Varsity Wrestling · Spartans Send 5 Wrestlers to State


10 boys placed in the 5AA Section tournament Saturday. With the top two place winners in each weight earning the right to compete in the state tournament, Orono is sending 5 boys to St. Paul this weekend at the Xcel Energy Center. Two Spartans were crowned Section Champions and 3 others placed 2nd. Senior returning state champion Danny Striggow is making his 4rd trip to the tournament. Senior Jacob Schmid and Juniors David Wilfert and Shea Albrecht are each making repeat appearances. This will be Junior Johnny Harstad’s big tournament debut.

Sunday, head coach Joe McPherson stated, “What a GREAT weekend of wrestling – CONGRATULATIONS to all the wrestlers for competing. This is going to be a fun week for all the wrestlers, but it is important for them to stay focused on what we are there to do – wrestle & compete.”

Jacob Schmid (145) entered the tournament as the top seed at 145 and earned a bye into quarterfinal round where he picked up a technical fall over Bloomington Kennedy’s (BK) Aner Melgar Gomez 18-1. In the semifinal round he earned a 11-1 major decision over Clint Garritty of Brooklyn Center/Concordia Academy (BCCA). He powered his way to the Section title with a major decision over Totino-Grace’s (TG) Michael Loger 11-3.  Schmid will enter the state tournament as the #6 seed.

Senior Danny Striggow (220) made quick work of his 3 opponents throughout the day with successive falls over Kaimana Lorick of BK at 1:18; Willie Katchmark of Columbia Heights (CH) at 0:48; and TG’s Joe Hinkle at 1:46. Striggow will enter the state tournament as the #1 seed.

Entering the weekend as the #3 seed, Johnny Harstad (182) pinned his way into the finals with wins over Quincy Miller of BK and Fridley’s Luke Gerhard. Harstad came up short in the finals however with a 9-2 loss to Lance Munsterteiger of Mound Westonka (MW). His loss set up a true 2nd place match against Daniel McCoy of Benilde St. Margaret (BSM) where he prevailed 4-1 to earn the trip to St. Paul.

After a 1st round bye, David Wilfert (195) made quick work of TG’s Joe Reak with a pin. His semifinal round was a bit closer with a 5-0 decision over Jaxon Reichenberger of BK. The finals match was a repeat of last year with Wilfert facing #4 state ranked Josh Franklin of Fridley. Franklins 3-2 triple overtime win forced Wilfert into a true 2nd place match against Owen Kimmes of Minneapolis Roosevelt. Wilfert powered his way to a 9-1 decision and  punched his ticket to the state tournament.

Shea Albrecht (285) wrestled twice to get to the finals with a quarterfinal round fall over Saveone Avery Horne of CH and a semifinal pin against Richfield’s Juan De Dios-Molina. Mound’s Ryan Fitz upended Albrecht’s title chances in the finals by posting a 5-0 decision. Once again another Spartan was forced into a true 2nd place match. Albrecht pinned Kennedy’s Valiant Taylor to earn his trip downtown.

Other wrestlers placing included John McCuskey (170) – 3rd place; Blake Ament (120) – 4th place; Gustavo Cano Garnica (138) and Oliver Stevenson (152) – 5th place; and Max Hultmann (132) – 6th place.

During the Section coaches meeting Saturday, Joe McPherson was elected Section 5AA Head Coach of the year and Jason Stripling was re-elected Section 5AA Assistant Coach of the year.

Before the finals Saturday, Section wrestlers were awarded with academic achievement awards. Those wrestlers from Orono included Blake Ament, Gustavo Cano-Garnica, Eli McKown, Jacob Schmid, Oliver Stevenson, Noah Arneson, John McCuskey, David Wilfert, Danny Striggow, and Shea Albrecht.

Orono will wrestle Thursday in the team competition. They face #2 seed Fairmont/Martin County West in the 1st round. Individual wrestling for class AA begins Friday at 11:00 for the 5 boys. The State Tournament is being held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Round 2 action is scheduled for approximately 6:00 Friday. The semifinal and championship rounds will be held Saturday.