By Chad Koenen
Preston Mayfield and Jake Nagel joined an elite group of wrestlers from across the state on Saturday. The freshman and sophomore wrestlers were just two of 112 people who competed at the state wrestling tournament at St. Michael-Albertville. That’s half of the amount that have typically advanced to the state individual tournament, due to changes in the tournament in light of COVID-19 restrictions.
Nagel opened his 132 lbs., state tournament against previously unbeaten and third ranked wrestler Ethan Hendrickson, of United North Central.
Nagel was able to strike first in the match when he secured a take down at the 1:18 mark of the first period. Hendrickson scored a reversal at the 44 second mark to tie the match at 2-2. Hendrickson took a 5-2 lead in the second period when he got an escape and a take down.
Hendrickson got a take down at the 1:28 mark of the third period, before Nagel secured an escape. Hendrickson got another take down at the 1:06 mark of the third period to come away with a 9-3 win. He would go on to take second place in the tournament when he fell to Drayden Morton of Sibley East by a 3-2 decision in the finals.
In the consolation bracket, Nagel dropped a 5-3 decision to Austin Kiecker, of BOLD, that went down to the final seconds.
Nagel once again struck first as the sophomore secured a take down just 9 seconds into the period. Kiecker got an escape at the 1:10 mark of the period and got a take down late in the first period to take a 3-2 lead.
Kiecker was awarded a penalty point late in the second period to make the score 4-2 heading into the third period.
In the third and final period, Nagel cut the score to 4-3 with just 10 seconds remaining when he was awarded a penalty point. Unfortunately, Kiecker was able to get an escape with just 6 seconds remaining to come away with the 5-3 decision. He would finish the tournament in sixth place.
Nagel finished his sophomore season with a record of 22-6 overall.
Mayfield opened his state tournament against the eventual state champion, top ranked and undefeated Payton Handevidt, of Jackson County Central. Handevidt secured a take down early in the match and was able to pin Mayfield at the 1:03 mark of the first period.
In the consolation bracket, Mayfield fell to Ethan Warren, of Ogilvie, by an 11-8 decision.
In an exciting first period, Warren struck first with a take down and 3 point near fall at the 47 second mark of the match to take a 5-0 lead. Mayfield was able to secure a reversal at the 44 second mark and got a 2 point near fall to make the score 5-4 in favor of Warren. The Ogilvie wrestler got an escape with just 5 seconds remaining in the period, but Mayfield was able to get a take down as time expired to tie the match at 6-6.
In the second period, Warren got a take down and another 3 point near fall to take an 11-6 lead heading into the third period.
Mayfield started the match in the down position and got a reversal with 27 seconds left in the match to make the score 11-8. The match would end by that same score. Warren finished the tournament in sixth place.
Mayfield ended his season with a record of 17-9 overall.