The Morris Area/Hancock/Chokio-Alberta wrestling team achieved a major season goal advancing to the Section 3AA Team Semi-finals with a 39-29 win over Montevideo Tuesday in Dawson. The Tigers received a bye in the opening round and had to sit and watch as Montevideo wrestled Redwood Valley - Cedar Mountain. Montevideo won that match 52-18.
The Tigers then went into action and it was again a full team effort. The match was a low scoring affair and it wasn't until the last three matches that the Tigers decided the contest.
"The Tigers have two big horses finishing their matches for them, but this time it was the lower weights that set up the win with some outstanding performances keeping the Tigers in striking position," explained assistant coach Blaine Hill.
Mitchell Ascheman lost to Matt Henricksen 18-2 at 106 pounds to put the Tigers down 5-0, but Travis Ostby then had one of his best matches of the year at 113 pounds. The 8th grader defeated senior Dan Maczeiwski 8-4 to get the Tigers' momentum going. Ostby lost to Maczeiwski during the regular season dual.
Evan Nelson then won by technical fall at 120 pounds over Bailey Eickhoff by a score of 16-0.
Then Dillan Johnson lost a close match 3-2 to Spencer Sulflow at 126. Sulflow was a very good wrestler and the result still fueled the Tiger momentum.
Myles Smith then won a very good match 8-5 at 132 pounds. All three wrestlers dropped a weight class since the last time the Tigers wrestled Montevideo. The score was now 11-8 Tigers.
Jerid Berning then lost a close match 7-4 to Mitch Kwilinski at 138, but again his efforts encouraged the Tigers. Berning has always been counted on to work hard and stay in the match.
The Tigers then had a slight setback at 145 when Seth Nelson was pinned by Mason Kwilinski in 3:04 and Montevideo went up 17-11.
Tim Ostby got the Tigers a little closer with a major decision 16-6 over Cody Hiepler at 152.
Then Montevideo pulled away again when Justin Welling pinned Aaron Nelson in 4:40 at 160 pounds. The score was now 23-15 Montevideo, but the Tigers were staying close.
Connor Metzger then pinned Hans Dessurealt in only 13 seconds, but Dessurealt stayed down on the mat. Eventually he had to be taken away on a stretcher and it appeared the break in the action stopped the Tigers' momentum.
Wade Ehlers wan then pinned in 1:17 by Tanner Lindemann at 182 to put Montevideo up 29-21, but the tank for Montevideo was basically empty.
With only one wrestler left, the Tigers were more or less assured a win with their two big horses left to wrestle. Tyler Moser received a forfeit at 195 to make the score 29-27 Montevideo. Then Joel Harrison sealed the deal with a pin in 2:20 over Jordan Flinn. Zach Gibson then received a forfeit at 285 to make the final score 39-29.
The 8-3 Tigers will now head to Marshall on Friday to meet Windom Area/Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin, the No. 1 seed in the south half of Section 3AA. The No. 1 seed from the north half of the section, Dawson Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley won the other quarter final match in Dawson and will meet the No. 2 seed from the south half of the section which is Adrian. The winners will meet in the finals to see who will represent Section 3AA in the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Team Tournament.