Delano, Rockford wrestlers put high state rankings to test at section finals

BY DAVID PEDERSEN

Four area wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament last season are seeking return trips at section finals Feb. 21-22. Chances look good since all four are ranked in the state’s top 10 in Class 2A.

Rockford is in the Section 5AA tournament at Orono, with action starting at 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

Delano heads to Mankato West for the Section 2AA individual finals starting at 5 p.m. Friday and 11 p.m. Saturday.

Tucker Sjomeling of Delano is undefeated at 35-0 ranked No. 1 at the 106-pound weight class. The ninth-grader hopes for a chance to defend his state title captured last year. He has won 16 matches by pin.

Sophomore Kevin Kneisl is ranked No. 7 at 220 pounds. He is 24-6 with 11 pins

Rockford also has two ranked wrestlers. Senior Ty Griffin is No. 2 at 132 pounds and senior Brad Johnson is No. 6 at 138. Griffin won a state title as a sophomore and Johnson qualified for state the first time last season.

In section team tourney won by Totino-Grace last week Rockford lost to Fridley 50-24. Victories were posted by Griffin, Johnson, Fordy Thorson, Thomas Reinking and Kato Cano.

Delano won the first match at the 5AA team tourney, defeating St. Peter 40-36. The Tigers next lost to section champ Scott West 64-13. The wins were by Sjomeling, Kneisl and Walker Russek

Against St. Peter, victories were secured by Sjomeling, Cole Paskach, Sam Oeffling, Zach Knight, Marty Soderberg, Seth Streachek, Kneisl and Russek.

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