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Chris Murphy, Published February 28 2013

Frazee falls to Jackson County Central in the Class 1A state championship

ST. PAUL – Frazee does everything a bit different than every other wrestling team.

Rather than bleaching their hair, the Hornets dye it jet black. Before every match, they stand up and form a lane for the wrestler to run through with Hornets on each side. They stand out.

On Thursday at the state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, they nearly stood above. The Hornets suffered their first loss on the season in the Minnesota Class 1A state championship to top-seeded Jackson County Central 38-22.

There was no wrestler ranked in the top three in the state in any weight class for Frazee, but the Hornets had a top-10 wrestler in 10 of the 14 weight classes.

It was the formula for near perfection, but not quite enough, as the Hornets finished the season

16-1, with the ‘1’ coming at the worst possible time.

“We knew it was going to be a tight dual,” Frazee coach John Barlund said. “We were hoping to hold off those pins, but (JCC) is so darn good in the middle, and we couldn’t hold them off.”

Tanner Reetz won a 7-1 decision at 106 pounds and Byron Byer came back from down 5-0 to win 8-5 at 113, and Frazee had all the momentum. Then, Jackson County Central took over. Jordan Biehn and Cameron Henning won decisions for the Huskies to tie things up, and Eliot Jurries pinned Hunter Sorenson to give the Huskies a lead they would never relinquish. Bruce Lemon won a 9-1 decision to pull the Hornets within a pin at 16-10, but they would get no closer.

“I’m so proud of all the boys,” the senior 138-pounder Lemon said. “They all wrestled their hearts out. There is nothing to hang our heads on. We overcame a lot of adversity and what not, so I’m really proud of them. I’m going to get bummed out, but there’s no reason to hang our heads. Second in the state is nothing to complain about.”

After two pins from JCC and a forfeit from Frazee, Kody Van Den Eykel won a 9-3 decision at 182 pounds for the Hornets. Unfortunately for the Hornets, it clinched a state championship for JCC, as the Hornets needed pins in the remaining four weight classes to tie the Huskies.

“We had a good year up until the finals,” Van Den Eykel said. “In the quarters and the semis, no one scored more than 20 points on us. Some people got pinned that shouldn’t have, some people didn’t get the bonus points they should have, but that’s how it goes. On paper, it always goes different than real life. We had some mess-ups, but that’s how it goes.”

Of the 13 wrestlers that wrestled in the championship, more than half of them should be back next season for Frazee. Two juniors, three sophomores, one freshman and one eighth-grader wrestled in the finals for the Hornets. Van Den Eykel is certainly ready for next season.

“We did well this year, and we’ll come back on all cylinders next year, get back in the finals and hopefully win it,” Van Den Eykel said.

/b>Barnesville falls in the consolation semis

Barnesville fell in the championship quarterfinals to Jackson County Central 43-19 and to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 28-27 in the consolation semifinals in Class 1A. The Trojans finished the season 23-3 overall.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548