By PATRICK SLACK
Five area wrestlers finished in the top six in the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, March 2 – 3, bringing home medals.
Holdingford senior Mike Jarnot was the top place-winner, finishing third at 138 pounds in Class A.
Little Falls senior Dillon Kifer and Pierz senior Nathan Tomala each earned fifth place while Royalton-Upsala senior Andy Poster and Holdingford freshman Zach Scott each took sixth.
Jarnot racked up five bonus-point victories at the tournament, including an 11-1 major decision in his third-place bout to avenge his only loss of the season in the quarterfinals.
After drawing the top-ranked and eventual runner-up in the opening round, Kifer battled his way through the wrestlebacks with a fall and a 4-2 decision to clinch a top-six finish.
Following a loss, Kifer prevailed 10-8 in the final match of his career to seize fifth at 138 in Class AAA.
Tomala needed some last-second heroics to end his career with a win, reversing his opponent in the final seconds to win 5-4 in the fifth-place match at 170 in Class A.
The win came against the opponent who topped Tomala in the first round.
Poster overcame an injury to win his first two matches and reach the semifinals at 126 in Class A, the only area wrestler to do so.
Scott was the only underclassman to place, picking up three decisions by four points or less en route to earning sixth place.
Little Falls senior Frank Wilczek earned a quick fall in his first-round match at 120 in Class AAA, but had to injury default to the eventual runner-up in the quarterfinals.
Royalton-Upsala sophomore Mitch Lange won two matches but came up just short of placing at 160 in Class A.
Little Falls junior Connor Scherping and Pierz senior Dustin Waytashek and sophomore Chris Ortman each won one match during the tournament.
Also competing in the tournament were Pierz senior Alex Julich, juniors Brad Meyer and Nick Lochner, sophomore Ryley Smude and eighth grader Kolton Eischens, Holdingford junior Adam Lane and sophomores Kyle Gerads and Mitch Messman and Royalton-Upsala junior Cory Wensmann.
106 A: Zach Scott (Holdingford), sixth
126 A: Andy Poster (Royalton-Upsala), sixth
138 A: Mike Jarnot (Holdingford), third
138 AAA: Dillon Kifer (Little Falls), fifth
170 A: Nathan Tomala (Pierz), sixth