Underwood and Hirsch advance to state for Austin wrestlers

Published 1:02 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Packer wrestling team had a little bit of a flash-back at the Section 1AAA individual wrestling tournament at Mayo Civic Center Saturday.

Just like last year, Austin’s top two wrestlers — Mike Hirsch and Howie Underwood — both advanced to the state meet, but they both had to do it with second place finishes.

Underwood (27-6 overall) fell behind 2-0 to Owatonna’s Jake Fox in the first period of the 145-pound finals and he was only able to get one escape the rest of the way. Underwood had Fox down for the entire third period, but couldn’t get Fox off his belly.

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“I’m happy I’m going (to state), but I’m not happy I lost,” said Underwood, a senior. “When he was down, I had a couple of things locked up but I couldn’t take him over. That’s what killed me.”

Underwood, who dominated his semifinal match with an 8-0 win over Carter Kortan of Albert Lea, said he is hoping to finish in the top five and medal at state.

Hirsch, who is ranked No. 1 in the Class ‘AAA’, also fell behind 2-0 in the first period of his match against Dalton Henderson of Owatonna. Hirsch (33-2 overall) pulled to within 2-1 and he trailed 4-2 late in the third period. That’s when Henderson, who is ranked fourth in the state, countered one of Hirsch’s shots and pinned him with 18 seconds left in the match.

Henderson (23-2 overall) absorbed a couple of Hirsch’s charges during the match.

“In practice I’m able to do that and no one’s really able to stop that. I’m used to being able to power through,” said Hirsch, who is now making his third trip to state — he took fifth last season.

Hirsch cruised through the semifinals with a 17-2 technical fall over Albert Lea’s Caleb Gaudian in the second period and he’s looking forward to the state meet, which takes place Wednesday through Saturday at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“I’m a lot more focused this year and I’m pretty excited,” Hirsch said. “I’m feeling pretty good.”

Austin just missed having a third-state qualifier when Erick Power jumped out to a 4-0 lead and he almost won with a pin in the first minute of the state qualifying ‘true state’ match, but Faribault’s Marcus Riggle pulled off a reverse with 30 seconds left in the first period and pinned Power with four seconds left.

Power, who settled for third, was one of three freshman to place for the Packers. Devon Felten took fourth at 103 pounds and Brennen Russell was fourth at 112 pounds.

“I’m very proud of our younger guys,” Austin head coach Bill Kinney said. “It’s very easy to be intimidated in this building with the crowd and everything. They wrestled above and beyond my expectations.”

Thomas Herrera had some tough losses at heavyweight for the Packers. In the semifinals, he was tied at one with eventual state qualifier Sam Gaul, but he allowed a late escape to drop the match.

In all, Austin had 11 wrestlers finish at or above their seeded spot.

Dylan Diekmann (130) and Brett Kraemer (215) were fourth, CJ Kirchoff (135) and Alex Amrich (130) finished fifth, and Lucas Akkerman (140), Jerrad Ryks (171) and Herrera (285) finished sixth.


103: Nick Scheffert (Owatonna) pinned Deven Felten Austin (A) (5:30); Felten pinned Trevor Morris (Faribault) (2:37); Carter Williamson (John Marshall) pinned Felten (3:29)

112: Evan Green (O) 11-9 dec. over Brennan Russell (A); Russell 6-2 dec. over Jake Allen (Century); Garrett Wagnsness (AL) 9-1 dec. over Russell

119: Erick Power (A) 4-2 dec. over Nathan Evan (JM); Jake Hanson (Mayo) 18-5 dec. over Power; Marcus Riggle (F) pinned Power (1:56)

125: Trey Hable (AL) pinned Alex Amrich (A) (1:23); Charlie Stellpflug (JM) 6-5 dec. over Amrich; Amrich 9-7 dec. over Kennedy Emerson (Winona)

130: Dylan Diekmann (A) pinned Josh Palmer (F) (1:15); Blake Patton (M) pinned Diekmann (3:04)

135: Brett Meger (O) 5-2 dec. over CJ Kirchoff (A); Kirchoff 11-3 dec. over Jame Dennis (F)

140: Matt Purfeerst (F) 3-1 dec. over Lucas Akkerman (A); Tim Moore (JM) 6-4 dec. over Akkerman

145: Howie Underwood (A) 8-0 dec. over Carter Kortan (AL); Jake Fox (O) 2-1 dec. over Underwood

171: Mat Becker (F) pinned Jerrad Ryks (A) (3:15); Cole Swanson (JM) pinned Ryks (1:45)

189: Mike Hirsch (A) 17-2 tech. fall over Caleb Gaudian (AL); Dalton Henderson (O) pinned Hirsch (5:42)

215: Coyote Kuefner (O) 12-5 dec. over Brett Kraemer (A); Kraemer 5-2 dec. over Caleb Becker (F); Alex Neilsen (AL) 5-1 dec. over Kraemer

285: Sam Gaul (C) 2-1 dec. over Thomas Herrera (A); Hunter Wandersheid (MW) pinned Herrera (1:20)