ST. PAUL - Three of the six area wrestlers left in the Class 1A championship bracket Friday advanced to the state finals after picking up wins in the semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.
Zak Lambert of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale grabbed an 8-3 decision over Mike Lucero of Frazee at 125 pounds.
Lambert said he used his past wrestling experience against Lucero to his advantage. The two met in the 2006 state tournament third-place match.
"I wrestled him a few years back and beat him so I was a bit nervous, but confident," he said. "Coach just told me to stay aggressive, which I did. I have good endurance so I just kept going. I also watched him wrestle earlier this year so I kind of knew what to expect."
Lambert said afterwards that the fact he was in the finals match was still setting in.
"I did expect to be there, but in a way I didn't," he said. "Sometimes you look at the other guys in those matches and wish you could be there and finally I am."
Unranked Jordan Bendson of Staples-Motley pulled off another upset Friday to advance to the finals at 145. He defeated fourth-ranked Tucker Freeman of Madelia-Truman in the semifinal match a day after defeating fifth-ranked Justin Chouanard of Aitkin in the quarterfinals.
His match with Freeman went to three overtimes. Tied 2-2 after overtime, Bendson took a 4-2 advantage in the second overtime with a reversal before Freeman captured a takedown with three seconds left to make it 4-4. But Bendson escaped in the third overtime to take the 5-4 win.
Bendson said it was an exhausting match.
Highlights: Zak Lambert and Sam Moenkedick of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale and Jordan Bendson of Staples-Motley advanced to state finals
Next: All classes, individual fifth and third place noon, individual championships 3:30 p.m. Saturday
SPOTTED: » State Wrestling Tournament UPDATED!
"I was pretty tired by the first overtime. All I had to do was not get taken down," he said. "After he took me down, I had to bounce back. You always have to bounce back no matter what the score is you keep going.
"It's pretty amazing to be in the finals. I don't know how it happened. But if you fight through all your matches, things like this can happen."
The other area wrestler advancing to the finals was seventh-ranked Sam Moenkedick of BH/V at 160 as he captured a 4-3 decision over third-ranked Jon Verheist.
Top-ranked Ethan Kern (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) fell in his semifinal match at 119 by 10-1 major decision to sixth-ranked Ethan Hildebrandt. Kern had been battling a knee injury.
Wadena-Deer Creek's Trey VanOrsdel fell at 140 to top-rated Jake Bonsack of United South Central 3-0.
Second-ranked Matt Christensen of Aitkin fell to top-ranked Travis Rutt by a 12-4 major decision at 171 pounds.
Class 1A semifinals
119: Ethan Hildebrandt (Saint James) maj. dec. Ethan Kern (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) 10-1
125: Zak Lambert (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) dec. Mike Lucero (Frazee) 8-3
140: Jake Bonsack (United South Central) dec. Trey VanOrsdel (Wadena-Deer Creek) 3-0
145: Jordan Bendson (Staples-Motley) 3OT dec. Tucker Freeman (Madelia-Truman) 5-4
160: Sam Moenkedick (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) dec. Jon Verhelst (Canby) 4-3
171: Travis Rutt (Jackson County Central) maj. dec. Matt Christensen (Aitkin) 12-4
Class 1A wrestlebacks
112: Clint Poster (Pierz) dec. Beau Buysse (Minneota) 5-0, Chad Lexvold (Kenyon-Wanamingo) dec. Poster 6-4
119: Sam Haas (Lac qui Parle Valley) dec. Kern (BH/V) 6-0
125: Ryan Swenson (Dawson-Boyd) dec. Wade Adams (Crosby-Ironton) 2-1
140: Trevor Krueger (Barnesville) dec. VanOrsdel (WDC) 5-3
145: Daniel Schad (Long Prairie-Grey Eagle) dec. Justin Chouanard (Aitkin) 5-3
171: Matt Moenkedick (BH/V) dec. Micah Larson (ACGC) 8-1, No. 2 Christensen (Aitkin) dec. No. 9 Moenkedick (BH/V) 7-1
189: Evan Stock (Yellow Medicine East) dec. No. 8 Tony Wegscheid 5-3
TY RUSHMEYER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5865.
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