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Trojans earn section wrestling crown
Fans with red T-shirts packed the stands at Watertown- Mayer High School, sporting the theme of the New Prague High School Wrestling team for the season:
“On a Mission.”
After Saturday’s Section 2AA tournament, the fans could say “Mission accomplished!”
New Prague will compete in the State Wrestling tournament as a team for the third time in school history following a 43-17 win over Watertown- Mayer in the section championship.
The Trojans were seeded fourth in the eight-team state tournament, and will face No. 5 Adrian. Other first round matches will have No. 1 Kasson- Mantorville vs. Perham, No. 2 Simley vs. Chisago Lakes and No. 3 Foley vs. Totino-Grace.
The state team tournament will be held on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Xcel Energy Center. Meanwhile the Trojans will be focusing on individual accomplishments this weekend. The Section 2AA individual tourney will be held at Waconia High school Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23. The top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state individual tournament March 1 and 2.
Section title The championship didn’t come easy for the top-seeded Trojans, who were ranked No. 4 in the state. They survived a semifinal match against No. 7-ranked Hutchinson, winning 32-30, to make the finals.
The Trojans opened the section meet with a 63-12 win over Tri-City United Thursday, Feb. 14.
Trojans 63, Titans 12 New Prague had little trouble beating Tri-City United in the quarterfinals of the section meet. The Trojans won the first two matches to take a 9-3 lead. After the Titans got a decision at 120, New Prague took two more matches, by fall, making it 21-3. TCU won just three matches.
New Prague had pins from Nick Knutson (113 pounds), Griffin Parriott (126), James Berg (132), Morgan Parriott (145), Logan Giles (170), Andrew Maruska (182), and Zach Lafavor (285). They had forfeit wins by by Mitch Gullickson (195) and Nathan Preston (220) and a decision by Sam Reyant (106).
Trojans 32, Tigers 30 Saturday’s semifinal match almost spelled the end for the Trojan’s mission. New Prague led 32-26 going into the final match. Hutchinson could have tied the match with a fall at 285, and they would have won on criteria, having won eight matches to New Prague’s six. However Lafavor went up against a highlyranked Hutchinson wrestler and managed to hold him off, losing by a major decision instead of a fall, and the Trojans took the 32-30 win.
Hutchinson won a close match at 106 pounds, but Knutson rebounded, falling behind 4-1 before coming from behind to win by fall at 3:07. The Tigers regained the lead at 7-6 on a major decision at 120, but Griffin Parriott earned a major decision at 126 and Berg scored a fall in 27 seconds at 132 to put the Trojans up 16-7. The Tigers won the next two matches, by decision to pull to within three at 16-13.
Richard Reinartz got the Trojans back on track with a third period fall at 152 pounds, making it 22-13.
The Tigers won at 160 by major decision, but Giles got the points back with a major decision of his own, giving New Prague a 26-17 lead.
Hutchinson won the next two matches, by decision and by fall, to tie the score at 26- 26 going into the final two matches.
Nathan Preston scored a fall in 1:01 at 220 pounds.
Trojans 43, Royals 17 Darick Kvam upset No. 8- ranked Aaron Sweeney 7-4 at 132 pounds, starting a sixmatch Trojan run that put them in the state tournament for the third time in school history. Previous trips were in 1992 and 1999.
The score was tied at 8-8 when the Trojans put in Kvam at 132 pounds, choosing to move James Berg up a weight. The hope was that Kvam could avoid being pinned and Berg would get bonus points in his match.
What they didn’t count on was Kvam getting the upper hand and winning a 7-4 decision against Sweeney.
Berg followed with a major decision at 138, Morgan Parriott got a fall at 145 , Richard Reinartz took a 1-0 decision at 152, Joe Heinz scored a 10-5 decision at 160 and Giles won an 11-3 major decision at 170 to give the Trojans a 31-8 lead.
At that point, the Royals would have needed to score pins in all the remaining matches in order to get the win.
Next up was Andrew Maruska at 185. He fell behind early, but came back and scored a near fall in the second period. He lost his match 8-7. but that was enough, to clinch the win for the Trojans.
Cody Sirek and Preston won their matches by fall to give the Trojans a 43-17 lead before the Royals won the final match.
Knutson and Griffin Parriott also had wins for the Trojans.
Sirek, a senior said the win by Kvam was huge.
“It took their fans out of the match and got us going,” he said. “It really picked the team up. You could feel the energy.”
See a salute to the Trojan wrestlers in next week’s edition of The Times.