By Victoria Dahlin —
The 2011-12 season ended for North Branch wrestlers Reid Johnson and Patrick Mork last Friday in the first round of the State Wrestling Championships.
Johnson, a sophomore, was defeated by fall in 3 min. 35 sec. by senior Noah Schlee of GrandMeadow/LeroyOstrander/Kingsland in the 126 weight class.
After giving up a takedown in the first period, Johnson was able to earn an escape and a takedown of his own to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. He chose the down position and unfortunately was turned in a cradle. Schlee then lost his next match, eliminating Reid from further competition.
“Although Reid did not finish the season the way he would have liked, we are extremely proud of this young man and know that he will go far in this sport,” said coach Tony Aho. “He has an extremely good work ethic and a great skill set. Combine that with his talent, and you have a recipe for a very strong competitor who will challenge for medals at the state tourney for the next two years.”
Mork, a senior, lost by decision 6-4 to junior Holden Nelson of Thief River Falls/Goodridge.
Nelson came into the match with 39 wins, matching Mork’s total. Mork earned the first takedown and looked like he was going to control the match. The match went back and forth and Patrick came out on the short end. Nelson was defeated in the next round.
“We thought that he (Mork) probably had earned criteria for near fall points, but unfortunately sometimes the referee doesn’t see it the same way,” said coach Aho. “Patrick had a disappointing end to his season career. As time passes, however, Patrick will look back and be happy with his career in this sport. It has been a pleasure working with him, and we are very proud of his accomplishments. Special thanks to all of the parents and supporters of North Branch wrestling. It has been great to be amongst all of you this season.”