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Published March 03 2010

DGF junior recovers from accident for state

A nasty dirt bike accident cut Shawn Johnson’s football season short. The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton junior wasn’t going to let it wreck his wrestling season.

Johnson has done more than just get into the lineup. He recovered to get back to this weekend’s state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“We didn’t have a clue if he’d be back, or how effective he would be,” Rebels wrestling coach Jesse Barnacle said. “And as far as wrestling, we weren’t even thinking about state.

“We were just happy that he was helping us on the mat at all.”

A couple of weeks into football, Johnson was jumping dirt bikes and had a wreck that broke two bones and some growth plates in his ankle.

It looked like he was going to be out of commission for his entire junior year, as far as athletics were concerned.

But he was a quick healer, and Barnacle said Johnson was always optimistic about getting back in time for the end of the wrestling season.

“He kept going in for his checkups, and the doctor seemed optimistic, too,” Barnacle said. “But still, we didn’t know if he would come back and be limited in any way.”

Johnson hasn’t appeared limited. The 160-pounder has posted a 13-3 record and finds himself back at state – where he finished sixth last year.

“It’s a tribute to his work ethic,” Barnacle said. “To get to where he’s at now, he had to work harder than anyone in the room. That’s what he did.

“That’s why it wouldn’t surprise me if he went down there and surprised some people.”

Johnson will be joined at state by teammates Arthur Zavala and Zack Askelson.

Big weekend for Frazee

Frazee coach John Barlund has a pretty busy weekend in front of him.

Not only is his team seeded second in the Class 1A team tournament, but he also has to keep track of a whopping nine Hornets in the individual tournament.

“It does get busy, but all those matches helps them keep their weight down,” Barlund said with a laugh. “They don’t have time to worry about eating, so that’s a good thing.”

The nine Frazee wrestlers are Trevor Stilke (103), Jordan Ketter (112), Tanner Ellenberg (119), Myrel Schermerhorn (130), Rij Koehnen (135), Casey Nunn (145), Jake Schermerhorn (152), Rick Brandt (171) and Kody Lafraniere-Sorenson (189).

That group is young. The only senior in that last is Jake Schermerhorn. But that doesn’t mean they’re green.

“We’ve got some good kids, and there is only the one senior, but on our whole roster there are only two kids that haven’t been to the state tournament with the team,” Barlund said. “They’ve been through the routine. They’ve been through the wringer.

“That experience is invaluable. It’s not a shock to them to walk into the building.”

Frazee hasn’t won a team title since 1999, but this year’s team could be the one to end the drought.

“We’ve gotten better each week, and we feel like things are starting to come together,” Barlund said. “It gets busy and hectic, but it’s so fun.”

Spuds land three

Moorhead got three wrestlers to the state tournament this year, and two are making return trips.

Ben Gaughan (152) is making his third trip to state, and Mark Wychor (285) is back for the second time. Wychor was sixth at 215 last year.

The newcomer in the group is 140-pounder Chase Morlock, who is only a freshman.

Takedowns

Fergus Falls is taking five wrestlers to state, but none with a better shot to win a state title than

215-pounder Colton Thorson, who is 41-0…. The lone returning state champ from the area is Jake Long, who is 39-1 at 145 pounds. He won the Class 1A 140-pound title last year.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548