Of course they will need to get there first, but of the numerous quality wrestlers in the Brainerd lakes area, who has the best shot for gold next weekend at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul?
Last year, Pierz's Clint Poster won his second state title and Crosby-Ironton's Hayden Zillmer picked up his third straight. Both young men have graduated so who is next?
The area has six highly ranked wrestlers in Aitkin's Jordan Chouanard (No. 2 at 152), Staples-Motley's Blake Petrich (No. 1 at 182), the Road Crews' Peter Harrison (No. 3 at 160), Pierz's Nathan Tomala (No. 3 at 170), Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale's Collin Turchin (No. 2 at 285) and Wadena-Deer Creek's Mitch Steffens (No. 3 at 113).
Petrich and Chouanard both wrestled to bronze last year and they are my two top picks for gold this season.
I'll dive into more of this in a new podcast that sports editor Mike Bialka and I are working on for next week. It's a new venture we hope to make a weekly program. Hopefully you'll find that helpful as well as a state team wrestling preview and a state individual tournament preview next week that you'll be able to find next week on our web site as well as in our paper.