Austin’s Hirsch headed to state wrestling quarterfinals

Published 11:56 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Austin’s Mike Hirsch advanced to the quarterfinals but Howie Underwood is headed to the wrestlebacks after a loss on the first day of the Class ‘AAA’ state wrestling meet at Excel Energy Center in St. Paul Wednesday.

Hirsch (34-2 overall) cruised to a 16-5 first round win over Sam Crockett of Park Center (26-8 overall) and he will take on Nolan Rial (33-7 overall) of St. Cloud Apollo Thursday.

“I felt prepared and that was the first year that that’s happened. Usually the state thing kind of gets to my head,” Hirsch said.

Austin assistant coach Randy Smith said that Hirsch didn’t show everything he had in the opening match.

“You’re always a little more cautious in the first match at state, and he was kind of playing it safe,” Smith said. “There were a couple of times where we got too aggressive which kind of opened us up and we gave up some points.”

Underwood, a senior, was pinned by Dylan Ness, the top ranked wrestler in Class ‘AAA’ at 145 pounds in the opening round of the state meet.

Ness (41-0 overall), who is from Bloomington Jefferson/Kennedy, pinned Underwood (27-7 overall) 44 seconds into the second period.

Underwood was well aware of Ness’s credentials before the match.

“Right away when I seen the draw I was like, ‘They gotta start seeding this tournament.’ What can you do? You just have to show up and wrestle,” he said. “I knew he threw the half really, really effectively so I was kind of working to stay out of that. I worked the head and got in a couple of shots. Things didn’t pan out but I kept going after him.”