What does a king of pins do?
Ask Aitkin's Justin Chouanard as he notched three pins to win the 140-pound weight class in the Skip Nalan wrestling tournament at Grand Rapids Jan. 27.
Chouanard's day was quick as his three pins came in a combined time of 2:47, helping him earn the tournament title of "King of Pins."
"That's his strength," said Aitkin coach Dan Stifter. "He gets on top and he's very aggressive and physical. That's his goal, no matter where he is on the mat or what the situation is."
The junior received the top seed for his weight class and opened with a pin of Roseau's John Kryger in 48 seconds. In the semifinals he flattened Cloquet's Simon Thill in 1:43. In the championship round, Chouanard finished Moose Lake/Willow River's Adam Stalboerger in 56 seconds.
Position: 140 pounds
Key stat: Finished the week 7-0 with an individual title at the Skip Nalan tournament
At the Staples-Motley triangular Jan. 23, Chouanard added two more pins and finished the Osakis dual tournament with two pins and a forfeit victory.
On the season, he owns a 26-5 record with 15 pins. He also captured the 140-pound title at the Rick Lee Invite Jan. 13 in Bemidji.
"At the Rick Lee I came into the tournament with a couple other good wrestlers," said Chouanard. "I got rolling and beat both of them. I haven't lost a match since."
For his four-year career the junior owns an 84-39 record with 52 pins
"We talk about not giving up the big points and scoring them and he has been a sparkplug for us with that," said Stifter. "By getting those pins he gets the ball rolling in our direction. The other guys try and follow his lead and go for more pins.
"He just has a feel for it. He knows when he's got someone in trouble. So many times when a wrestler has someone on their back they'll relax and try and catch their breath. Justin doesn't do that. He wants the match to be done with and he'll breathe afterward. He stays aggressive."
Chouanard is the third-ranked 140-pounder in Class 1A. Last year he advanced to the state tournament and finished with a 29-9 overall record. This year he's hoping to go again, but with more Gobblers
"I want to place high in state and I want to make sure the team goes to state, too," said Chouanard, who also plays baseball. "There's a lot of confidence and a lot of good wrestlers in our practice room. We get to practice with each other and push everyone to be better. It's nice when you can have someone good to practice with."
Other notable performances
Basketball: Jordan Riewer, Staples-Motley, scored 26 points against Minnewaska.
Shane Finck, Verndale, had 25 points against New York Mills.
Caleb Nurnberger, S-M, finished with 29 points against Perham.
Tucker Sheley, Pequot Lakes, scored 27 points against Duluth Marshall.
Joe Lennon, Pillager, had 30 points and 12 rebounds against Cass Lake-Bena.
Hockey: Justin Wolden, Wadena-Deer Creek, had three goals and two assists against Willmar.
Zach Maas, W-DC, had two goals and two assists against Willmar.
Ben Hanowski, Little Falls, finished with three goals and an assist against Sauk Rapids and three goals and three assists against Fergus Falls.
Jared Festler, Little Falls, recorded his 200th career point with four goals and an assist against Fergus Falls.
Wrestling: Randy Przybilla, Steve McMahan and Steve Strack, Little Falls, were all 5-0 last week.
Isaac Werner, Travis Hallberg and Matt Christianson, Aitkin, finished the week 7-0 with individual titles at the Skip Nalan tournament.
Andrew Hallberg, Aitkin, finished 5-2 with an individual title at the Skip Nalan tournament.
Lane Srock, Crosby-Ironton, finished the week 4-0 to become the all-time wins leader in school history.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.