The Eden Valley-Watkins wrestlers matched up in the Section 5A individuals Friday and Saturday at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School. Faring quite well, the Eagles send Zach Blonigen, first place; Cain Renner, second place; Austin Peterson, second place; and Luke Kuechle, second place, on to the state tournament, Feb. 28-March 2, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“As a team, we finished the year strong, but I thought we could have placed a couple of more kids and maybe gone higher with those who did place, but that is the nature of the beast. When you have a great section like ours, it’s tough to place or to make it to state,” said Eagles Coach Dan Berg. “I was happy for Grant Winter, Tyler Donnay, and Hunter Mathies, for placing in the top six, because they worked hard all year and deserved those medals around their necks at the end of the year.”
Coach Berg was pleased with the results. “Zach wrestled a great and smart tournament, and I was very happy he took first in the section. The guy is a goer; never stops until the 6 minutes are up. Cain had a great win in the semis, beating Dylan Youngren, 11-3. That was great to see because he lost to him about a month ago, 10-2. Cain likes this time of year and it showed, beating Youngren the last two years to make it to state. He had a very tough match in the finals, losing to Larry Bomstad, 15-0. Bomstad is very aggressive and it will take a great match to beat this kid in the state tournament. Austin had to wrestle a true second match for the second year in a row. I guess he likes those extra matches, but he pinned his opponent in the first period. He didn’t wrestle a very good match in the finals against Lee Whitcomb, but he was ready to go for that true second match and it showed. Last, but not least, Luke had a good win in the semis, but didn’t wrestle well in the finals, losing to Matt Whitcomb. He didn’t have a true second match, because the kid Luke beat in the semis took third.” Berg said that overall, he was very pleased with the effort the kids gave in the sectionals, and hopes the kids that made it to state have a good showing.
Coaches Forcier and Berg showing their excitment over senior EV-W Zach Blonigan’s win in the championship 120-pound weight class that gives him the chance to
go to state. Photos courtesy of Vanessa Schlueter.