by Matthew Davis
Fridley wrestlers will look to build on their recent success at the Section 5AA individual meet in Orono this weekend.
The Tigers (20-4) won the Tri-Metro Conference title on Feb. 11 with seven individual champions, and a couple wrestlers went 2-0 as the Tigers made the semifinals of the Section 5AA team tournament on Saturday, Feb. 18. In addition, another Tigers wrestler goes into the individual section tourney ranked No. 4 in the state.
“We’ve been continuing to wrestle well,” Fridley coach Eric Anderson said.
John Allen (26-2), who ranks No. 4 at 220 pounds for Class 2A, suffered a rare loss at the section team tournament on Feb. 18. Allen pinned Fernando Lorenzo of Minneapolis Edison in nine seconds when the Tigers rolled past the Tommies 78-6, but Allen came up short against Bloomington Kennedy’s Alchan Robbs, ranked No. 6, in a 5-3 decision. Kennedy went on to beat the Tigers 46-16 and finish in second place after Totino-Grace prevailed 31-30 for the championship.
“We wrestled great in the quarterfinals, and we could have wrestled a little better in the semis, but I think our guys learned a lot from that and they’re excited for the individual tournament,” Anderson said.
Allen helped the Tigers win the Tri-Metro Conference title the week before when he claimed first place in 220. Allen pinned Tyler Carns of Minnehaha-DeLaSalle in 40 seconds and then beat Jared Scott of St. Agnes in a technical fall. Allen then pinned Michael Juelich of Brooklyn Center-Concorida Academy in 1:35 to win the title.
Fridley scored 272 points as a team to win the conference title. Trinity School at River Ridge placed second with 180 points.
Gabe Allen also won an individual conference title at 113. He pinned Columbia Heights’ Nick McCoy in 1:39 followed by an 11-2 major decision against St. Agnes’ Isaac Schmidt. Allen then beat BCCA’s Ethan Renstrom 8-6 for the title.
It didn’t go quite as well for Gabe Allen at the section team tourney. He went 1-1 with a pin against Edison’s Jailine Santana in 57 seconds, but Allen got pinned by Kennedy’s Allen Everson in 2:46.
Fridley’s Nic Fite, 138, and Jonathan Arzola, 152, had the only 2-0 marks at team sections. Jack Nguyen, 126, also went 2-0 but one win came by forfeit. He won his lone match 17-10 against Kennedy’s Billy Reineccius.
All three Tigers standouts won individual conference titles the week before. Fite won the 132 title when he pinned Jack Leonard of Minnehaha-DeLaSalle in 4:46. Nguyen won 126 on a pin over Cordrig Willis-Wicks of BCCA at 2:38. Arzola won 152 when he pinned St. Agnes’ Max Cummings in 2:45.
Anthony Jefferson also took home a conference title for the Tigers in 145 when he pinned Collin Hoskins of St. Croix Lutheran at 1:25. Nick Phillips likewise won 170 for Fridley when he beat Erik Snook of St. Croix Lutheran SV-1 3-1. John Nguyen took second place for Fridley at 120 as did Gabe Franklin at 285. John Parks finished third at 182 while Ben ZayZay did so at 160.
Among the Tigers wrestling at individual sections, Miguel Leiva hopes to make a run. After battling injuries all season, he competed at the team section tourney when he lost a major decision to Kennedy’s Eric Lopez.
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