Tom's Pick: Experienced Falcons take on state meet newcomers

Tom's Pick: Experienced Falcons take on state meet newcomers

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Tom's Pick: Experienced Falcons take on state meet newcomers

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ST. PAUL

The prep wrestling world converges at the Xcel Energy Center for its annual state competition and once again Central Minnesota will be represented.

The Foley Falcons have earned the No. 2 seed in the Class 2A team tournament and will wrestle Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backes at 11 a.m. Thursday.

It’s one of three matches involving area teams. Milaca faces No. 3 Scott West in Class 2A, also at 11 a.m.

In Class A, Pierz wrestles No. 3 Chatfield at 9 a.m.

Competition continues throughout the day, with the state championship matches in all three classes scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

Friday and Saturday is filled with the individual competition.

Foley is 25-3 and making its 21 state tournament appearance since 1979. In that time, the Falcons have won state championships in 1989, ’93 and ’94 and taken second in 2009 and ’10.

It’s a whole new deal for Pequot Lakes/PR-B. The Road Crew (yes, that’s their nickname) is 18-4 and coming off an excellent Section 8-2A tournament.

Pequot Lakes/PR-B was seeded fourth, but upset No. 1 Perham in the semifinals and No. 2 Detroit Lakes in the championship to advance.

The Road Crew have five state-ranked wrestlers, starting at 106 pounds where senior Anthony Philipson is ranked second.

Also ranked from Pequot Lakes/PR-B, No. 7 Triston Rubner (sr., 138), No. 10 Nick Gravdahl (jr., 152), No. 10 Justin Mackenthun (sr., 182) and No. 5 Jared Adkins (jr., 285).

Foley has another stacked team with six state-ranked wrestlers: No. 3 Tyler Funk (sr., 126), No. 3 Carter Nielsen (jr. 152), No. 8 Luke Kelvington (sr., 170), No. 7 Tyler Midas (sr., 182), No. 6 Mitch Struffert (sr., 195) and No. 9 Mitch Keeler (sr., 220).

Funk and Struffert were state place-finishers last year when the Falcons finished third in the state. Funk was second at 126 and Struffer was sixth at 195.

It should be a good first-round match.

Foley is in a bracket with Milaca and Scott West. The semifinal is set for 1 p.m. Simley is No. 1, Totino-Grace is fourth and Kasson-Mantorville is fifth.

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