Two Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tigers, Dillan Johnson and Connor Metzger, punched their tickets to the state tournament at the Section 3AA wrestling tournament at Redwood Valley High School Saturday.
Johnson captured the 138-pound title despite being the No. 3 seed. Metzger had to fight off a true second challenger to earn second place at 170 pounds. The top two wrestlers go to state.
Two other wrestlers lost true-second matches and failed to qualify. They were Travis Ostby at 132 pounds and Joel Harrison at 220 pounds.
The Tigers had eight wrestlers place in the tournament.
Johnson and Metzger will wrestle on Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Junior Dillan Johnson was peaking at the right time, but previous losses resulted in him being the No. 3 seed. In the first match he pinned Jordan Clarke of Fulda/Murray County Central in 3:50. He then met up with one of those earlier losses. This time Johnson was ready and defeated Kirby Winson of Quad County in the semi finals 3-1 in overtime. He had lost to Winson twice during the regular season. In the finals he defeated the No. 1 seed Hunter Heitkamp of Adrian 10-5.
Adrian will represent Section 3AA as a team, so Heitkamp was already heading to state. Johnson will face sophomore Christian Wellens of Richfield in the opening round of the state tournament as the brackets have already been set.
Senior Connor Metzger was the No. 2 seed. In the quarter-final match he pinned Nathan Gillis of Fairmont/Martin County West in 1:11. In the semi finals he defeated Blake Schroeder of Worthington by major decision 9-0. In the finals he lost to the No. 1 seed Jesse Slater of Adrian by a major decision 11-2. Joe Weeding of Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley forced a true second match that Metzger won by a 9-3 decision.
Metzger will wrestle Jordan Heldman of Staples-Motley in the first round, but this will not be their first meeting of the year. Metzger defeated Heldman 7-4 to capture third place at the Big Bear Tournament.
Two other Tigers lost true-second matches. Freshman Travis Ostby was the No. 3 seed and finished third. He lost to Dylan Johnson of Quad County by a pin in 5:35. Ostby then begana fight in the wrestlebacks. He defeated Remmington Kuehl of Fairmont/Martin County West by a 7-0 decision. He then defeated Solomon Nielsen of Luverne by an 8-5 decision. Next he defeated Michael Preuss of Adrian by a major decision 14-6. This set up a rematch with Dylan Johnson. This time Ostby defeated Johnson by a pin in 1:28. In a rematch of the West Central Conference finals, Ostby met No. 1 seeded Logan Knoshal of Montevideo and lost by a pin in 3:49.
Senior Joel Harrison was the No. 2 seed. He pinned Tony Sieve of Adrian in 3:12 in the quarter-final match. In the semi-final match he defeated Justin Varpness of Marshall by a 6-4 decision in overtime. In the finals he lost to J.D. Struxness of Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley.In a true second match he faced D.J. Reker of Luverne and lost by a fall in 5:24.
Four other Tigers placed at the tournament. Evan Nelson placed fourth at 126 pounds going 4-2. At 145 pounds Myles Smith was 2-2 for fourth place. Seth Nelson finished in fifth place 160 pounds with a 3-2 record. At 113 pounds Mitchell Ascheman took sixth place going 2-3.
Also wrestling for the Tigers were Matthew Munsterman at 106 pounds (0-2); Philip Messner at 120 pounds (1-2); Jerid Berning at 152 pounds (0-2); Matt Vinson at 182 pounds (0-2); Alec Gausman at 195 pounds (1-2); and Jacob Sperr at 285 pounds (0-2).