ST. PAUL – It was a long, difficult, exciting and sometimes exasperating day for the Foley Falcons at the Xcel Energy Center.
They hung tough, fought through losing a pair of wrestlers to skin conditions, beat their best rival and almost came away with a consolation final trophy.
Instead, the Falcons settled for sixth.
They lost 30-26 to Perham in the Class 2A final after beating Milaca 33-30 in the consolation semifinals. That came after a 42-12 pasting by No. 2 Albert Lea in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a great year,” said Foley head coach Scott Gorecki, who searched for a way to sum up the day. “I can’t complain at all.
“We got some good experience for our young guys and our seniors wrestled really well. It was a great team effort.”
The entire team competition wrapped up Thursday, with finals in all three classes ending the evening.
The individual portion of the tournament commences at 9 a.m. Friday. There are 60 wrestlers from the Times’ area vying for titles in one of the 14 weight classes in three divisions.
The tournament concludes with the individual finals, set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
Foley (27-7) brought one of its youngest teams to state Thursday, with five seniors on the varsity roster and only four of them wrestling.
Captain Brandon Jackson was one of them. The 160-pounder didn’t pass his skin check and was disqualified for the tournament. So was Mitch Rothfork.
“When we found out, we were crushed,” Foley senior 152-pounder Nathan Goulet said. “I was crushed for (Jackson), too.
“He lives and sleeps for wrestling. He is all about wrestling all the time. He’s a captain for our team, too. It’s too bad.”
Milaca (24-10) was without key 220-pounder Colton Sailor, who also failed the skin check.
“Milaca had the same thing happen and that’s unfortunate for both of us,” Gorecki said.
The Falcons overcame the lineup losses to beat the Wolves, their good rivals to the east. Milaca lost to No. 3 Scott West 46-23 in the quarterfinals.
The Foley-Milaca matchup reminiscent of their state quarterfinal match in 2008. Milaca won that won, upsetting a higher-ranked Falcon squad.
Perham proved to be equally challenging.
The Falcons pulled off some early upsets, at least on paper. Noah Lefebvre beat Ben Nelson 11-5 at 120. Nelson’s a state entrant. Lefebvre came into the tournament 19-19.
At 132, Foley’s Taylor Jurek beat Chase Curtis, another state entrant, 6-5.
“We pulled through with some big wins,” said Foley senior 170-pounder Carter Nielsen, who maybe had the match of the consolation final.
Nielsen, ranked No. 1 in the state, beat fifth-ranked Patrick Glynn by fall in 45 seconds. It gave Foley a 23-21 lead.
But the Yellowjackets’ Cole Schmitz beat Spencer Elwell 4-3 with a last-second takedown to put Perham (27-4) up 24-23.
The Falcons weren’t through. Jon Olson, a senior who entered the day with a 19-19 record, beat Perham’s William Parks, 1-0. Parks was a senior with a 33-3 record.
Then, freshman Saylor Schmit stunned junior Jesse Klatt, another state entrant, 4-1 in triple overtime. That cut Perham’s lead to 27-26.
The Yellowjackets prevailed at 285. Jesse Bucholz, another state entrant, beat Tryston Bemboom 7-1.
“We had some big wins that kept us in the match,” Gorecki said. “But give credit to Perham.
“They’re a great team that’s solid throughout. We almost pulled it off, even with a couple guys out.”
But not quite.
Follow Tom Elliott on Twitter @sctimestom or call 259-3661.
State team results
(at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul)
No. 2 Frazee 32, Pierz 23
No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa 32, West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville 18
No. 1 Minneota 55, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 16
No. 5 Jackson County Central 34, No. 4 Lake Crystal/Wellcome Memorial Area 35-34
No. 3 Mazeppa-Zumbrota 33, No. 2 Frazee 25
No. 1 Minneota 49, No. 5 Jackson County Central 23
West Central Area 38, Pierz 28
No. 4 Lake Crystal/Wellcome Memorial 45, A-C-GC 16
No.4 Lake Crystal/Wellcome Memorial 40, West Central 17
No. 5 Jackson County Central 40, No. 2 Frazee 31
No. 1 Minneota vs. No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa
No. 2 Albert Lea 42, Foley 12
No. 3 Scott West 46, Milaca 23
No. 1 Simley 39, Worthington 21
No. 4 Totino-Grace 34, No. 5 Perham 31
No. 2 Albert Lea 39, No. 3 Scott West 21
No.1 Simley 45, No. 4 Totino-Grace 18
Foley 33, Milaca 30
No. 5 Perham 33, Worthington 26
No. 5 Perham 30, Foley 26
No. 3 Scott West 42, No. 4 Totino-Grace 31
No. 1 Simley vs. No. 2 Albert Lea
No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville 53, Moorhead 12
No. 3 Willmar 38, Centennial 24
No. 1 Apple Valley 62, White Bear Lake Area 6
No. 5 Prior Lake 36, No. 4 Farmington 25
No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville 34, No. 3 Willmar 18
No. 1 Apple Valley 40, No. 5 Prior Lake 19
Moorhead 38, Centennial 27
No. 4 Farmington 38, White Bear Lake 26
Moorhead 33, No. 4 Farmington 29
No. 5 Prior Lake 46, No. 3 Willmar 20
No. 1 Apple Valley vs. No. 2 Albert Lea