Lightning wrestler keeps Lynch from placing at state

Junior Jake Lynch squares up with Spencer Ogden of Annandale/Maple Lake in the first round of the individual state wrestling tournament on Friday.

Junior Jake Lynch squares up with Spencer Ogden of Annandale/Maple Lake in the first round of the individual state wrestling tournament on Friday.

Junior Jake Lynch represented Rush City at the Minnesota state wrestling tournament on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

In his opening match against Spencer Ogden of Annandale/Maple Lake, Lynch earned an 8-4 lead by halfway through the second period. But unfortunately for the No. 7-ranked wrestler, who had a 9-6 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the match, Ogden caught Lynch by surprise to win by fall just seconds later.

Ogden went on to face the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 195 pounds, Lance Benick of Totino-Grace. Ogden fell, eliminating Lynch from the 2013-14 state tournament.

Head coach Andy Hackenmueller said both he and Lynch were taken by surprise at the first round results.

“Both of us had the goal and expectations of Jake placing; he was very capable of placing,” Hackenmueller said. “We didn’t look past that first-round match, but his opponent did a good job of making Jake get away from his game plan. Either way he still had a heck of a season, and he will use this as fuel to the fire next year — he has a another chance, and lesson learned.”

Nine other Tiger grapplers closed their season two weeks ago at the section tournament, held in North Branch.

Senior Tyler Sitz took fourth place at 126 pounds, winning by fall in the first round over Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson, then winning by decision, 5-3, in the quarterfinals over Hunter Noor of Milaca. Sitz then lost in the semifinals to Aaron Sistrunk of Chisago Lakes, 12-9 before beating Sam Barthel of Princeton by fall in less than a minute.

In the third-place match, Sitz fell in the third period to close his record at 29-16 this season.

Junior Dominic Montgomery took fifth place at 160 pounds. Following a bye in his first round, Montgomery fell to Grand Rapids, then beat Milaca, 5-0. The junior then lost, 13-3, to Tyler Tober of Mora before beating Hibbing’s Cole Rybachek by technical fall for fifth place. Montgomery ended his season at 21-17.

Junior Luke Rands placed eighth at 170 pounds, losing to Princeton by fall, and coming back to beat Hibbing, 4-1. Rands then lost to North Branch’s Alex Bigley to bring his record to 10-20.

Senior Chase Grant placed eighth. The 182-pounder won over his Hibbing opponent in the opening round by fall in 32 seconds, before losing the next two to Grand Rapids and North Branch for a final record of 15-23.

With Grant as the only Rush City senior, Hackenmueller said he was proud of his effort this season.

“Chase wrestled well and, even at the end of the year, continued to get better,” Hackenmueller said. “We just ran out of time with him. I’m sure he’d like to have those two tough losses at the end back, but overall a good year for Chase.”

Junior Grayson Devlin also took eighth on the day. Devlin lost to Chisago Lakes by fall in the first round, but came back to beat Pine City by fall in the third period, before falling to Hibbing’s Devante Jelle.

Seventh-grader Jacob Johnson (106 pounds), eighth-grader Dalton Mielke (120), ninth-grader Jayden Prill (132) and junior Collin Yaritz (220) went 0-2 at the section showing.

Hackenmueller said he was pleased with his first year at the helm of the Rush City/Braham program.

“I don’t think anybody had regrets,” he said. “Everyone saw improvement with their records from the previous year, and next year I expect them to have better records again and a better showing at sections.”

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