Foley’s Keith Thell didn’t know if his comeback would last one match or an entire season. That’s how it goes when returning from multiple concussions.
The uncertainty followed Thell all season, but it didn’t stop the 132-pound senior from reaching the Class 2A semifinals of the Minnesota state wrestling tournament on Friday.
Thell beat Perham’s Josh Werner 7-0 in the opening round, and earned an 8-2 decision over Benilde-St. Margaret’s Logan Kass in the quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center. He faces Scottie Bonds from St. Paul Humboldt about 11:15 a.m. today in the semis.
Thell will be joined in the semifinals by two Falcons’ teammates, 120-pound junior Tyler Funk and 182-pound junior Tyler Midas.
“To be honest, at the beginning of the season, my goal was just to finish a match without getting hurt,” Thell said. “I thought I was going to be done wrestling.”
After qualifying for state as a freshman, Thell’s sophomore season ended early because of a concussion. Then another concussion ended his junior season.
Doctors cleared Thell so he could start his senior season, but walking pneumonia knocked him down for another month.
Needless to say, it wasn’t the easiest path to the state semifinals.
“Great story about the fact that he stuck with it and stuck with it,” Foley coach Lyle Freudenberg said. “It’s going to pay off again at the end.”
For Midas, the mats of the state wrestling tournament are a long way from the hardwood of the basketball court. The junior didn’t start wrestling until seventh grade, when a friend who wrestled convinced him to trade his basketball shorts for a wrestling singlet.
“And now here I am,” Midas said minutes after he earned a 9-2 decision over Waconia’s Max Bullock in the quarterfinals.
Midas faces undefeated Grand Rapids senior Jamison Evans in his next match.
Funk held on for a 3-2 win over New Prague’s Griffin Parriot in the quarterfinals. This is Funk’s second state tournament.
Funk next takes on Dylan Connell, a sophomore from Chisago Lakes with a 42-2 record.
Foley finished third in the team competition on Thursday and had five individuals win their first-round matches on Friday.
In the quarterfinals, Tristran Manderfeld lost an 8-3 decision to Blake Miller from Staples-Motley at 126 pounds. Mitch Struffert dropped a 23-8 technical fall to Lance Benick of Totino Grace.
Becker also advanced three wrestlers to the semifinals: Zack Zimmer at 145 pounds, Colton Vekved at 160 pounds and Bobby Lee at 170 pounds.
Albany’s Carter Holthaus made it at 152 pounds.
113 – Blane Tschida (Kimball) dec. Dillon Kubiatowicz (New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva) 5-0, Zach Scott (Holdingford) dec. Conrad Kondos (Breckenridge) 8-4; 120 – Clem Gerads (Holdingford) pinned Devin Dostal (Badger/Greenbush-Middle River) 3:12, Brandon Sullivan (Pierz) dec. Derek Dengerud (Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City) 5-0, James Goman (Trinity) pinned Zach Blonigen (Eden Valley-Watkins) 4:27; 126 – Chris Ortman (Pierz) pinned Cody Peters (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) 5:36, Quinten Berres (Kimball) def. Austin Skillings (Frazee) 5-0; 132 – Evan Woitalla (Pierz) dec. Hunter Sorenson (Frazee) 5-0; 138 – Marcus Hamer (Kimball) major dec. Alex Ossefoort (Pipestone) 13-4; 145 – Cain Renner (Eden Valley-Watkins) dec. Bryce Ortloff (Deer River) 5-2, Trevor Scott (Holdingford) dec. Grant Mueller (Norwood Young America) 4-0; 152 – Zachary Carlson (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) dec. Kyle Gerads (Holdingford) 11-7, Sam McPhail (Pine Island) dec. Austin Peterson (Eden Valley-Watkins) 3-1 (OT), Brad Meyer (Pierz) pinned Chance Oftedahl (St. Clair/Mankato Loyola) 5:14; 160 – Keegan Moore (Jackson County Central) dec. Luke Kuechle (Eden Valley-Watkins) 12-5, Jordon Ruthers (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) pinned Kyle Kolstad (Holdingford) :51, Mitch Lange (Royalton/Upsala) major dec. Daven Staples (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) 12-1; 170 – Darick Vancura (Jackson County Central) pinned Michael Ludwig (Paynesville) 1:40, Jordan Gombos (Holdingford) major dec. Gus Phillips (Blue Earth Area) 15-5; 182 – Travis Wills (Kimball) dec. Alan Bast (Aitkin) 4-0; 195 – Mitch Messman (Holdingford) pinned Jorge Munoz-Pederson (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) 1:42, Manuel Garcia (BOLD) dec. Caleb Burris (Paynesville) 3-1, Nathan Rose (Sibley East) pinned Travis Johnson (Pierz) 1:59; 220 – Cory Wensmann (Royalton/Upsala) dec. Zach Kennedy (Pine Island) 4-3, Lucas Damm (Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City) dec. Ryley Smude (Pierz) 3-2; 285 – Nick Langer (Kenyon-Wanamingo) pinned Curtis Brisk (Pierz) 5:14, Tyler Jenson (Benson) dec. Tim Konz (Kimball) 2-1.
113 – Tschida (Kimball) dec. Scott (Holdingford) 3-1; 120 – Louis Sanders (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) dec. Sullivan (Pierz) 11-2, Goman (Trinity School at River Ridge) tech. fall Clem Gerads (Holdingford) 18-3; 126 – Kyle Drehmel (Goodhue) dec. Ortman (Pierz) 6-5, Tensen (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa) dec. Jason Meyer (Sibley East) 13-6; 132 – Dylan Herman (United South Central) pinned Woitalla (Pierz) 2:33; 138 – Taner Trembley (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) dec. Hamer (Kimball) 3-1; 145 – Tanner Rohlik (Wabaso) dec. Scott (Holdingford) 10-4, Paden Moore (Jackson County) pinned Renner (Eden Valley-Watkins) 4:56; 152 – Garrett Hoffner (Mahnomen) dec. Meyer (Pierz) 5-1; 160 – Adam Cooling (Madelia/Truman) dec. Lange (Royalton/Upsala) 3-2; 170 -Maverick Whitcomb (Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City) dec. Gombos (Holdingford) 7-2; 182 – Will Balow (Lake City) dec. Wills (Kimball) 5-0, Rooney (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa) pinned Kody VanDenEykel (Frazee) 3:31; 195 – Kysten Zierke (Blue Earth) dec. Mesmaan (Holdingford) 5-3 (OT); 220 – Christopher Zimmer (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis) dec. Wensmaan (Royalton/Upsala) 8-4.
113 – Scott (Holdingford) maj. dec. Dillon Kubiatowicz (New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva) 15-2; 120 – Sullivan (Pierz) dec. Mitchell Lundeen (Fertile-Beltrami) 8-2, Blonigen (Eden Valley-Watkins) tech fall Clem Gerads (Holdingford) 16-1 (Gerads eliminated); 126 – Ortman (Pierz) dec. Cameron Henning (Jackson County Central) 2-0; 132 – Alex Engler (Minneota) dec. Woitalla (Pierz) 6-0 (Woitalla eliminated); 138 – Hamer (Kimball) pinned Dylan Boettcher (Mankato Loyola) 4:10; 145 – Renner (Eden Valley-Watkins) dec. Ryan Meeker (Chatfield) 3-0, Scott (Holdingford) dec. Royal Crow (West Central Area) 8-4; 152 – Brady Bos (Pipestone) dec. Meyer (Pierz) 7-4 (Myer eliminated), Peterson (Eden Valley-Watkins) maj. dec. Zack Gleiter (St. James) 9-1, Luke Norland (Jackson County Central) dec. Kyle Gerads (Holdingford) 7-0 (Gerads eliminated) ; 160 – Austin Maanum (Border West) pinned Kostad (Holdingford) 4:31 (Kostad eliminated), Alex Jackson (Kenyon-Wanamingo) dec. Kuechle (Eden Valley-Watkins) 7-3 (Kuechle eliminated), Alex Hatch (BOLD) maj. ded. Lange (Royalton/Upsala) 9-1 (Lange eliminated); 170 – Gombos (Holdingford) tech. fall Derek Nordick (Breckenridge-Campbell/Tintah) 16-0, Ludwig (Paynesville) dec. Isaac Novak (Aitkin) 8-2; 182 – Wills (Kimball) dec. Devin Wolle (St. James) 12-6; 195 – Mesmaan (Holdingford) dec. Jake Denn (Madelia/Truman) 6-3, Justin Viss (Chatfield) dec. Johnson (Pierz) 9-2 (Johnson eliminated); 220 – Smude (Pierz) pinned Tyler Schlosser (Parkers Prairie) 4:59, Kyle Johnson (Barnesville) tech. fall. Wensmaan (Royalton/Upsala) 19-3 (Wensmann eliminated); 285 – Brisk (Pierz) dec. Max Carlson (New York Mills) 5-1.
106 – Trevor Schultz (Fairmont/Martin County West) tech fall Nate Carlson (Annandale/Maple Lake) 20-4; 113 – David Flynn (Scott West) dec. Ray Hoffman (Milaca) 2-0, Kyle Schoenecker (Chisago Lakes) dec. Tanner Vassar (Annandale/Maple Lake) 12-8; 120 – Tyler Funk (Foley) dec. Ryan Erdman (Kasson-Mantorville) 5-0; 126 – Tristan Manderfeld (Foley) dec. Jack Bourgeois (Monticello) 11-4; 132 – Joey Curtis (Milaca) dec. Austin Hjelle (Thief River Falls) 10-3, Keith Thell (Foley) dec. Josh Werner (Perham) 7-0; 138 – Brett Stolarzyk (Stewartville) pinned Randy Jenson (Foley) 3:21; 145 – Zack Zimmer (Becker) dec. Keith Abraham (Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley) 9-3, Jordan Hanan (Annandale/Maple Lake) pinned Zain Hunter (Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson) 3:43; 152 – Carter Holthaus (Albany) tech fall Mitch Splittstoesser (St. Croix Lutheran) 16-0, Walker Thiele (Totino-Grace) dec. Eric Dudek (Becker) 7-6; 160 – Colton Vekved (Becker) dec. Carter Focht (Mahtomedi) 8-2; 170 – Bobby Lee (Becker) pinned Austin Weidner (Milaca) 3:42, Isaac Florell (Totino-Grace) dec. Luke Kelvington (Foley) 3-1; 182 – Tyler Midas (Foley) major dec. Jordan Staab (Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley) 11-2; 195 – Mitch Struffert (Foley) dec. Justin Miest (Cannon Falls) 4-2; 220 – Justin Filk (Hutchinson) dec. Mitch Keeler (Foley) 6-0; 285 – Sam Stoll (Kasson-Mantorville) pinned Brandon Merton (Milaca) 1:09, Zach Mahan (Orono) dec. Cameron Svihla (Foley) 6-5.
120 pounds – Funk (Foley) dec. Griffin Parriot (New Prague) 3-2; 126 – Blake Miller (Staples-Motley) dec. Manderfeld (Foley) 8-3; 132 – Keith Thell (Foley) dec. Logan Kass (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) 8-2; Jake Weierke (Scott West) dec. Curtis (Milaca) 10-8 (3OT); 145 – Mack Short (Simley) dec. Jordan Hanan (Annandale/Maple Lake) 8-3; Zimmer (Becker) dec. Levi Balleck (Hibbing) 10-7; 152 – Carter Holthaus (Albany) dec. Lucas Roe (Grand Meadow/Leroy-Ostrander) 5-3; 160 – Vekved (Becker) dec. Garth Ochsendorf (Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle) 7-3; 170 – Lee (Becker) dec. Miles Hammerlund (Delano) 11-7); 182 – Midas (Foley) dec. Max Bullock (Waconia) 9-2; 195 – Lance Benick (Totino-Grace) tech. fall over Struffert (Foley) 23-8.
106 – Paul Fitterer (Cannon Falls) tech. fall Carlson (Annandale/Maple Lake) 15-0 (Carlson eliminated); 113 – Jakob Stageberg (New London-Spicer) dec. Hoffman (Milaca) 8-1 (Hoffman eliminated); 126 – Curtis (Milaca) dec. Riley Roth (Marshall/Lakeview) 9-4; 138 – Zach Baker (Detroit Lakes) dec. Jenson (Foley) 8-1 (Jenson eliminated); 145 – Hanan (Annandale/Maple Lake) pinned Eli Dooyema (Luverne) 2:21; 170 – Miles Hammerlund (Delano) dec. Weidner (Milaca) 6-1 (Weidner eliminated); 195 – Struffert (Foley) dec. Mathew Pepper (UCB) 7-3 (OT); 285 – Merton (Milaca) dec. Zach Mahan (Orono) 5-3.
106 – Jack Bergeland (Centennial) dec. Peter Nelson (St. Cloud Apollo) 8-7 (OT); 113 – Maolu Woiwor (Apple Valley) pinned Taylor Rau (Sauk Rapids) 5:36; 120 – Ty Johnson (Woodbury) major dec. Kory Keske (Sauk Rapids) 17-5; 132 – Austin Miley (Willmar) dec. Austin Walz (Sauk Rapids) 5-3; 138 – Mitch Bengtson (St. Cloud Apollo) pinned Estevan Navarro (Willmar) 1:51, Cole Sladek (St. Michael-Albertville) dec. Connor Scherping (Little Falls) 9-4; 145 – Grant Nehring (St. Cloud Apollo) pinned Kyler Swanson (Rogers) 1:43; 152 – Garrett Beaman (Henry Sibley) pinned Chris Keske (Sauk Rapids) 4:27; 170 – Sam Hinsch (Rochester Mayo) dec. Tyler Gastecki (Little Falls) 7-2; 182 – Rylee Streifel (Prior Lake) dec. Daniel Vitale (Sartell) 3-0, David Johnson (Apple Valley) tech fall Joe Reis (Little Falls) 23-7; 195 – Justice Davis (Centennial) dec. Austin Klaverkamp (St. Cloud Tech) 3-1; 220 – Bryce Kirchner (St. Cloud Apollo) dec. Adam Treptau (Buffalo) 9-3; 285 – Luis Pinto (Prior Lake) dec. Connor Swanson (Little Falls) 3-2, Jerrad Nieland (St. Cloud Tech) major dec. Jacob Kunkel (Albert Lea) 9-0.
138 – Bengtson (St. Cloud Apollo) dec. Lucas Hansen (Albert Lea) 13-5; 145 – Nehring (St. Cloud Tech) dec. Shamar Williams (Lakeville South) 7-4; 220 – Kirchner (St. Cloud Apollo) dec. George Weege (Winona) 8-6; 285 – Michael Burckhardt (Coon Rapids) dec. Nieland (St. Cloud Tech) 14-8.
113 – Trevor Westerlund (Albert Lea) pinned Rau (Sauk Rapids) :24 (Rau eliminated); 138 – Weston Droegmueller (Wayzata) tech. fall Scherping (Little Falls) 15-0 (Scherping eliminated); 170 – Tommy Longendyke (White Bear Lake) maj. dec. Gastecki (Little Falls) 11-1 (Gastecki eliminated); 182 – LaQuan Wallace (Champlin Park) maj. dec. Reis (Little Falls) 17-9 (Reis eliminated); 285 – Nieland (St. Cloud Tech) pinned Hoffman (Rocori) :50 (Hoffman eliminated).