By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
ST. PAUL — Click here for a photo gallery of Thursday's quarterfinal action.
It’s a move New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s David Lindell has practiced numerous times in the wrestling room.
He shot in for the double-leg takedown and, when 215-pound Tyler Walsh of Parkers Prairie stood up, Lindell slid his arms up his opponent’s torso and threw him to the mat for the decisive move. The result was a 3-1 overtime win for Lindell in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Class A state wrestling tournament at Xcel Energy Center.
“My practice partner and I have worked on that move a lot,” the No. 1-ranked Lindell said afterward. “I just stayed calm, stuck with my basics and, when the opportunity was there, I took it.”
Lindell moved to the top spot in the rankings halfway through the season and said it’s both a curse and a blessing.
“It definitely puts a target on your back,” he said. “But then again, the target’s there for a reason. It makes you work harder because you know everybody is gunning for you.”
Madelia-Truman/Martin Luther junior Alex Cooling also had a tough match in the Class A quarterfinals, but he pulled away in the third period for a 7-1 decision over Grant Hegge of Southland/Adams at 140 pounds.
“I got a reversal right as time expired in the second period and that gave me some breathing room,” Cooling said. “I felt a lot more comfortable after that.”
Cooling, who went to state in ninth grade with the Madelia-Truman team, and then made it back last year as an individual, will be placing at state for the first time.
“It’s really sweet to be in the semifinals,” he said. “Everybody up here is tough, and to be one of the guys who makes the semis is awesome.”
Maple River freshman Zack Kuhns continued his improbable run through the state tournament. After downing fourth-ranked Mick Roemer of Wabasha-Kellogg 7-1 on Wednesday, he pinned Chris Ortman of Pierz in 5:49.
The unranked Kuhns wrestled up at 112 most of the year and then dropped to 103 for the postseason. He was able to get Ortman on his back with what he called “the 25-cent move.”
“You don’t know what the 25-cent move is, do you?” Kuhns asked a reporter afterward. “It’s too complicated to explain but we practice it and it works.”
When Maple River coach Jeff Soma was asked where he had been hiding Kuhns all year, he replied: “I knew somebody was going to ask me that. He’s been there; he was just wrestling up.”
Le Sueur-Henderson had a great quarterfinal round Wednesday. The Giants had four wrestlers in the Class A bracket and advanced three of them to the semifinals. The winners were Brett Schwartz at 130 pounds, Brett Pfarr at 140 and Justin Willaert at 171.
Also reaching the semifinals was Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial’s Taner Trembley (112). He defeated fourth-ranked Ted Berckes of Canby 5-4.
St. Clair/Loyola’s Chase Levos may have suffered the most heartbreaking loss of the quarterfinals in Class A.
The previously undefeated Levos had a 3-2 lead over No. 1-ranked Christian Skillings of Minneota in their 119-pound match with only six seconds remaining. Skillings attacked out of the neutral position, pushed Levos to the mat at the edge of the circle and was awarded a controversial takedown as time ran out for a 4-3 win.
Still alive in Class A wrestlebacks are: Aaron Bates (112), Adam Bates (145) and Aaron Rose (285) of Sibley East; Levos and Ray Johnson (285) of St. Clair/Loyola; Jake Wirtjes (119) of Blue Earth Area; Adam Cooling (125) of Madelia-Truman/Martin Luther; Ethan Hildebrandt (135) of St. James; Paul Norgren (135) and Cody Tibbetts (160) of LCWM; Sam Lindgren (152) of LSH; and Alex Dreyer (215) of United South Central.