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Chris Murphy, Published March 02 2013

Spuds' Morlock falls in championship match at state wrestling

ST. PAUL – With his hands in the pockets of his black Moorhead jacket, Chase Morlock paced back and forth in the tunnel of the Xcel Energy Center like a bull waiting to be released from his cage.

He said nothing. He had no music playing. He just walked to nowhere with no one within 10 feet of him.

No one wanted to come near him, that is, until Lakeville South’s Tommy Petersen tamed the 195-pounder. Petersen ended Morlock’s wrestling career with a 3-2 loss to claim his second straight state championship at 195 pounds in Class 3A on Saturday at the Minnesota individual state championship tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.

After the loss, Morlock fell into his coach’s arms and then took his longest pace – a pace through the Xcel Energy Center tunnel.

He said nothing. He didn’t make a sound. He just walked. Until he stopped and realized his wrestling career was over.

The 2012 state champion at 182 pounds with just two losses on the 2013 season at 42-2 lowered the straps on his black and orange singlet, and the tears were impossible to hold back.

“It’s been fun,” Morlock said. “I wish I could have said I won it, but I have to thank all my coaches and teammates. I couldn’t have done it without them. It’s been a heck of a ride. I’m a lucky guy to have had the coaches and teammates that I’ve had. I’m really going to miss it.”

It was No. 1 versus No. 2 in the championship, and it fought like that. Neither wrestler gave up an inch, and it turned out to be just that much that separated them.

“I really couldn’t get a solid base, and I really couldn’t get my shots off,” Morlock said. “I just didn’t have enough.”

In the two years as Moorhead wrestling coach, Skip Toops has gotten more than enough from Morlock.

“It was two tough kids wrestling,” Toops said. “I couldn’t be a prouder coach of Chase Morlock or Joe Carpenter or my whole team. They wrestled their butts off and they worked so hard. From the beginning of the year, we wanted that state match against Tommy Petersen. Tommy got the upperhand that time.”

Morlock had one more pace left in his wrestling career before the lights went off: He went back to the podium in the spotlight of the Xcel Energy Center one last time.

Carpenter finishes third for Moorhead

After falling in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket for the second straight season, Moorhead 160-pounder Joe Carpenter decided he wasn’t ready to end his wrestling career.

The senior won four matches to take home third place. Carpenter knocked off the No. 2-ranked wrestler 4-2 in overtime, the No. 8-ranked wrestler 7-5 in overtime, pinned the No. 4-ranked wrestler and won an 8-3 decision over the No. 7-ranked wrestler in the third-place match to finish his career on a win.

“My coach told me that I controlled my own destiny, so I took that to heart,” Carpenter said. “I just did everything I could to win all my matches. It felt awesome to end like this.”

Championship semifinals

195: Chase Morlock, Moorhead, dec., 6-4, Trae Story, Roseville Area

Second round wrestlebacks

126: Tanner Mills, Saint Michael-Albertville, dec., 9-2, Jacob Rositas, Moorhead

160: Joseph Carpenter, Moorhead, dec., 4-2, Cody Skog, Cambridge-Isanti

Wrestleback semifinals

160: Carpenter, M, pin, 4:01, Austin Boniface, Forest Lake

Third-place match

160: Carpenter, M, dec., 8-2, Lucas Westrich, Lakeville North

Championship match

195: Tommy Petersen, Lakeville South, dec., 3-2, Morlock, M

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