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Chris Murphy, Published March 01 2013

Aho, Giza of Fergus Falls improve impressive records, move on

ST. PAUL – Although he said he didn’t know what to say, Fergus Falls

113-pounder Abbot Aho talked a mile a minute after his 6-4 decision in the Minnesota Class 2A individual state wrestling tournament quarterfinals Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Next to Aho, stood teammate Tyler Giza, who is lucky to squeeze out a word an hour, telling the wrestler he just beat in a 5-0 decision at 120 pounds in the quarterfinals, “It’s cool,” in regards to the black eye Giza was sporting on his left eye.

Aho is an Energizer bunny, whereas, Giza fits the persona of a surfer more than a wrestler. They are polar opposites, but the two seniors share winning ways, along with a past.

Aho is 41-0 and Giza is

41-2, and they both will be wrestling in the state semifinals today. The two have been wrestling partners since kindergarten, and now they will share the state spotlight.

“We’re best buds,” Aho said. “We’ve been wrestling ever since we could walk basically. It’s better to be doing this with him. We push each other in the practice room, we help each other through everything, and it’s just great having Giza as a partner.”

Aho, like his personality, is more of a power guy, whereas Giza’s smooth wrestling approach fits his laid-back demeanor.

“These two have both put so much time in the offseason,” Fergus Falls coach Adam Schlepp said. “They have very similar wrestling styles because they’ve been wrestling together forever. It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve only lost two matches.”

Another similarity is the heartbreak of defeat. Although Giza rode his bike for miles in his offseason workout and Aho focused on the weights, the two seniors both had the same reason for pushing themselves harder than ever for their high school wrestling encore. Aho fell in the semifinals at last season’s state tournament, and it brought with it a pain he hasn’t forgotten.

“Losing was honestly the worst feeling in the world,” Aho said.

Giza never got the chance to come back to state after his debut as a freshman thanks to two concussions his sophomore season and another at the section tournament his junior season.

“I came back this year, and I decided I was going to give it my all,” Giza said. “It’s been rough. Me and Abbot have been there for each other through the ups and the downs. If we could win together, it would be the icing on the cake.”

Aho has the exact same feelings about that.

“Our goal ever since we could walk was to be state champs together,” Aho said.

Aho, ranked third in the state at 113 pounds, will take on fifth-ranked David Flynn (39-4) of Scott West. Giza, ranked sixth at 120, will take on No. 2-ranked Anthony Luft (36-1) of Worthington in the semifinals.

“We both want to make it to the finals,” Aho said. “We both want to win.”As for his most memorable win in his streak of 41 straight?

“Ask me that tomorrow,” Aho said.

First round championship

113: Abbot Aho, Fergus Falls, dec., 11-4, Ryan Epps, Cannon Falls

120: Tyler Giza, Fergus Falls, dec., 8-5, David Brenden, Grand Rapids

132: Keith Thell, Foley, dec., 7-0, Josh Werner, Perham

138: Lake Sailer, Perham, dec., 7-0, Josiah Brown, Big Lake

Zach Baker, Detroit Lakes, dec., 7-3, Quad Zupko, Chisago Lakes

145: Parker Jackson, Detroit Lakes, dec., 6-4, Jake Berthiaume, Monticello

152: Josh Selly, Tri-City-Cleveland, dec., 5-1, Dane Ringquist, Fergus Falls

170: Corben Hansen, Kasson-Mantorville, dec., 16-1, William Parks, Perham

182: Max Bullock, Waconia, dec., 10-4, John Kyllonen, Park Rapids Area

Cambell Hofstetter, Marshall-Lakeview, dec., 15-2, Gus Makovsky, Fergus Falls

220: Cody Nylander, Perham, dec. 17-4, Jose Brito, South St. Paul

285: Davion Franklin, Watertown-Mayer-Mayer Lutheran, pin, 1:12, James Huwe, Detroit Lakes

Quarterfinals

113: Aho, FF, dec., 6-4, Kyle Nordstrom, Simley

120: Giza, FF, dec., 5-0, Logan Stiller, Monticello

138: Coltan Laganiere, Kasson-Mantorville, dec., 7-2, Sailer, Perham

Brett Stolarzyk, Stewartville, dec., 20-12, Baker, DL

145: Mitchell Hartwig, Glencoe-Lester Prairie, dec., 6-5, Jackson, DL

220: Clay Broze, Cannon Falls, dec., 6-4, Nylander, Perham

Wrestlebacks

132: Logan Kass, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, dec., 9-0, Werner, Perham

138: Sailer, Perham, dec., 5-1, Nick Bruss, Nashwauk-Keewatin-Greenway

Baker, DL, dec., 8-1, Randy Jenson, Foley

145: Jackson, DL, dec., 12-5, Branden Schorr, Kasson-Mantorville

152: Joe Weber, Fairmont-Martin County West, dec., 10-8, Ringquist, FF

170: Jesse Slater, Adrian Area, dec. 3-0, Parks, Perham

220: Nylander, Perham, dec. 5-2, Dj Reker, Luverne


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548