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A Storybook Night Of Wrestling For Pierz and Frazee
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 1/21/2017 6:52:32 PM

PIERZ – In the world of high school wrestling, a dual match is a storybook. The book always has 14 chapters in a sport with 14 weight classes, from 106-pound sprites who seem to glide over the mat to the athletic mastodons who walk out hauling 285 pounds of muscle, grit and heart.

The book can be a horror novel for teams who know they are outmatched, or easy reading for teams that know they will dominate. Neither was the case here Friday evening, when the top two teams in The Guillotine magazine’s Class 1A rankings met up in a hammer-and-tong match that had all the anticipation of a state-tournament dual.

The Frazee Hornets and Pierz Pioneers could very well meet again at the state tourney in St. Paul in early March. If they do, Friday’s show was a grand preamble, a rollicking action novel filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, screams as well as silence.

Frazee came in with the No. 1 rankings and Pierz was No. 2. These wrestling programs are as good as it gets in Minnesota: The schools have a combined 35 trips to state (23 by Frazee, 12 by the Pioneers) and six state titles (four for the Hornets and two for Pierz).

Last season Frazee was the 1A team state runner-up and Pierz finished third. Two years ago Frazee was fourth and Pierz went 0-2 at state. The schools are 105 miles apart and don’t always meet during the regular season, so this wasn’t your ordinary Friday night exercise.

As veteran broadcaster Rick Grammond -- whose “You Are There Sports” website is well-known for first-class coverage of events across these parts -- told his listeners before the match began, “This is fun when two legendary programs get together.”

The wild evening would end with a smiling lady telling Rick, “Somebody who was listening on the internet told me it sounded like you might need oxygen!”

Indeed. This was a crazy one, with 14 chapters that involved some of the state’s best wrestlers, two veteran coaches and knowledgeable fans who cheered for their boys (“Hook the wrist! Hook the wrist!”) while offering helpful advice to the referee (“That’s a stall, ref, not a stalemate!”).

Three matches pitted wrestlers who are ranked among the top 10 in their weight classes. The action began at 6:45 p.m. with the gym lights dimmed while a set of spotlights lit up the mat.

Frazee got rolling early, with Landon Byer, Michael Miller and Tanner Schermerhorn winning at 106, 113 and 120 pounds to put the Hornets in front 10-0. Lucas Popp put the Pioneers on the board with a 2-1 decision over Kaden Hiemez at 126 and the team score was 10-3.

The Hornets’ top-ranked Tanner Reetz met No. 3 Brandon Ortman of Pierz at 132, and it began with Tanner and Brandon ramming their heads into each other only seven seconds in. Ortman got the worst of it and there was a brief timeout as Pioneers coach Mark Jensen checked on him. Brandon continued wrestling, but he was a little wobbly and Jensen walked onto the mat in the second period, figuratively throwing in the towel. Reetz won by injury default, giving Frazee a 16-3 lead.

After Reese Kapsner of Pierz beat Blaine Beaty 5-2 at 138 and Tanner Eischens of Frazee defeated Andrew Tomala 6-4 at 145, the Hornets’ lead was 19-6 and half of the book’s chapters had been completed.

As the bigger boys strode from the darkness into the light, the home team found its gait and the referee’s hand began slapping the mat with regularity. Jalen Jansen won by fall at 152. Luke Girtz pulled some magic out of his singlet at 160, scoring an escape in the absolute final second to beat Charleton Wake 8-7. The score was Frazee 19, Pierz 15.

Another pin for the Pioneers: Logan Lease at 170 … Pierz led now 21-19 with four weights to go and this was anybody’s match to win. The home fans absolutely shrieked as their Brett Kapsner rolled Logan Wacker’s shoulders onto the mat and the slap reverberated, putting the Pioneers ahead 27-19.

Amid the din, Grammond yelled into his microphone, “We are getting down to the nitty gritty here!”

Sixth-ranked Matt Kummet of Pierz defeated fifth-ranked Rory Drewes 3-1 at 195 and it was Pierz 30, Frazee 19. That 11-point margin meant the Hornets needed to win by fall in both of the final two matches to take home the victory.

An amazing thing happened at 220 pounds. Luke Tweeten of Frazee and Carson Huls of Pierz battled, battled and battled some more. In fact, the score was 3-3 and headed to overtime … or so it seemed. Huls held control of Tweeten as the third-period clock neared zero, and then – amazingly – Huls simply let go, allowing Tweeten to score a one-point escape for a 4-3 victory.

The place went nuts as everyone realized what had just happened: By losing in a decision and avoiding overtime, Huls could not be pinned … and Pierz could not be defeated. Clincher. The Pioneers led 30-22 and Troy Fischer completed the night with a pin at 285 pounds, making the final score Pierz 36, Frazee 22.

Clay Nagel, the cowboy-booted coach of the Hornets, had a message for his disappointed wrestlers.

“I told the kids, ‘Would you rather have this happen here or at the state tournament?’ I don’t know what will happen at the state tournament, but Pierz is a good solid team. We learn and get better.”

Jensen, as is customary, chatted with Grammond as the end of the broadcast neared. Mark was worn out and emotional, but mostly he was proud of his boys.

“The upper side of our lineup really wrestled well,” Jensen said. “I can’t say enough about how those kids came out and laid it on the line. They are an experienced bunch, a veteran bunch, they’ve been through the wars and they showed it tonight. Everybody had a great effort. It was phenomenal.”

Jensen broke some news as he chatted with Grammond. Mark was the Pioneers head coach from 1990 to 2006 before stepping down. He returned as head coach in 2013 and it seems like he is ready to hand the reins off once more.

“It’s just one match, it’s kind of practice for the end of the year, but I’m pretty darn proud of these kids,” the coach said. “Being this is probably my last year, it’s phenomenal, just phenomenal. I can’t say enough about this group and this school and what they’ve given me.”

Both teams were back on the mat several hours later at Saturday tournaments. The Pioneers were in action at 9 a.m. at Cambridge-Isanti and the Hornets were doing the same at Staples-Motley.

The state tournament? That book will be opened the second day of March.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 326
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 7,025
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Boys Basketball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 1/20/2017 1:28:41 AM

Minnesota boys high school basketball rankings, as provided by Minnesota Basketball News, a statewide basketball publication.

CLASS 4A
1. Champlin Park 11-0
2. Maple Grove 10-1
3. Lakeville North 10-1
4. Wayzata 11-0
5. Apple Valley 10-2
6. Hopkins 11-4
7. Cretin-Derham Hall 8-4
8. Eden Prairie 9-5
9. New Prague 12-1
10. Tartan 11-1
11. Robbinsdale Armstrong 7-4
12. Edina 9-2
13. Park Center 10-2
14. Chaska 8-4
15. Osseo 9-4
16. Woodbury 9-3
17. St. Cloud Tech 12-1
18. East Ridge 9-3
19. Bloomington Jefferson 8-3
20. Rochester John Marshall 9-3

CLASS 3A
1. DeLaSalle 10-2
2. Delano 11-2
3. Totino-Grace 8-5
4. Orono 11-3
5. Marshall 12-1
6. Mahtomedi 12-1
7. Austin 9-1
8. Alexandria 8-2
9. Big Lake 9-3
10. Waseca 13-0
11. Fergus Falls 10-2
12. Faribault 7-2
13. St. Paul Highland Park 10-2
14. Grand Rapids 11-4
15. Minneapolis Patrick Henry 8-5
16. Sauk Rapids-Rice 6-6
17. Benilde-St. Margaret’s 6-6
18. St. Anthony Village 11-3
19. Northfield 6-5
20. Bemidji 7-1

CLASS 2A
1. Minnehaha Academy 9-5
2. Caledonia 7-3
3. Esko 13-1
4. Melrose 11-0
5. Lake City 10-1
6. St. Cloud Cathedral 10-2
7. Crosby-Ironton 13-0
8. Watertown-Mayer 11-1
9. Annandale 10-2
10. Eden Valley-Watkins 8-1
11. Brooklyn Center 9-5
12. New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 13-0
13. New Life Academy 9-1
14. Jordan 11-1
15. Jackson County Central 11-3
16. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 7-3
17. Sauk Centre 8-2
18. Virginia 11-0
19. Perham 10-1
20. Breckenridge 7-1

CLASS 1A
1. Minneapolis North 12-1
2. Red Lake 12-1
3. Central Minnesota Christian 11-1
4. Goodhue 14-0
5. Hillcrest Lutheran 8-1
6. Heritage Christian 9-1
7. Ada-Borup 10-0
8. Red Rock Central 11-0
9. Nevis 10-1
10. Springfield 11-1
11. Cass Lake-Bena 10-4
12. Waubun 5-3
13. Lake Park-Audubon 9-3
14. Spring Grove 9-3
15. Browerville-Eagle Valley 7-2
16. North Woods 7-0
17. Cleveland 13-0
18. Parkers Prairie 10-1
19. Cedar Mountain-Comfrey 9-1
20. Southwest Christian (Edgerton) 7-2



Girls Basketball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 1/20/2017 1:27:43 AM

Minnesota girls high school basketball rankings, as provided by Minnesota Basketball News, a statewide basketball publication.

CLASS 4A
1. Hopkins (17-0)
2. Elk River (14-0)
3. Eastview (13-2)
4. Apple Valley (12-2)
5. Lakeville North (13-2)
6. Centennial (12-3)
7. East Ridge (11-3)
8. Roseville Area (13-2)
9. Park Center (10-4)
10.St. Michael-Albertville (9-4)

CLASS 3A
1. Holy Angels (15-1)
2. Alexandria (9-2)
3. Orono (13-3)
4. Kasson-Mantorville (11-4)
5. Winona (10-2)
6. Grand Rapids (13-3)
7. Mahtomedi (13-2)
8. Northfield (11-2)
9. Hutchinson (7-5)
10.Zimmerman (12-2)

CLASS 2A
1. Roseau (13-0)
2. Sauk Centre (12-1)
3. Norwood-Young America (16-0)
4. Plainview-Elgin-Millville (11-2)
5. Watertown-Mayer (12-2)
6. New London-Spicer (11-1)
7. Pipestone (10-0)
8. Osakis (13-0)
9. Hayfield (12-2)
10.Eden Valley-Watkins (10-2)

CLASS 1A
1. Mountain Iron-Buhl (11-0)
2. Goodhue (13-2)
3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (12-0)
4. Cromwell-Wright (11-2)
5. Mankato Loyola (12-1)
6. Maranatha Christian (8-5)
7. Lyle-Pacelli (10-2)
8. Ada-Borup (10-1)
9. Cedar Mountain-Comfrey (11-1)
10.Red Lake (11-2)



Gymnastics Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 1/20/2017 1:26:29 AM

This week’s gymnastics rankings, provided directly to the MSHSL by the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
1 Detroit Lakes 8A 148.883
2 Melrose Area 6A 145.850
3 Willmar 6A 144.392
4 Austin 1A 143.092
5 Worthington 3A 142.508
6 Pine Island 1A 141.925
7 North Branch 7A 141.775
8 Perham 8A 141.408
9 Mahtomedi 4A 140.483
10 Sartell-Saint Stephen 7A 140.083
11 Becker 7A 139.733
12 Jackson County Central 3A 139.292
13 Mankato West 2A 139.283
14 Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 5A 138.958
15 New London-Spicer 6A 138.208
16 Byron-Lourdes 1A 137.917
17 Monticello 7A 137.408
18 Big Lake 7A 137.075
19 Waconia 2A 137.058
20 Martin County Area 3A 136.858
21 Fergus Falls 8A 135.575
22 Alexandria 8A 135.533
23 Rush City/Pine City/Hinckley-F. 7A 134.433
24 Benson-KMS-Montivideo 6A 134.350
25 New Ulm Public/NUACS/MVL 2A 133.317

CLASS 2A
1 Lakeville North 2AA 148.133
2 St. Cloud Tech 8AA 144.308
3 Stillwater 4AA 144.033
4 Cambridge-Isanti 7AA 143.883
5 Owatonna 1AA 143.650
6 Lakeville South 2AA 143.567
7 Roseville Area 4AA 143.333
8 Maple Grove 5AA 142.708
9 Champlin Park 5AA 142.458
10 Prior Lake 2AA 141.300
11 Brainerd 8AA 141.217
12 Anoka 7AA 140.600
13 Rosemount 3AA 140.367
14 Wayzata 5AA 139.850
15 Park Center 5AA 139.542
16 Rogers 5AA 138.917
17 New Prague 2AA 138.725
18 Saint Michael-Albertville 8AA 138.675
19 Farmington 1AA 138.508
20 East Ridge 3AA 137.592
21 Forest Lake 7AA 137.042
22 Edina 6AA 136.442
23 Saint Francis 7AA 136.208
24 Minnetonka 6AA 135.267
25 Buffalo 8AA 135.008



Boys Hockey Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 1/20/2017 1:25:52 AM

The Associated Press polls for Minnesota boys high school hockey, provided by Let's Play Hockey newspaper:

BOYS CLASS 2A
Rank Team Record Last Week
1. Stillwater Area (6) 13-1-0 1
2. Edina (4) 11-3-1 3
3. Elk River/Zimmerman 12-3-0 2
4. Hill-Murray 10-1-3 5
5. Lakeville North 10-2-2 7
6. Eden Prairie 9-4-2 8
7. Holy Family Catholic 10-3-1 9
8. Centennial 10-3-0 10
9. Grand Rapids 10-4-1 4
10. St. Thomas Academy 11-4-1 6
11. Maple Grove 11-3-0 12
12. Duluth East 8-5-1 13
13. White Bear Lake 9-3-2 16
14. Minnetonka 9-6-0 11
15. Lakeville South 9-4-1 14
16. St. Michael-Albertville 11-1-1 17
17. Moorhead 10-3-2 19
18 Blaine 8-5-1 15
19. Roseau 11-4-0 18
20. Burnsville 8-6-1 20
Receiving votes: Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Prior Lake

BOYS CLASS 1A
Rank Team Record Last Week
1. Hermantown (10) 12-1-1 1
2. Breck 9-3-2 3
3. Delano 11-2-1 2
4. St. Paul Academy 11-2-1 4
5. Mahtomedi 8-6-0 7
6. St. Cloud Cathedral 11-2-2 6
7. East Grand Forks 8-3-1 5
8. Sartell-St. Stephen 11-2-3 8
9. Alexandria 7-4-3 9
10. Greenway 10-3-1 10
11. Hibbing/Chisholm 10-4-0 11
12. Minnehaha Academy 13-2-0 12
13. Orono 8-5-0 15
14. St. Paul Johnson 10-1-2 13
15. Northfield 10-3-2 16
16. Blake 9-5-0 14
17. Rochester Lourdes 7-7-0 18
18. Totino-Grace 7-8-0 20
19. Monticello 9-5-0 17
20. Mound Westonka 6-9-0 RV
Receiving votes: Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Prior Lake



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