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Published March 02 2012

Area wrestlers Erlandson, Aho win matches at Minnesota state wrestling tournament

ST. PAUL – When Stephen Erlandson steps off the mat, he’s met by high-fives and congratulatory remarks.

The Breckenridge-Campbell-Tintah wrestler is also met with pressure. It’s the pressure that comes with being the favorite. But with Fergus Falls’ Abbot Aho around, it’s something he doesn’t have to go through alone.

Erlandson opened the Class 1A individual competition with two wins, while Aho opened the Class 2A with two wins Friday at the Minnesota state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.

“Our families have known each other for years,” Aho said of the Erlandsons. “Both our dads were wrestlers too.”

The younger Erlandson, a 160-pounder, and Aho, a 113-pounder, aren’t too bad themselves. Erlandson finished second last season while Aho finished third.

Erlandson, a senior, said being around the area’s wrestling scene has allowed him to make friends.

They were around to watch him open with impressive wins, including his second against Kimball Area’s Jordan Joseph.

Joseph wrestled Thursday, helping Kimball Area finish second in the team competition. Erlandson said he scouted the match with what could be considered some close friends.

“Our coaches and I scouted him all day yesterday,” Erlandson said of Joseph. “So we knew he was a defensive wrestler, and I am so happy they worked with me yesterday. I love those guys.”

He should. One of Barnesville’s assistant coaches is his father, Eric Erlandson.

Eric Erlandson was right there to congratulate Aho after his second match.

Aho’s first match was a bit of a struggle. He jumped out to a seven-point lead but started to tire.

He won the match 21-12, but admitted he got so excited, he overextended himself.

So when the second match came, it was about just being smart with his energy.

The plan didn’t really get a chance to work.

Aho won his second match by pinning his opponent in a blazing fast 1 minute, 33 seconds.

“I am just a lot more confident,” said Aho, with a cheek-to-cheek plastered on his face. “Just finishing third last year let me know that I can do even better this year.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com