By Victoria Dahlin—
The Section 7AA Individual Wrestling Championships in Mora ended on a great note for the North Branch team, with Patrick Mork and Reid Johnson earning champion runner-up titles, qualifying them for the State Championships.
In the first round of the 160 weight class, Mork — ranked eighth in the state by “The Guillotine” — defeated his Virginia Area opponent by pin in 23 seconds. He then beat a Hinckley-Finlayson/Pine City/East Central wrestler by technical fall 15-0, before winning by decision 5-0 over a Grand Rapids adversary. In the championship round Mork lost to the Mora wrestler by pin, but in the true second match he won by pin in 45 seconds over his Rush City/Braham opponent.
Johnson won by pin in 45 seconds in his first round over a Grand Rapids opponent in the 126 weight class. He then won by decision 8-1 over a Mora wrestler. Johnson lost by major decision 11-2 to a Hinckley Finlayson/Pine City/East Central adversary, before coming back in the consolation to again face and defeat the Grand Rapids wrestler by pin in 2 min. 18 sec. He then won by decision 28-13 over a Nashwauk Keewatin Greenway wrestler. In the true second match Johnson won by decision 30-12 over the Milaca wrestler.
“Congratulations to Reid Johnson and Patrick Mork for qualifying for the Minnesota state wrestling tournament,” said Coach Tony Aho. “All of the guys wrestled very well, and we believe they gave their best effort the whole weekend. With a couple of breaks either way, we could be sending a few more guys down to the state tournament, but that is the way it goes. Just about every one of the guys wrestled to or above what they were seeded and left it all out on the mat. The team is laden with underclassmen, and should be tough for years to come.”
Only the first and second place wrestler in each weight class qualifies for the Minnesota State High School Individual Wrestling Tournament, which takes place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with the Class AA competition scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Friday, March 2 and continue through Saturday, March 3.
NB wrestlers @ Section 7AA Championship
126 Reid Johnson (sophomore)
160 Patrick Mork (senior)
113 Aaron Senne (sophomore)
182 Zack Sundly (junior)
285 Seamus Hunter (sophomore)
120 Aaron Sistrunk (eighth grader)
138 Jake Pilz (junior)
220 Eric Bergstrom (junior)
152 Tristan Labelle (sophomore)
170 Levi Eastwood (junior)
132 Cameron Sampson (freshman)
145 Dalton Horak (senior)