by DAVE PEDERSEN
Senior Miles Hammerlund has been a great team leader and role model on Delano’s wrestling team, ranked second in the state at 170 pounds in Class AA.
Two great learners are talented eighth-graders who start and finish Delano meets as of late. Tucker Sjomeling is standing out at 106 pounds and Walker Russek has emerged as the varsity heavyweight.
Sjomeling and Hammerlund both recently captured championships at the Norwood-Young America Invitational and Russek placed fourth.
“Tucker has been wrestling very well,” said coach Jeff Olson. “He had a great tournament at the Rumble on the River in Fargo, beating three ranked wrestlers.”
The Rumble was conducted over the holiday break. After losing the first match, Sjomeling won four straight matches, including a win over Jake Allar of Benilde-St. Margaret’s, who was 17-2 at the time.
Sjomeling is 19-5 on the season. He lost 11-6 to No. 4 rated Jacob Jewett (22-3) of Glencoe-Silver Lake Thursday. Olson says it was an even match except for a five-point move at the end of the second period.
“Russek is a rare kid that can hold his own as an eighth grade heavyweight,” said Olson. “He is another one that has put in a lot of time and effort. He works hard and wants to learn.”
Hammerlund became the first Delano wrestler in school history to advance to the state title match and place second last season.
He placed third in Fargo, winning four straight matches before losing to Darick Vancura from Jackson County Central, who was 18-1. The Tiger then beat a wrestler from Byron, who was 16-3 and one from Becker, who was 17-3.
Last week Hammerlund won his two matches at the Becker duals and won against Glencoe-Silver Lake/Lester Prairie and Hutchinson despite wrestling two weight classes higher to avoid winning by forfeit.
“Miles is now 17-1 and is wrestling very well,” adds Olson. “He weighed in at 182 against Hutchinson and we bumped him up to wrestled Paxton Jordahl at 195 who is ranked No. 3 in the state. We thought that would be a good match and good experience for Miles.”
Also at the NYA tourney, Connor Dalbec placed second at 126 pounds, after returning from injury. The senior improved to 15-4.
“I would say he was a bit rusty, but that is realistic when you’ve been out for a couple of weeks,” said Olson. “Connor seems to be healed up fully, so I think he’ll get back to where he was soon. He’s been a great leader on the team and a steady presence.”
Senior Sam Fink finished third at 138 at NYA, a sign of his continued improvement according to Olson.
Sophomore Aaron Wagner took third at 195, going 3-1 at NYA and has a winning record this season.
Fourth place finishes at Norwood were recorded by sophomore Cole Paskach at 120, ninth-grader Zach Knight at 132, junior Austin Green at 145 and eighth-grader Walker Russek at heavyweight.
Others wrestling on varsity in recent meets include seventh-grader Camden Tschudi at 106, junior Kooper Anderson at 145 and senior Gunnar Bergstrom at 170.
Delano wrestles at Dassel-Cokato Friday, Jan. 18 in a meet that includes Litchfield. The Tigers are home against New London-Spicer and Annandale, Thursday, Jan. 24.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]