 113: Kerzman went 2-1. He won 5:27, won 0:53 and lost 1:48. 132: Noah Christen went 2-1. He won 2:43, won 5-2 and lost 5-2. 138: De los Santos-Morales went 1-1. He received a bye, won 7-3 and lost 7-4. 145: Mitchell Christen went 2-1. He won 4-3, lost 5-1 and won 2:24. 220: Frericks went 2-1. He lost 0:45, received a bye, won 1:35 and won 3:52. 285: Sjogren went 2-1. He won 2:47, lost 5-2 (TB) and won 3:24.
Girls: 120: Walter went 2-0. She won 1:38, received a bye and won 0:46. 126: Noelia Hernandez Vega 0-3. She lost 0:22, lost 0:22 and lost 1:08. 145-165: Raya Park went 2-1. She lost 2:50, won 1:10 and won 0:34.