ST. PAUL — The largest member of the area’s Class 1A caravan was also the most successful.
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale heavyweight Colin Turchin pinned Lake City’s Pedro Guevara in 60 seconds to claim third place in the Class 1A state individual wrestling tournament Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Turchin, who lost to top-ranked Alex Yeager in the championship semifinals, pinned third-ranked Aaron Bruihler of LeSueur-Henderson in 1:16 to advance to the third-place match.
Turchin, ranked second in Class 1A, finished the year at 41-2. The junior finished fourth in last year’s state tournament.
Pierz’s Nathan Tomala and Aitkin’s Jordan Chouanard each secured fifth-place finishes and Wadena-Deer Creek’s Mitch Steffens managed a sixth-place finish for the area’s other place winners.
The third-ranked Tomala not only picked up a medal, but enjoyed some revenge in the process. The Pioneers’ senior scored a 5-4 decision over TeJay Wojchowski of Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in the fifth-place match. It was the sixth-ranked Wojchowski who knocked Tomala into the wrestlebacks with a pin fall in the opening round.
“Nathan didn’t want to lose to that kid in the first round, but he was a tough kid and it was a tough match,” said Pierz’s Simon Waltman. “Knowing that, he did come back and beat him the second time. It was a pretty exciting match and a really good way to end his career.”
It was Tomala’s first state medal in three tries. He finished the year 38-5.
“It’s always tough when you have a big dream of making the finals and being a state champion and you lose early on,” Waltman said. “You dream gets crushed and it’s hard to recover. But Nathan is a very calm kid. He was able to turn the switch and refocus and set a new goal to get third. When that didn’t happen, he reset his goal for fifth and to beat the guy who beat him.”
Chouanard was another senior with high hopes for finals glory. He did win his final prep match against Class 1A’s top-ranked 145-pounder Chris Pfarr of LeSueur-Henderson. Chouanard, who was third last year, owned him for a 13-0 major decision.
“It felt pretty good to win, but I was still disappointed from losing,” Chouanard said. “I really wanted to be in that championship match. That first loss is one I’ll want back for the next 10 years. I just didn’t go out there and wrestle. I could probably beat that kid eight out of 10 times, but I just didn’t wrestle.”
After his championship bracket loss, the second-ranked Chouanard used his spladle to pin Brock Franko of Triton and then pinned Austin Peterson of Eden Valley-Watkins in 1:11 before falling to fifth-ranked Mitchell Rohlik of Wabasso by a 3-2 decision.
“It was pretty tough to get refocused,” said Chouanard. “My mind was set on first or second the whole year. To take away my whole dream my senior year, I just didn’t care about the state tournament anymore as bad as that sounds.
“The two guys I lost to finished third and fourth. They were tough, but knowing you could have beat everyone there is really tough. I should have wrestled better.”
Class 1A results
113: Semifinals: James Goman (Trinity School) dec. Mitch Steffens (Wadena-Deer Creek) 2-0 OT; Wrestlebacks: Quinten Berres (Kimball) pinned Steffens :15; Fifth-place match: Louie Sanders (Lake Crystal-W-M) inj. Default Steffens
120: Wrestlebacks: Chris Ortman (Pierz) dec. Stuart Brandt (Barnesville) 1-0, Richy Soto (St. James) dec. Ortman 3-1 OT
132: Wrestlebacks: Zach Matthys (Ottertail Central) dec. Brian Wold (Aitkin) 10-7
152: Wrestlebacks: Jordan Chouanard (Aitkin) pinned Austin Peterson (Eden Valley-Watkins) 1:11; Mitchell Rohlik (Wabasso/Red Rock) dec. Chouanard 3-2; Fifth-place match: Chouanard maj. dec Chris Pfarr (LeSueur-Henderson) 13-0
170: Wrestlebacks: Nathan Tomala (Pierz) pinned Isaac Josephson (Minneota) 4:18; Collin Huckbody (Walker-H-A) dec. Tomala 5-3; Fifth-place match: Tomala dec. TeJay Wojchowski (Badger/G-MR) 5-4
182: Seth Petranek (NRHEG) dec. Dillon Card (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) 4-3
195: Wrestlebacks: Justin Viss (Chatfield) dec. Dustin Waytashek (Pierz) 6-0
220: Wrestlebacks: Rick Brandt (Frazee) dec. Tony Reurink (Wadena-Deer Creek) 3-2
285: Semifinals: Alex Yeager (Badger/G-MR) pinned Colin Turchin (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) 3:26; Wrestlebacks: Turchin pinned Aaron Bruihler (LeSueur-Henderson) 1:16; Third-place match: Turchin pinned Pedro Guevarea (Lake City) :60