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Chris Murphy, Published March 01 2014

Border West's Cameron Sykora wins 4th state title

ST. PAUL – In the tunnel of the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, he waited.

Border West junior 120-pound wrestler Cameron Sykora sat with his back against the wall, knees up and his head resting on his arms. He was mouthing the mixture of rap and country music coming from his headphones. His knees shook up and down as if he was starting his engine.

He lifted his headphones to hear the announcer say, “It’s time to crown the 2014 state champions,” and he glared at the wall.

No one was stealing his crown.

It was No. 1 versus No. 2 in the Minnesota Class 1A state wrestling title match at 120 pounds, and Sykora showed why he was No. 1. He handed Wabasso-Red Rock Central’s Spencer Jenniges his first loss of the season with a 15-0 technical fall. It capped his second perfect season and his fourth state title.

“This one was a lot harder, being banged up,” said Sykora, who missed a couple weeks with a cracked collarbone in December. “I kept fighting, and I knew if I got healthy, I could beat anybody.”

The win pushed Sykora to 35-0 and 125-1 in his last three high school seasons. Only five wrestlers in Minnesota history have won five state titles. Sykora plans to take a week off and get to work on doing just that.

“It’s definitely one of my goals,” Sykora said. “Once you’re on top, kids want to knock you down, so you got to keep working.”

Before Sykora walked out to the mat to win his fourth title, Border West coach Paul Frisch said, “Don’t let him breathe.”

Allowing one point the entire tournament, Sykora didn’t let anyone breathe.

“I know I can beat anyone,” Sykora said. “When I wrestle at my best, I’m one of the best kids in the country.”

Frazee ends with wins

The state tournament was not kind to Frazee the first two days of competition. Seeded No. 2 as a team in Class 1A, the Hornets fell in the second round and lost the third-place dual

33-32 to a Jackson County Central team that had beaten them in the 2010 and 2013 team final, along with tying them in the 2011 championship.

Friday, the Hornets had none of their six individual qualifiers make it through the day in the championship bracket, including Tanner Reetz – ranked third at 113 pounds – who had to forfeit before wrestling for not making weight.

Garrett Malstrom, Austin Skillings and Kody Van Den Eykel were able to end the Hornets’ trip with three wins. Malstrom (285 pounds) and Skillings (138) finished third, and Van Den Eykel (185) finished fifth.

“We worked really hard to get here,” Skillings said. “It’s nice to see people placing.”

5 area wrestlers take 3rd

After Breckenridge-Campbell-Tintah senior Conrad Kondos lost in the first round of last season’s Class 1A individual state tournament, he sat in the crowd and rooted for his opponent to lose in the next round, so he wouldn’t have to wrestle again.

Saturday, after losing in the first round of the championship bracket on Friday, he won his fourth match at the state tournament to come back and finish third at 120 pounds in Class 1A.

“I wasn’t happy with myself after last season, so I knew I couldn’t do that again this season,” Kondos said. “Wrestling is life, and in life when you get knocked down you have to keep going. There was no next year this year.”

Kondos joined Malstrom, Skillings, Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale’s Dillon Card (Class 1A, 195 pounds) and Detroit Lakes’ James Huwe (Class 2A, 285 pounds) as third-place finishers at state.

Class 1A

Championship semifinals

120: Cameron Sykora, Border West, major dec. Brendon Coyer, Osakis, 10-1. 195: Vince Johnson, Windom-Mountain Lake, dec. Hunter Fick, West Central Area-Ashby-Evansville, 4-3. 220: Lucas Damm, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, dec. Dillon Card, Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale, 3-2.

Consolation quarterfinals

106: Anthony Kern, Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale pin Mario Garcia, Saint James, 2:37; Ethan Cota, Kenyon-Wanamingo, dec. Willie Meine, Fertile-Beltrami, 4-1. 113: Trenton Coyer, Osakis, dec. Levi Larkin, West Central Area-Ashby-Evansville, 5-1; Michael Suda, Pipestone, dec. Danny Franco, Pelican Rapids, 2-0. 120: Conrad Kondos, Breckenridge-Campbell-Tintah, major dec. Byron Byer, Frazee, 16-4. 138: Austin Skillings, Frazee, dec. Rylee Anderson, Barnesville, 4-1.

182: Maverick Whitcomb, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, pin Kal Handyside, Mahnomen-Waubun, 2:24; Kody Van Den Eykel, Frazee, dec. Hunter Prodzinski, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 5-4 (4 OT). 195: Tyler Patron, New York Mills, dec. Lucas Etchason, Triton, 3-2. 285: Garrett Malstrom, Frazee, dec. Nick Meixell, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 3-1 (OT).

Consolation semifinals

106: Tanner Pasvogel, Sibley East, dec. Kern, B-H-V, 9-2. 120: Kondos, B-C-T, technical fall Cooper, Osakis. 138: Skillings, F, dec. Tyler Keller, Medford, 3-0. 182: Tim Krueger, River Valley, dec. Van Den Eykel, F, 2-0. 195: Patron, NYM, dec. Fick, WCA-A-E, 6-3. 220: Card, B-H-V, dec. Tyler Olson, Maple River, 3-1. 285: Malstrom, F, dec. Tanner Welsch, Dover-Eyota 5-1.

Fifth-place matches

106: Ethan Cota, Kenyon-Wanamingo, dec. Kern, B-H-V, 6-2. 185: Van Den Eykel, F, pin Nathan Brinker, Holdingford, 2:42. 195: Fick, WCA-A-E, dec. Jake Denn, Madelia-T-ML, 6-4.

Third-place matches

120: Kondos, B-C-T, major dec. Miguel Ambriz, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 9-0. 138: Skillings, F, dec. Dylan Boettcher, Saint Clair-Mankato Loyola, 9-1. 195: Wyatt Richardson, Grand Meadow-LeRoy-Os-King, pin Patron, NYM, 1:52. 220: Card, B-H-V, dec. Jaden Erikkila, Nash-Kee-Greenway, 4-3. 285: Malstrom, F, dec. Cole Grinsteinner, Crosby-Ironton, 3-2.


120: Sykora, BW, technical fall, Spencer Jenniges, Wabasso-Red Rock Central.

Class 2A

Championship semifinals

106: Cole Jones, Grand Rapids, technical fall Braydon Ortloff, Detroit Lakes. 145: Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville, dec. Mason Swegarden, United Clay-Becker, 11-4. 152: Mack Short, Simley, pin Parker Jackson, Detroit Lakes, 0:45. 160: Andrew Fogarty, Scott West, pin Dane Ringquist, Fergus Falls, 3:30. 195: Mitch Struffert, Foley, dec. Abram Aho, Fergus Falls, 8-2. 285: Sam Stoll, Kasson-Mantorville, pin James Huwe, Detroit Lakes, 3:52.

Consolation quarterfinals

285: Dylan Winegar, Waseca, dec. Kirby Siewert, Detroit Lakes, 8-7.

Consolation semifinals

106: Jake Gliva, Simley, dec. Ortloff, DL, 8-3. 145: Swegarden, UCB, dec. Alexi Bode, Fosston-Bagley, 8-4. 152: Jackson, DL, dec. Carter Holthaus, Albany, 5-1. 160: Zach Kempema, W, dec. Ringquist, FF, 6-4 (OT). 195: Triston Westerlund, Albert Lea, dec. Aho, FF, 6-2. 285: Huwe, DL, pin Blake Mauss, Caledonia, 3:48

Fifth-place matches

106: AJ Bethea, Hibbing, dec. Ortloff, DL, 15-9. 160: Ringquist, FF, dec. Charlie Schmid, Orono, 8-5. 195: Aho, FF, major dec. Chase O’Connor, Kasson-Mantorville, 10-2.

Third-place matches

145: Jacob Steinbauer, Waconia, dec. Swegarden, UCB, 6-4. 152: Chris Schmidt, Hutchinson, dec. Jackson, DL, 4-2. 285: Huwe, DL, pin Logan Swanson, 5:47.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548