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Facing Strong Mat Foes

12/31/2017, 11:30am CST
By Tom Schardin

The Prior Lake wrestling team had two in the finals in the annual Christmas Tournament in Rochester Dec. 15-16.

Seniors Curtis LeMair and Kenny O'Neil were vying for titles at 145 and 170 pounds, respectively, but came up short. The No. 7-ranked Lakers ended up tied for 11th with No. 4 Albert Lea Area in the team standings out of 35 teams with 126 points.

Second-ranked Anoka won the title with 175.5 points, edging Simley, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, by half of a point. Sixth-ranked Shakopee was a close third (174.5), followed by No. 1 Apple Valley (168.5).

Holmen, Wisconsin was fifth (165.5), followed by Kaukauna, Wisconsin (149), No. 5 Willmar (145.5), Scott West (136.6), No. 8 Owatonna (136) and Kasson-Mantorville (128.5), ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. Scott West is No. 3 in Class 2A.

Up next for the Lakers is the Clash National Duals in Rochester Dec. 29-30. It’s the sixth straight year the Lakers have been invited to compete in the annual duals event, which features some of the top teams in the country, as well as the many of the top programs from all three classes from Minnesota.

Last year, the Lakers won two of six matches at the national duals to finish 15th out of 32 teams. Prior Lake has a 17-13 overall record in its five seasons there.

Meanwhile, Prior Lake went into the Christmas tourney with five of its six ranked wrestlers available. Junior Hunter Koenig, ranked No. 5 at 220 pounds, still hasn't wrestled yet this season, but senior Zach Smith (No. 4, 126) was on the mat for the first time.

O'Neil went into the tourney ranked No. 2 at 170, while LeMair is No. 3 at 138. Senior Theo Smith is No. 6 at 132, while junior Calvin Sund is No. 4 at 182.

O'Neil lost in the title match in a tiebreaker to Zach Glazier of Albert Lea, who is ranked No. 1 at 170. Glazier won 2-1. The match was tied 1-1 after regulation and overtime. O'Neil, the defending state champion at 160 pounds, has lost twice on the season and both times to Glazier.

O'Neil went 5-1 at the tourney, earning two wins by fall.

LeMair went 4-1 at the tourney, earning a couple wins by major decision in the first two rounds. He won a pair of 3-2 decisions over Tim Stapleton of Waconia and Troy Pleski of Forest Lake in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before losing 7-3 in the title match to top-ranked Alex Lloyd of Shakopee.

Prior Lake had three other place-winners. Junior Calvin Sund was third at 182 pounds, while Theo Smith was fifth at 132 and sophomore Cory St. Martin was sixth at 106.

Sund won six of seven matches. He lost in the quarterfinals by a 5-4 decision to Isaac Lahr of Holmen. He followed winning four straight matches to claim third place, beating Lahr in the third-place match 3-2. Sund won his first match by fall and had a win by major decision in the second round.

Theo Smith won five of seven matches over the two days, including two victories by major decision. Smith beat Jake Johnsrud of Albert Lea (No. 6 at 126) 4-3 in the match for fifth place.

Smith lost in the quarterfinals 8-0 to Clay Carlson of Willmar, ranked No. 1 at 138. He followed with a pair of wins, before losing 5-2 to Jake Gilva of Smiley, ranked No. 1 at 132 in Class 2A, in the consolation semifinals.

St. Martin lost his first match and then won five in row to get the medal round. He lost his last two matches, including the match for fifth by fall to Michael Majerus of Zumbrota-Mazeppa, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A. St. Martin won two of his wrestleback matches by fall.

Other Lakers who competed included: junior Carson Raney at 126 (2-2 record), Zach Smith at 138 (2-2 with two falls), sophomore Vincent Mosher at 152 (0-2), sophomore Logan Hennen at 160 (0-2), senior Zachary Wick at 195 (1-2 with one fall), junior Noah Benson at 220 (0-2) and senior Steven Ripoll at heavweight (0-2).

Prior Lake will open 2018 competing in the Tri-City United Invitational Jan. 6 at 9:15 a.m. The Lakers return to South Suburban Conference dual action Jan. 11 at Farmington and are home to New Prague Jan. 12 in a battle of Section 2AAA foes. Both start at 7 p.m.

The Lakers are at Shakopee in SSC dual action Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.

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