Park wrestling: 'Pack earns bragging rightsThe Park wrestling team won the District 833 Triangular on Thursday, Dec. 8, at Park High School taking down intra-district foes Woodbury 38-33 and East Ridge 61-15.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
One of the area’s biggest wrestling matches came down to the wire last week.
The Park wrestling team won the District 833 Triangular on Thursday, Dec. 8, at Park High School taking down intra-district foes Woodbury 38-33 and East Ridge 61-15.
To start the third-annual Suburban East Conference match Woodbury took down East Ridge 63-18, but then Park beat the Royals and the Raptors to win the triangular’s traveling trophy – and bragging rights.
Three years ago, Park won the first-ever District 833 triangular, however, Woodbury won last year’s match.
“I really felt like we had something to prove tonight,” Park senior Kenny Gerhardt said. “Woodbury has been our rival forever and beat us last year. It felt great to get that win and bring the trophy back to Park. I think I jumped 10 feet in the air. It was the greatest feeling.”
This year, in the much-anticipated Park and Woodbury match, the Wolfpack was down 33-19 to the Royals with four matches remaining. However, Park won the final four matches, three by pin, to earn the comeback victory.
“We knew it was going to be close,” Park head coach Jim LaBrosse said. “It’s just very exciting. We needed that win. To start the season like this is very big for our program. To get that trophy back was one of the team’s goals this year. To see that crowd erupt like that was very exciting.”
With the score 33-32 in favor of Woodbury, Park senior heavyweight Craig Sargent won by pin to give the Wolfpack the win over the Royals. Sargent’s pin came 16 seconds into the match.
“I had to do what I had to do,” Sargent said. “The match was extremely close and if I knew if I didn’t win then we would lose. I was extremely pumped up and knew what I had to do. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s worth it. No risk, no reward.”
It was the third straight year the Park and Woodbury dual came down to the heavyweight match at the District 833 Triangular.
“We were in the same situation against Woodbury my sophomore year and Kevin Pattain got the win at heavy,” Sargent said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings you’ll ever feel to win a match for your team.”
Sargent’s match-winning pin came on the heels of pins by Tyler Liljedahl at 220 pounds, and Cody Linssen at 195 pounds and a 13-5 major decision win by Nate Bauman at 182 pounds.
“We are good up top, we’re real, real solid,” LaBrosse said. “Our heavier weights are going to be there all year for us.”
Additionally, for Park, Austin Thurmes won 15-3 at 106 pounds, J.P. Palias won with a pin at 120 pounds and Kenny Gerhardt won with a pin at 145 pounds.
“This is very big, especially beating both rivals Woodbury and East Ridge at the same time. You can’t get a better feeling,” Sargent said.
Park won 11 matches against East Ridge.
For the Wolfpack, Collin LaBrosse (106 pounds), Pallias (120), Jake Lanik (126), Daniel Duval (132), Gerhardt (145), Corey Flaata (152) and Bauman (182) all won with pins. Also, David Giadyu won a 6-5 decision at 138 pounds, D’Monte Farley won a 15-7 decision at 160 pounds and Linssen and Liljedahl each won by forfeit at 195 and 220 pounds, respectively.
“I thought we wrestled very well and kids weren’t quitting, they were fighting and that’s the key,” LaBrosse said. “I’m just excited for the guys.”
Gerhardt said the wins over Woodbury and East Ridge were “big for school pride.”
“We have a lot more teams to beat though,” he said. “You can’t just be happy with this. My goal is to get this team ranked this year. We have a solid lineup and we’re working hard and trying their best. We’re going to do good things this year.”
Park takes third in Wolfpack Duals
After the triangular, Park took third place in the eight-team Wolfpack Duals on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Park. Teams competing were Park, Chatfield, Cannon Falls, St. Francis, Blue Earth, Goodhue, Tartan and Paynsville.
“It was a great improvement from the previous week,” LaBrosse said. “This team really comes together in the dual meet format. After the big win against a good Woodbury team Thursday night we kept the ball rolling into Saturday with wins over Tartan and Cannon Falls.”
Park beat St. Francis 45-18 in the third-place match after defeating Tartan 42-36 in the opening round, taking down Cannon Falls 40-28 in the second round, and falling to Blue Earth 36-33 in the third round. Blue Earth beat Chatfield 41-33 in the championship. The wins put Park at 5-1 on the year.
LaBrosse said the win over St. Francis was “The best team performance of the year.” Park won 10 matches against the Saints to take third.
Also, Park’s semifinal against Blue Earth went down to the final match.
“In terms of losing, (Blue Earth) was a good loss,” LaBrosse said. “We wrestled well, but giving up pins cost us again. If we don’t give up one of the pins, we win the tie breaker but that’s wrestling and it was a good learning moment for us.”
Three wrestlers went 4-0 in the tournament for Park – Collin LaBrosse at 106 pounds, Flaata at 152 pounds and Linssen at 195 pounds. Also, Scott Johnson was 3-0 at 170 pounds, David Ayers was 2-0 at 138 pounds, Liljedahl was 3-1 at 220 pounds, Giadyu was 2-1 at 138 and 145 pounds, Bauman was 2-1 at 182 pounds and Sargent went 2-2 at 285 pounds.
“I think we have the potential to just get better with as young as we are and with the great senior leadership that continues to be displayed,” LaBrosse said. “Different kids are stepping up each match.”