By Gary Larson
Mille Lacs County Times
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Milaca’s ninth grade wrestling team went 4-1 at the Ninth Grade Team State Tournament to win the consolation title.
What to do for an encore?
How about claiming team honors at the Section 7 Individual Tournament and advancing nine wrestlers to the Ninth Grade State Individual State Tournament?
Dru Kuchenbaker at 120 pounds, Jack Gutlovics at 126, Logan Sahlstrom at 132, Jack Barsody at 138, Aaron Moscho at 145, Austin Weidner at 152, Josh Otten at 160, Jake Merten at 182 and Zach Peterson at 195 will compete at the state meet Saturday at Champlin Park, with action starting at 9 a.m.
Gutlovics, Weidner, Otten and Peterson won their weight classes at the section meet Saturday at Milaca while Kuchenbaker, Sahlstrom, Barsody, Moscho and Merten all notched second place. The top two in each weight class earned state berths.
Milaca won Section 7 team honors as it piled up 224 points. Becker was second in the 16-team meet with 179.5 points, followed by third place Big Lake with 131, fourth-place Mora with 123 and fifth-place Foley with 119.5.
“They made a great showing,” said varsity coach Randy Zimmer. “This is the most state qualifiers we’ve ever had for the ninth grade meet.
“And, I think they will do well at the state tournament.”
Hunter Noor placed third at 113 with a 3-1 record while Colton Sailor placed fourth at heavyweight with a 2-2 mark.
Kuchenbaker went 4-1. He lost an 11-9 decision to Wyatt Juhl of Big Lake in the semifinals but came back in the wrestle-backs to eventually top Sam Kirchner 6-4 in a match for true second.
Gutlovics went 3-0, stopping Blake Poole of Mora 9-6 in the finals.
Sahlstrom posted a 3-1 record. He lost to Brady Moulzolf of Royalton 6-1 in the finals, then stopped Brandon Jackson of Foley 10-1 for true second.
Barsody went 3-1. He lost to eventual-champion Blake Anderson of Big Lake 5-3 in the semifinals but rallied in the wrestlebacks and topped Matt Kummett of Pierz 11-0 in the match for true second.
Moscho also had a 3-1 record. He lost to Tyler Tober in the finals but then stopped Derek Baron of Foley 7-1 for true second.
Weidner was 3-0 and scored an 11-3 win over Anthony Wendlandt of Paynesville in the title match.
Otten also went 3-0, scoring a pair of falls before winning by default over Rocori’s Seth Klein in the finals.
Merten was 3-1. He lost a 13-12 decision to Eric Povin of Mora in the finals, then pinned Darian Nyguen of Sartell for true second.
Peterson was 3-0 and stopped Trevor Goodrich of Becker 4-1 in the title match.