Published March 03 2012
Moorhead's Morlock wins state wrestling championship
The Moorhead junior ran away – literally – with the 182-pound title following a 7-2 win Saturday in the Class 3A individual competition of the Minnesota state wrestling tournament.
“Offseason work pays off,” Morlock said. “Everything I did in the offseason paid off. I knew I could hang with these guys at this level. It didn’t happen last year, but I wanted to get it done this year.”
Morlock (41-4) entered last season’s tournament undefeated yet finished fourth. He used this season to make improvements facing a schedule littered with ranked opponents in Minnesota and North Dakota, including West Fargo’s Preston Lehmann, who is ranked No. 11 in the nation.
Morlock’s improvements showed when he opened the day by upsetting Apple Valley’s Daniel Woiwer in a 5-3 overtime decision.
“It could tell he was getting tired at the end,” Morlock said. “I just took advantage of it.”
Morlock’s victory resulted in him getting a loud ovation from the Xcel Energy Center faithful, which historically hasn’t been pro-Apple Valley.
He then came into his finals match against St. Michael-Albertville’s Ricky Briggs. Morlock controlled the match jumping out to a 5-1 lead at the end of the second period.
After Morlock won, he ran up the arena’s stairs into the crowd and hugged his family and every Moorhead fan in sight.
“Yeah, I am tired,” Morlock said after his long and unexpected run.
Morlock wasn’t the only area wrestler to walk away with a title. New York Mills’ Shane Novak nabbed his first title after winning 113-pound title in Class 1A.
“I am speechless,” Novak said. “I don’t know what else to say other than its just an awesome feeling.”
Novak (42-1) came to the tournament having been a three-time participant.
The junior lost in the finals last season but made this season about accomplishing his dream of winning state.
Frazee’s Rij Koenen said he achieved his.
Koenen finished second in the Class 1A 152-pound class following a pin by Curt Maas of Medford.
“You know, I did what I came here to do, and that was to place,” said the Frazee senior, who had never placed at state before. “That was my dream. I can’t get mad I didn’t win because I accomplished what I wanted.”
Chase Morlock, Moorhead OT dec. Daniel Woiwer, Apple Valley, 5-3 Finals Morlock, Moorhead dec. 7-2 Ricky Briggs, St. Michael-Albertville, 7-2
Kyle Gliva, Simley dec. Abbot Aho, Fergus Falls, 4-3 170 pounds Miles Hammerlund, Delano pin Forrest Drury, Park Rapids, 1:49 220 pounds Joe Schiller, Totino-Grace dec. Brandon Ritter, Park Rapids, 7-6
Mitchell McKee, Kimball Area dec. Conrad Kondos, Breckenridge/C-T, 13-4
Shane Novak, New York Mills dec. Louie Sanders, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 8-3
Rij Koenen, Frazee dec. Luke Norland, Jackson County Central, 2-1 Darick Vancoura, Jackson County Central dec. Stephan Erlandson, Breckenridge/C-T, 8-5 Finals Novak, New York Mills dec. James Goman, Trinity School at River Ridge, 4-1 Curt Maas, Medford pin Koenen, Frazee, 3:14
Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.
Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com