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Travis Ostby, left, of MAHACA wrestles Kyle Nordstrom of Simley during their 132-pound Class AA preliminary individual match of the Minnesota Wrestling Tournament on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, in St. Paul. (Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor)

Ostby, Smith wrestle at state

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The Class AA State Wrestling tournament was held this past weekend at the Xcel Energy Center. It started on Thursday, Feb. 27 with championship rounds on Saturday, March 1. The individual competition started Friday, Feb. 28. Morris Area / Chokio-Alberta had two wrestlers make it to state this season: sophomore Travis Ostby in 132 pounds and senior Myles Smith at 145 pounds.

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Each weight class had the top 16 wrestlers in the state, and for both Ostby and Smith to be among the elite is a great accomplishment in itself. Unfortunately, neither MAHACA wrestler won a match, but assistant coach Blaine Hill said, “The experience itself was very special.”

During the tournament, the MAHACA Tiger Wrestling Team also received a Silver Academic Team award from the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association. The award recognized the team for achieving a grade point average of 3.31 for the 2013-2014 wrestling season.

Because of the size of the tournament, wrestlers are only on the floor of the Xcel for the period of time they wrestled. The rest of the time they were underneath the seating area waiting and warming up. “It is a very different environment compared to the usual gymnasium set up,” Hill commented.

Senior Myles Smith faced Jake Berthiaume of Monticello in his only match. Berthiaume entered the tournament with a 34-6 record. Smith fell behind early and couldn’t recover. The final score was 12-4. In the state tournament, a wrestler is done if the wrestler that beats you loses his next match, and Smith’s opponent lost his next match, so Smith was done competing. Smith finished the season with a record of 28-12, leading the team in wins with 28, and tied for the most takedowns with 62. He scored 49 team points during dual matches this year, and ended his senior season with a career record of 84-67.

Sophomore Travis Ostby faced Kyle Nordstrom of Simley Inver Grove Heights in his first match. Nordstrom entered the tournament with a 28-11 record, but wrestled on the State Champion Simley team. Simley won the title the day before. Ostby started strong getting the first takedown, despite having four points taken away because they were on the edge of the mat. Nordstrom then took charge and eventually pinned Ostby in 5:33. Nordstrom made it to the semifinals and eventually placed sixth.

Ostby was given a second match, and he faced Noah Bernier of Thief River Falls. Ostby faced Bernier earlier in the season in the Big Bear Tournament in Cass Lake, and in that match, Ostby lost in overtime. This time Bernier dominated Ostby and won by a major decision 12-4, ending Ostby’s state tournament appearance. Ostby finished his season with a 26-16 record, leading the team in pins with 20 and team points scored during dual matches with 56. His career record as a sophomore is 75-64. “He will be a key leader for the team next year,” Hill said.

Other Section 3AA individual highlights at the Class AA State Tournament:

  • Colten Specht of Quad County placed sixth in 120 pound individuals.
  • Anthony Luft of Worthington won Class AA 126 pound individual title.
  • Logan Axford of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton took sixth in 132 pound weight class.
  • Logan Knoshal of United took sixth in 138 pound weight class.
  • Zach Kempema of Worthington took fourth in 160 pound individual matches.
  • Kory Brown of Fairmont/Martin County West took fourth in 195 pound weight class.
  • Jake Lehmann of United took sixth, falling in four overtimes in the 285 pound fifth place match.
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