by DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS Newspapers
In a show of what could be to come for a few of the younger Delano wrestlers, three placed high at last week’s Wright County Conference meet hosted by the Tigers.
The lone champion was senior Miles Hammerlund at 182 pounds. The defending state runner-up won 6-0 in the finals, improving to 25-1 on the season.
Some not so expected high place winners are in eighth, ninth and 10th grades, securing two seconds and a third.
Tucker Sjomeling, an eighth-grader, entered the league meet as the No. 4 seed, but upset No. 1 to advance to the finals. After winning 13-6, Sjomeling beat the top seed 4-0, staying in control the whole match, notes coach Jeff Olson.
Sjomeling lost 5-4 in the finals against junior Jacob Jewett of Glencoe-Silver Lake/Lester Prairie, who is ranked No. 4 in the state in Class AA.
Kevin Kneisl, a ninth-grader with a 9-9 record coming into the tourney, lost the title match at 220 pounds in overtime.
To reach the finals at 195 pounds, Kneisl had to face once-beaten Riley Tmka of Waconia, ranked No. 9 in AA. In the finals, Kneisl lost 4-2 in overtime to Jake Filk from Hutchinson/Buffalo Lake-Hector (26-5).
“Kevin was 9-9 but this performance is not a surprise,” said Olson. “He’s had a tough schedule of opponents and missed almost a month of the season. So he’s just starting to hit his stride now.”
Kneisl wrestled about half of last season on varsity and was the ninth-grade state champion as an eighth-grader. Olson says Kneisl has a shot at advancing to state, but the weight class at sections includes both Filk and Tmka, plus the No. 5 and 6-ranked wrestlers in the state.
Another good sign for the future came when sophomore Aaron Wagner captured third place at 195 pounds.
Senior Connor Dalbec (23-7) finished fourth at 126. The team was eighth out of 10 teams at the league meet won by Hutchinson/Buffalo-Lake-Hector with New London-Spicer second.
Prior to the conference meet, Delano defeated St. Paul Johnson 51-21 in a meet that included four Tiger wins by forfeit for 24 points, while giving up one forfeit.
Wins were by Sjomeling, Cole Paskach, Zach Knight, Sam Fink, Colton Christiansen, Hammerlund and Wagner, who pinned his opponent in 16 seconds.
The Tigers wrestle at Robbinsdale-Cooper, 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 and at the Dassel-Cokato Invitational Saturday, Feb. 9.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]