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Park senior David Giadyu takes down his opponent in a match at Forest Lake. Park beat the Rangers 34-31, giving the team its first win over Forest Lake in 16 years. (Submitted photos by Scott Briggs)

Park wrestling: Wolfpack beats Forest Lake for first time in 16 years

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Park’s win over Forest Lake was historic.

Park beat Forest Lake 34-31 on Thursday, Dec. 12, at Forest Lake High School, giving the Wolfpack its first win over the Rangers in 16 years, according to head coach Jim LaBrosse.

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“That was fun,” said LaBrosse, who is in his 10th year as head coach at Park. “The guys were extremely excited after. It was such a big win for us and it was something we needed. It really helped pull the team together even more.”

Park’s win came on Forest Lake’s alumni night — in front of a large home crowd cheering on the Rangers.

“There was a bunch of people there,” LaBrosse said. “We really wrestled well as a team.”

In the match, with the Wolfpack down 31-22, Park senior Cody Linssen pinned his opponent in 53 seconds at 220 pounds and heavyweight Steve Thongdysirisack won by forfeit to swing the match Park’s way.

In addition, Collin LaBrosse won with a pin at 126 pounds, Austin Thurmes earned a pin at 132 pounds, David Giadyu won a major decision (18-6) at 152 pounds and Cory Flaata won a 12-7 decision at 182 pounds.

“Different guys are stepping up each match, which is really what we need,” Jim LaBrosse said.

LaBrosse noted that in a close match, a number of little things make the difference between a win and a loss. He pointed to the 145-pound match where Jake Lanik wrestled James Pleski, who is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, and only lost 12-2.

“The key was that the guys that lost didn’t get pinned,” LaBrosse said. “That’s almost like a win. We have the guys that can get us the six or seven wins we need. If the guys just don’t get pinned or majored, we should be in good shape. It’s little things like that that really contribute to the team’s win.”

Park picked up another conference win, over Stillwater, in the Wolfpack Duals on Saturday at Park High School.

Park finished in fourth place in the eight-team tournament. The Wolfpack beat Stillwater 36-28 in the first round, then took down Rochester Century 68-10 in the second round, before falling 47-22 to Cannon Falls in the semifinals and losing 54-19 to Hutchinson in the third-place match. Chatfield beat Cannon Falls 36-29 in the championship match.

There were 25 state-ranked wrestlers in the eight-team tournament.

Park had two wrestlers — Giadyu and Flaata — go 4-0 on the day.

Giadyu, a team captain, is ranked seventh at 138 pounds in the most recent Class AAA polls.

“David had a great tournament,” Jim LaBrosse said. “He had a 10-second pin. He came out, picked the guy up and pinned him. That was really cool.”

Collin LaBrosse, currently ranked second at 120 pounds in Class AAA, and Cody Linssen, who is fifth at 220 pounds in Class AAA, both lost just one match during the tournament to other highly ranked wrestlers.

Collin LaBrosse lost a 5-3 overtime match to Cannon Falls’ Paul Fitterer, who is ranked No. 1 in Class AA at 113 pounds.

“Collin was ahead 3-0 and ended up getting turned and lost in overtime,” Jim LaBrosse said. “But, it was a great, great match.”

Linssen was pinned by Cannon Falls’ Clay Broze, who is ranked No. 1 in Class AA at 220 pounds.

“It was a tough tournament,” Jim LaBrosse said. “We wrestled well individually and the team did well too. There was great competition and some great wrestling. I thought the guys did really, really well.”

With the wins over Forest Lake and Stillwater Park improved its record in the Suburban East Conference to a perfect 4-0. Park won’t wrestle a conference match again until after the New Year – when the team takes on rivals East Ridge and Woodbury for the District 833 championship on Jan. 9 at Woodbury High School.

“It’s nice being 4-0 in the conference,” Jim LaBrosse said. “We’re making steps every day and going in the right direction. The guys are excited.”

Next, Park is at Rosemount, a Section 3AAAA foe, on Thursday, Dec. 19.

-Patrick Johnson

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