By Victoria Dahlin—
The North Branch wrestling team took second place out of 12 teams last Saturday in the 54th Grand Rapids Skip Nalan Invitational.
The Vikings accumulated 191.5 points to place ahead of Hibbing (162 points) and behind Grand Rapids (248) in the longest continuously run sports event in the state.
“This was a good performance for this team,” said Coach Tony Aho. “The guys are doing a better job of getting after each other in live practice situations and mentally preparing for their matches. We knew that we would have a chance to win this tournament if everyone contributed to the effort. Though we came up a bit short of the goal, we feel that good strides were made toward becoming a very competitive postseason team.
“Congratulations to Zack Sundly on a well deserved championship. Patrick Mork also won, (while) Kody Strohmayer made his varsity debut and won a match for the team. Mike Vogel, Dalton Horak and Tristan LaBelle had nice showings in this tourney, but of course, will work to place even higher as they gain experience and confidence. Aaron Senne is still wrestling with great intensity and is emerging as a team leader in that department,” Aho added.
The North Branch wrestling team will compete in a triangular at Irondale High School in New Brighton beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9.