Rebel quartet qualifies for state

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2003

ROCHESTER -- Southland wrestling coach Bill Feuchtenberger likes to be right every now and then, but on Saturday he wished his on-target prediction would have been wrong.

Feuchtenberger said during the week previous to the Section 1A wrestling tournament that his team would qualify four wrestlers for the individual state meet. Unfortunately he was right, and two seeded Southland wrestlers did not meet their goals of advancing to state in Saturday's section finals at the Mayo Civic Center.

"This is the best Southland has ever wrestled in the section tournament," Feuchtenberger said. "You couldn't get the matches any closer, and that's our losses. What more can you ask from them, they gave it all they had."

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Three seniors and a sophomore will be making the trip to state for Southland -- the most in any one year in school history. Top-seeded senior Joe Klaehn was upset in the 135-pound semifinals by unseeded Kurtis Munsch of St. Charles, 6-2, and junior No. 3 seed Isaac Klaehn lost his 130-pound true second wrestleback match on a last-second takedown to second-ranked Tyler Ties, 6-4.

Senior 160-pounder Adam Landherr hopes to bring home Southland's first state title after finishing runner-up at 152 last season. Landherr is ranked atop the Class A field.

"This one's to win it," Landherr said of his final trip to state. "I'm feeling good about it. I'm feeling great, and that's the first time I can say that in a while."

Landherr (38-1) battled injury and illness three of his last four years during the postseason, but by not playing football this fall he kept his health all the way through the wrestling season.

He rolled through to the finals, pinning a pair of opponents en route to the last section match. He decisioned Tim O'Connor of Goodhue 7-4, but maintained control the entire match.

"You're a little nervous until you get on the mat, then it's all the same once you get out there," Landherr said. "Joe's loss is real tough, seeing him lose like that is tough. He's worked for (state) a long time, it's too bad he couldn't make it."

True seconds

Three Rebel wrestlers won their true second wrestleback matches. Seniors Zach Stratton (112) and Pete Churchill (14), and sophomore Lucas Smith (152) each qualified for state with do-or-die victories Saturday night.

Stratton reached the championship finals before falling in overtime to third-ranked Dan Gray of Dover-Eyota, 3-1. Stratton eeked out a 6-5 decision over Hayfield eighth-grader Danny West in the second-place match.

Churchill also advanced to the finals, losing a 2-0 decision to Pine Island's Chris McPhail. Churchill turned it around with a 3-1 win for true second over Lewiston-Altura's Titan Haag.

Feuchtenberger was glad that Smith decided to prove him right. Feuchtenberger also said that Lucas Smith would be the sleeper of the tournament, and his double-overtime victory for true second proved it true. Smith held down Tony O'Reilly of Goodhue for 30 seconds, scoring the decision to advance to state.

Smith lost a 7-5 decision to John Clark of Wabasha-Kellogg in the quarterfinals before rattling off five straight triumphs to make it to state. He got revenge on Clark with a 2-0 victory in the consolation finals.

Gaining experience

Freshman Dan Klingfus continued to make a name for himself. The 103-pounder was seeded fourth and finished there after a consolation loss to third-seeded Ryan Johnson of Dover-Eyota, 3-0. Klingfus finished the season with a 29-12 record, including a 2-2 effort in the section meet.

Sophomore Corey Mees made his way to fifth place at 119, adding to Southland's strong team effort. He defeated Hayfield's Josh Evans in the fifth-place match Saturday afternoon by an 8-1 decision.

Fellow sophomore Scott Roser went 1-2 in the 125-pound bracket, getting a pin in the consolation rounds for his first postseason win. Freshman Chris Coffman, at 145, went 0-2 and did not place, while Kirk Felten went 1-2 at 171 with a pin for his only win. Junior 189-pounder Mike Zillgitt was also defeated twice.