Nate Adams finished second in the Section 8-3A wrestling tournament last season and lost his only match at the state tournament.
Those experiences appear to have spurred him on this season, compiling an 8-1 so far, including winning the 152-pound championship at the Blue Earth tournament Dec. 3 and a runner-up finish in the Paul Bunyan Invitational in Brainerd last weekend.
In the Bunyan, Adams beat Luke Lodermeier of Little Falls 12-5, Dan McGuire of Grand Rapids 2-1 and Tyler Beehler of Foley 6-4 before losing in the finals to Class 1A’s third-ranked Rij Koehnen of Frazee 4-2.
“It was 0-0 after the first period,” Adams said. “He got three back points on me in the second, and an escape. Right away in the third I scored two on him. He was really tough.”
At Blue Earth, Adams opened with a 6-3 win over Spencer Meadows of Fairmont-Martin County West, and scored a technical fall at 5:56 against 1A’s ninth-ranked Cody Lorelltz of Mankato East in the semifinals. He beat Luke Norland of Jackson County Central 4-3 for the title.
“It was a very close match,” Adams said. “At the end I was up by one, and I just kind of held on for like the last 30 seconds.
“(Winning the title) was sort of unexpected for me. It was exciting.”
Adams has won eight of his first nine matches this season entering Friday’s dual meet against Little Falls.
“Nate’s wrestling very well,” Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran said. “He’s improved since last year. He spent time working out to get better, to get stronger. The time he spent in the offseason is paying off for him right now.”
Adams finished 17-9 last season, his third with the Warriors after wrestling his eighth- and ninth-grade seasons at Crosby-Ironton.
Warriors co-head coach Jim Kath said the Bunyan is a good indication of the level at which Adams is wrestling.
“He was in the final round, as we hoped he would be,” Kath said. “He lost to a tough kid. In a lot of ways it was a match he feels he should have won, and definitely had opportunities to win. I think the Paul Bunyan is a good indicator for him. Losses can be a great thing for you sometimes.”
Kath said Adams has been healthy this season and is solidly entrenched at 152 pounds.
“I think his biggest attribute is his conditioning,” Kath said. “He’s in better shape than he’s been in, and hopefully he will progress throughout the course of the year.”
Other notable efforts:
• Aaron Rich, Mitch McLain and Matt Pohlkamp, boys hockey, collected six points apiece against Alexandria. Rich and McLain each added hat tricks against Tech.
• Jodi Bertrand, girls hockey, made 37 saves against Alexandria.
• Josh McKeag and Justin Kuglin, swimming, each won two events and were on two winning relays against Alexandria.
• Casey Biever, wrestling, was runner-up in the Paul Bunyan.
• Jack Sauer, boys basketball, scored 20 points against Bemidji.