The Minnesota individual state wrestling tournament opened its Class AA competition at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.
North Branch seniors Reid Johnson, Aaron Senne, Tristan Labelle and Seamus Hunter represented the Vikings in St. Paul.
Johnson kicked things off at 132 pounds, but ran into trouble early. Logan Axford of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, ranked No. 10 in the state, defeated Johnson, 6-0, in the opening round. Johnson then fell to the No. 6 wrestler from Zimmerman, Hunter Smith, in wrestle backs, 3-0, to close his high school career.
Johnson fought through a pinched nerve this season, wrestling just half his scheduled matches, to close 2013-14 at 10-8.
Senne came in as the No. 7 wrestler at 145 pounds, and defeated Seoulec Gunvalson of Benilde-St. Magaret’s, 2-0, out of the gates. Senne had a tough draw in the second round, facing top-ranked and eventual champion Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville. Senne lost by technical fall before going on to match up against Simley’s Rodolfo DeLao, who he beat, 6-2. The middleweight ran into No. 5 Aaron Sweeney of Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran next. Senne lost 3-0, bringing his record to 34-10 on the year.
Labelle faced a tight bracket at 182 pounds. The senior faced Brian Bertram of Byron, ranked fifth in the state, and lost by just two points, 5-3. Bertram then ran into the eventual champion, Austin May of Zimmerman, and lost, ending Labelle’s hope of a second chance in wrestle backs. Labelle went 24-12 this year.
At heavyweight, Hunter fell in the first round by fall in the second period to Logan Zaske of Redwood Valley/Cedar Mountain. Hunter suffered the same fate as Labelle when Zaske lost to eventual champion and the top-ranked wrestler in the nation, Sam Stoll of Kasson-Mantorville. Hunter close his season at 26-8.