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Five Bulldog wrestlers win Ellsworth titles

ELLSWORTH – “It was a great day for Boyceville wrestling,” said Boyceville head coach Jamie Olson in summarizing the Bulldogs’ opening performance of the 2014-15 season.

Five Boyceville wrestlers won individual championships at the annual Ellsworth tournament held Saturday December 6.

Although the Bulldogs fell short of the team goal with a third-place finish in the 10-school meet, Olson was elated with his wrestlers individual efforts and performances as 11 of the varsity’s 14 wrestlers placed in the top six.

“We came up short of our goal,” noted Olson. “But I was very pleased with the overall performance of the team.”

“Our kids weren’t satisfied with taking third and our weaknesses were exploited in a few areas,” continued Olson. “But when you take home five titles in this caliber of a tournament, you know you did some things right.”

Boyceville, behind the tournament high five titlists, finished just 5.5 points shy of host and runner-up Ellsworth – 171.5 to 177.0. Defending D3 state runner-up Spring Valley/Elmwood topped the team standings with 199.5 points and a pair of champions.

Olson was especially pleased with the five freshman that completed for Boyceville last Saturday as four of them placed including championships by Dyllon Johnson at 106 pounds and Garret Joles at 170 pounds.

Joles was so impressive in his 3-0 march to the title, that included a fall and a 13-2 major decision in the championship match, that he was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler in just his first high school tournament.

“What an achievement for a freshman at 170 pounds,” Olson said of Joles’ award.

Dyllon Johnson looks to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Micah, who won the 138-pound state championship this past February as a freshman. Johnson also went a perfect 3-0 on the day to claim gold.

Speaking of Micah Johnson, the sophomore finished the day atop the 152-pound class while seniors Austin Wolfe and Logan McAbee-Thomas captured championships at 113 and 182 pounds respectively.

Boyceville added a pair of fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes to complement its five titles.

Seniors Tyler Stroo (132) and Alex Lovett (195) both placed fourth; sophomore James Palmer  finished fifth at 126 pounds as did freshman Justin Malean wrestling at 145; Cody Frederick, another of the freshmen quintet, and senior Jake Erickson finished sixth at 138 and 285 respectively.

Garrett Joles opened his high school career with a bang as he registered a pin over Spring Valley/Elmwood’s Quinton Elliot in 3:59. He followed that up with a 5-2 semifinal win over Unity senior Tevin Anderson, who posted a 43-8 record a season ago. In the  170-pound championship, Joles dominated Logan VanTassel of Sparta en route to a 13-2 major decision and the title.

Micah Johnson kick off his sophomore campaign with a top finish at 152 pounds. After receiving a first round bye as the weight’s top-ranked wrestler, Micah Johnson needed just 1:14 to stick semifinal opponent Cole Atkinson of Lake City, MN. In the finals, Johnson faced Ellsworth sophomore Anders Lantz, an accomplished wrestler in his own right after a 41-15 freshman year, and prevailed 8-3.

Senior and returning state place winner Austin Wolfe returned to the 113-pound field and struck gold. Wolfe opened with a first period pin (1:08) of Prescott Blake Atherton and gained a spot in the finals with a 5-0 shutout of Ellsworth’s Owen Matzek. In the championship, Wolfe faced Andrew Webb of Spring Valley/Elmwood and prevailed 1-0 to take the title.

Fellow senior Logan McAbee-Thomas needed just 1:57 seconds to win his first two matches  at 182 pounds. It took McAbee-Thomas all of 47 seconds  to stick Cadott’s Ethan Haider in the opening round. He then followed it up with another first-period pin in the semifinals as he finished off Ryan Asher of Spring Valley/Elmwood in 1:10. McAbee-Thomas’ domination continued in the finals where he scored  a 12-3 majored decision over Lake City’s Ryan Hanson.

The Bulldogs’ final title came from its lightest wrestler – freshman Dyllon Johnson, who scored a pin against Prescott’s Ethan Tulip in the first round and then beat Matt Peterson 11-4 in the semis before taking a 4-0 decision against Ellsworth senior Andrew Swanson in the 106-pound title match.

Senior Tyler Stroo finished 2-2 on the day and with a fourth place finish at 132 pounds. Stroo’s two wins included a second-period pin and a 14-1 major decision.

Alex Lovett also finished fourth. The senior won his opening match at 195 pounds before losing a pair of two-point decisions.

James Palmer and Justin Malean both finished the day at 2-1 and in fifth place. Palmer dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 decision to Seth Schlegel of Spring Valley in the opening round at 126 but recovered to win his next two matches by fall and technical fall (19-0). Like Palmer, Justin Malean lost his opening match but rebounded nicely with 9-2 and 8-3 decisions to take fifth at 145 pounds.

Freshman Cody Frederick split his four matches to finish sixth at 138 pounds while senior Jake Erickson went 1-2 at heavyweight and finished sixth.

“Justin Malean and Cody Frederick came back and placed after drawing a state runner-up and a third-place finished in the first round,” said Olson. “That was impressive.”

Brock Swenson (120), Jordan Morse (160), and Noah Novotney (220) competed hard but did not place.

“Brock Swenson went 2-2 and wrestled well as did Jordan Morse,” said Olson. “Freshman Noah Novotney gave a gritty performance filling in for an injured Jake Lake.”

The Bulldogs hosted Clear Lake in the home opener Tuesday and will be on the road again this Saturday, Dec. 13 when they travel to Chula Vista Resort to compete in the Dells Duals.

While the varsity was in Ellsworth, Boyceville’s JV wrestlers traveled to Melrose-Mindoro. Zach Smith and Alec Schaffer won titles while Tyler Krueger, Dylan Lamm, and Jerod Nelson finished as runners-up. Brandon Hakanson was third and Tanner Anderson finished fourth.