Fier is 4th again at state tourney
After placing fourth in the 145-pound state tournament last season, Zack Fier matched that performance again at the same weight.
"Everyone's goal is to win a state title," Fier said. "But you don't want to sell yourself short. I'm happy with being fourth again."
The junior, who won four of six matches at state, was fortunate to even be able to take his place on the mat.
After getting over the disappointment of the Vikings losing the Class A football title game to Mayer Lutheran this past fall, Fier set his sights on wrestling. But in the second tournament of the season, he tore the meniscus in his right knee and missed over a month of the season while recovering from surgery. He returned to the mat but admitted that he never felt 100 percent.
After the section tournament in which he won his weight class, Fier injured his left knee in practice and wrestled at state with it wrapped.
I have to admit that I'm glad it's over," he said. "I'm exhausted."
Minneota coach Matt Myrvik said Fier has been one of the team's leaders all season despite the injuries.
"Zack still showed up and worked extremely hard to get back," he said. "He has had some ups and downs throughout the year, but he always did what was best for the team and to see him get his opportunity to shine was awesome. For him to finish on the podium is a credit to all his hard work and commitment he has put into this sport."
Fier was one of six Minneota wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament. He was the only one who got to step up on the podium following the tournament.
After winning a 4-1 decision over Ethan Bowman of Crookston in his opening match, Fier dropped a 4-2 decision to Brodie Kellen of Dover-Eyota in the quarterfinals.
Fier then came back and won three straight matches in wrestlebacks to reach the third-place bout.
In wrestlebacks, Fier first edged Dylan Withers of Jackson County Central 5-3, then defeated Reubens Swanson of West Central Area/AshbyBrandon-Evansville 3-0 and Gavin Winter of Kimball Area 3-2. He lost to Tucker Ginther of Caledonia-Houston 4-2 in the third-place match.
"I remember losing to (Winter) when I was in elementary wrestling," said Fier. "I never wrestled him after that until here at state."
Peyton Gillund at 120 pounds and Jackson Esping at 285 each went 2-2 at state but did not place. Troy Van Keulen was beaten twice at 126 pounds, while Adam DeVlaeminck at 106 pounds and Jonah Gruenes at 170 lost their opening match and each were eliminated when their opponent then lost his quarterfinal bout."We, as coaches could not be more proud of the effort our Minneota wrestlers put on the mat during the state tournament," said Myrvik. "When you get to that level, experience is key and we had three returning state entrants from the year before in Jonah, Jackson, and Zack, along with three first time state tournament participants in Adam, Peyton, and Troy.
Both of Gillund's losses came against Teagyn Ludwig of Eden Valley-Watkins in the quarterfinals and to Gavn Hlucny of Crookston in wrestlebacks, who ended up placing fifth and sixth, respectively.
"Peyton had an outstanding tournament putting himself in position to medal," Myrvik said. "We feel this experience will help to give him the confidence that he can compete with the highest-level wrestlers in his weight class."
Van Keulen's opening 9-6 loss came against eventual state champion Alex Diederich of Royalton/Upsala. His consolation loss came against consolation champion Tommy Elwood of Medford.
"Troy had an outstanding tournament, he definitely left it all on the mat," said Myrvik. "As a senior, he knew that this is probably his last time he will ever compete in wrestling."
"This is a huge learning experience for Adam in his first state tournament and we expect big things from him in the future," Myrvik added. "Getting a chance to get down to state as an eighth grader is a huge accomplishment."
Gruenes, who was third last year at 160 pounds, lost in the first round to Collin Boese of Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted, who went on to place fourth.
"Jonah just wrestled a little tight in that first match," said Myrvik. "He had opportunities to win that match but was not able to pull it off. Jonah has had such a great season and career and has a lot to be proud of but that was a tough way to go out for our senior captain."
Esping's 3-2 quarterfinal loss was eventual state runner-up Makota Misgen of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. His other loss was 4-1 in overtime to Trey Lancaster of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville, who finished fourth in the weight class.
"Jackson came into the section tournament only wrestling five matches on the year," said Myrvik. "He put together a really good section and state tournament. Still battling through injuries, he showed his leadership and never once made an excuse."
Minneota wrestling banquet will be held on Sunday, April 24. Todd Traen will be the guest speaker. More information will be released at a later date.
ADAM DEVLAEMINCK, Minneota - First round: lost 9-5 decision to Luis Lopez, Medford ... eliminated
Placewinners: (1) Trey Gunderson, KMS (2) Raydon Graham, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted (3) Wyatt Novitzki, Holdingford (4) Braxton Lange, Caledonia-Houston (5) Tucker Simmons, Royalton/Upsala (6) Dalton Wilson, LeSueur-Henderson
Placewinners: (1) Nolan Ambrose, Jackson County Central (2) Ryan Bortz, Goodhue (3) Donovan Schmid, Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Kelliher (4) Zach Remer, Mille Lacs (5) Cole Sykora, Border West (6) Carson Petry, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton
PEYTON GILLUND, Minneota - First round: pinned Braxton Simon, Maple River/United South Central, 1:32 ... Quarterfinals: lost 5-4 decision to Teagyn Ludwig, Eden Valley-Watkins ... Consolation: won 4-2 decision over Bennet Arceneau, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie ... lost 7-2 decision to Gavyn Hlucny, Crookston
Placewinners: (1) Kie Anderson, Jackson County Central (2) Devin Carter, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (3) Lucas Bortz, Goodhue (4) Masyn Patrick, Holdingford (5) Teagyn Ludwig, Eden Valley-Watkins (6) Gavin Hlucny, Crookston
TROY VAN KEULEN, Minneota - First round: lost 9-6 decision to Alex Diederich, Royalton/Upsala ... Consolation: lost 4-1 decision to Tommy Elwood, Medford
Placewinners: (1) Alex Diederich, Royalton/Upsala (2) Ryan Jensen, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (3) Eli Larson, Border West (4) David Gregory, Trinity School at Rivers Ridge (5) Tommy Elwood, Medford (6) Brandon Ross, Caledonia-Houston
Placewinners: (1) Walker Bents, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (2) Ayden Horner, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (3) Owen Denstad, Caledonia-Houston (4) Logan Butzon, Jackson County Central (5) Cole Holien, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (6) Hunter Gruchow, West Central Area/Ashby/Bran don-Evansville
Placewinners: (1) Charley Elwood, Medford (2) Christian Pater, Blackduck/Cass Lake/Kelliher (3) Austin Kiecker, BOLD (4) Thomas Freking, Jackson County Central (5) Maddox O'Reilly, Goodhue (6) Lucas Jurek, Kimball Area
ZACK FIER, Minneota - First round: won 4-1 decision over Ethan Bowman, Crookston ... Quarterfinals: lost 4-2 decision to Brodie Kellen, Dover-Eyota ... Consolation: won 5-3 decision over Dylan Withers, Jackson County Central ... won 3-0 decision over Reubens Swanson, West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville ... won 3-2 decision over Gavin Winter, Kimball Area ... Third place: lost 4-2 decision to Tucker Ginther, Caledonia-Houston .... 4TH PLACE
Placewinners: (1) Ethan Hendrickson, United North Central (2) Drayden Morton, Sibley East (3) Tucker Ginther. Caledonia-Houston (4) Zack Fier, Minneota (5) Gavin Winter, Kimball Area (6) Brodie Kellen, Dover-Eyota
Placewinners: (1) Gavin Gust, Dover-Eyota (2) Jacob Liebold, Royalton/Upsala (3) Landon Gode, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville (4) Jeff Thoreson, St. Charles (5) Blaine Fischer, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (6) Isaiah Rodriguez, Jackson County Central
Placewinners: (1) Payton Handevidt, Jackson County Central (2) Tate Hermes, Medford (3) Coy Gunderson, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (4) Elon Ness, United North Central (5) Maximus Hanson, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (6) Isaac Bruce, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted
JONAH GRUENES, Minneota - lost 5-3 decision to Collin Boese, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted ... eliminated
Placewinners: (1) Anthony Sykora, West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville (2) Gabe Gorecki, Royalton/Upsala (3) Caden Johnson, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (4) Collin Boese, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted (5) Ethan Waage, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River (6) Ashton Hanan, Kimball Area
Placewinners: (1) Grady Schott, Chatfield (2) Carter Holtz, Kimball Area (3) Caleb Vacura, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River (4) Caleb Vancura, Jackson County Central (5) Tytan Small, St. Charles (6) Isaac Schmidt, St. Agnes
Placewinners: (1) Thomas Dineen, Benson (2) Ralph Roesler, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (3) Haden Rosenow, Kimball Area (4) Torrey Carlson, United North Central (5) Isaiah Renne, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (6) William Freking, Jackson County Central
Placewinners: (1) Ethan Boll, Crookston (2) Gideon Ervasti, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (3) Jaxon Behm, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (4) Bryce Holm, Royalton/Upsala (5) Ethan Spanier, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (6) Colton Long, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted
JACKSON ESPING, Minneota - First round: pinned Swyer Wedde, New York Mills, 1:06 ... Quarterfinals: lost 3-2 decision to Makota Misgen, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva ... Consolation: won 1-0 decision over Cameron Scholten, Jackson County Central ... lost 4-1 OT decision to Trey Lancaster, Long Prairie-Browerville
Placewinners: (1) Jeremy Mugg, Royalton/Upsala (2) Makota Misgen, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (3) Austin Schlangen, Eden Valley-Watkins (4) Trey Lancaster, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville (5) Omar Martinez, Sibley East (6) Marcus Peterson, United North Central
Dover-Eyota 30, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 26
Royalton/Upsala 49, United North Central 16
Jackson County Central 52, Maple River/USC 9
West Central Area/Ashby/BE 34, Kimball Area 33
Royalton/Upsala 34, Dover-Eyota 33
Jackson CC 41, WCA/Ashby/BE 27
United North 34, BBE 30
Kimball 39, Maple River/USC 23
Kimball 41, United North 23
WCA/Ashby/BE 35, Dover-Eyota 31
Jackson CC 45, Royalton/Upsala 23
Kasson-Mantorville 49, Mora 13
Becker 42, Thief River Falls 24
Simley 64, Totino-Grace 12
Watertown-Mayer 31, Fairmont/Martin County West 30
Kasson-Mantorville 31, Becker 24
Simley 51, Watertown-Mayer 10
Thief River Falls 44, Mora 26
Fairmont/MCW 51, Totino-Grace 23
Thief River Falls 50, Fairmont/MCW 25
Becker 29, Watertown-Mayer 28
Simley 47, Kasson-Mantorville 21
Stillwater 43, Willmar 26
Shakopee 37, Northfield 34
St. Michael-Albertville 45, Apple Valley 19
Anoka 41, Hastings 27
Stillwater 43, Shakopee 20
SM-Albertville 43, Anoka 23
Northfield 35, Willmar 34
Hastings 36, Apple Valley 20
Northfield 36, Hastings 33
Shakopee 37, Anoka 31
SM-Albertville 39, Stillwater 27