O’Hara gains second place & Telin is sixth in their weight classes
The Tartan High School Titans won the Section 4AAA wrestling title in dramatic fashion to qualify as a team for the Minnesota Class AAA State Wrestling Tournament
In their first match Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Tartan ran into third-ranked Prior Lake, and the Lakers won convincingly by a score of 57-13.
In their second match of the day, the Titans failed once more in the lighter weights and dropped a 39-22 decision to Moorhead.
Prior Lake 57 - Tartan 13
Against the Lakers, the Titans gained the upper hand in only three of the 14 matches and lost seven of those by falls.
“We made it here, but that isn’t good enough. They (Prior Lake) are a good team, but that was no reason for us to put on such a poor showing,” said a disappointed Dan Recchio, Tartan’s head coach. “We didn’t wrestle our best.”
Tartan grappler T.J. O’Hara - who had a good shot at gaining the 182-pound state title, reiterated Recchio’s words. “Our team just did not perform like we could or should.”
O’Hara won his match, 15-5, and picked up four points. He commented, “My match wasn’t tough. The guy a ‘cheap’ wrestler.’”
Before the Titans were able to put any numbers on the board, Prior Lake had built a commanding 35-0 lead.
In doing so, at 106 pounds Nathan Alvarado was pinned in 2:48. Next, Lucas Froemel (113 pounds) was pinned in 0:51. Andrew Johnson (120) was pinned in 3:04. Then Kyle Taylor (126) suffered a pin at 4:58. Robby Olson (138) was defeated on a technical decision.
At (145) Peyton Floyd dropped a 2-3 decision in front of a 0-3 decision over Justin Burg (145).
Then Dion Wallisch (152) gained a pin to give the Titans their first six points. At (160) Nicholas Garcia gave up four points, and at (170) Eli McGeehan gained a 3-2 decision for three points.
At 182, O’Hara picked up his four points on a 15-5 decision for the 13 points the Titans would finish.
There were three matches left. At (195) Nabil Negeye suffered a pin and was followed at (220) by Jake Paulson who was pinned. Jason Telin (285) was the final match and was also pinned.
Moorhead 39 - Tartan 22
The Titans next went up against Section 8AAA champion Moorhead.
Again the Titans fell behind by a large margin in the lower weight classes. The score mounted to 31-0 before the Titans could get on the board.
The wrestler, weights and scores were as follows: Alvarado (106-6-0); Froemel (113-5/11-0); Johnson (120-4/15-0); Taylor (126-3/18-0); Olson (132-6/24-0); Joe Gilson (138-3/27-0); Burg (145-3/30-0); Floyd (152-+4/30-4); Wallisch (160-3/33-4); McGeehan (170-6/39-4); O’Hara (182-+3/39-7); Negeye (195-+6/39-13); Paulson (220-+3/39-16); Telin (285-+6/39-22).
The loss by Tartan in the semifinals of the consolation bracket ended the team’s outstanding season with a record of 21-12.
With eight wrestlers earning individual entries into the Class AAA state tournament in Class AAA, the Titans began those competitions Friday, Feb. 28.
The Tartan wrestlers who competed for individual titles and their weight classes, are as follows: Lucas Froemel 106; Peyton Floyd 138; Justin Burg 145; Dion Wallisch 152; Eli McGeehan 170; T.J. O’Hara 182; Jake Paulson 220; and Jason Telin 285.
All but O’Hara and Telin were eliminated in round one of the individual competitions.
O’Hara went on to win three matches in the individual competition before being defeated in the bout for the championship. The 0-7 loss at 182 pounds meant the silver medal spot for the talented Tartan senior.
Telin won by a fall in the individual competition for the 285-pound championship. He then was pinned by the soon-to-be state champion.
In the wrestle backs, Telin won his first match by a fall. He then eked out a 1-0 victory to advance to the consolation semifinals. Telin followed with two losses, sending him home with sixth-place hardware.
Wally Wakefield can be reached at email@example.com .
Editor's note: This article failed to mention that Tartan senior Elijah McGeehan placed sixth in the Class AAA 170-pound weight division.