LP/HTW wrestlers Eckstein and Halverson place at state
By John Halverson
LP/HT Wrestling Coach
Two Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Winsted wrestlers, Josh
Eckstein and Alek Halverson, competed in the state wrestling tournaments
at the Target Center, Minneapolis. Eckstein earned third place at 160 pounds
with a 4-1 record. Halverson placed fourth at 119 pounds.
In first round competition, Eckstein pinned Cary Leibeg
of Medford in 3:59. He went on to decision Shane Frieborg of Belview-Danube-Renville-Sacred
Heart 10-6 in the second round.
Eckstein faced the eventual state champion, Chris Young
of Pierz, in the semi-finals. The Pierz wrestler came into the semis 35-0,
while Josh came in with a 36-0 record. Many people around the Target Center
looked to this match as a finals match had the boys been in opposite brackets.
Eckstein lost a hard-fought 8-1 decision.
In the consolation brackets, Eckstein faced 34-2 Matt Shea
of Dover-Eyota, pinning Shea in 4:12 for his 20th pin of the year.
Eckstein went up against Ryan Stoks of Canby in the third
place match. He fell behind early, 3-0, but rebounded in the third period
for a 4-3 victory. Eckstein finishes his senior year 38-1 with 20 pins.
During his career at Lester Prairie, Eckstein had 164 wins,
which is second all-time at the school. Brian Heimerl has 181 wins to top
the record book. A career total of 76 pins also puts Eckstein second behind
Eckstein had four state tournament trips in his career,
placing third this year, and second at 160 pounds as a junior. He was also
named All-state by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) both years.
Alek Halverson defeated Waylon Rudenick of Wabasso 8-6
in the first round. He went on to defeat Tony Feuchtenberger of St. James
6-2 to advance to the semi-finals.
In the semis, Halverson jumped to a 6-3 lead over last
year's state runner-up, Jake Anderson of Pelican Rapids. Anderson showed
why he was 32-1, as he came back for a 12-6 victory.
In the consolation brackets, Halverson decisioned Ryan
Peterson, a 37-2 senior from Adrian. He went on to lose 14-2 to Jeremy Sogge
of Paynesville in the consolation finals.
Halverson finished his senior year 37-2 with 14 pins. In
his career at Lester Prairie, Halverson went to the state tournaments four
times, placing fourth this year and sixth as a sophomore. Both years, Halverson
was named Honorable Mention All-state by the MSHSL.
Halverson had a career 140 wins, which is third all-time
behind Eckstein and Heimerl. He also had 64 career pins, which is fourth
all-time at Lester Prairie.
Salonek places at state tournament for HLWW
By Jeff Granrud
HLWW Wrestling Coach
The Laker state qualifiers, Pat Salonek and Joey Graczyk,
made the trip to Minneapolis to wrestle in the state tournament, March 1.
Salonek placed sixth in Class A 103 pounds. At 189 pounds, Graczyk wrestled
tough, but didn't place.
Salonek, the first of the Laker wrestlers, stepped onto
the mat for a match against Byran Pietig from BOLD. Salonek wrestled a good
match winning a 6-2 decision.
Later during the round, fellow teammate Graczyk wrestled
James Pease from Martin County West. Graczyk was down 2-1 at the end of
the first period. By the end of the match, Graczyk had outscored his opponent
and won 13-2.
Quarterfinals found both wrestlers against tough competition.
Salonek lost a tough match to Darren Oswald from Frazee by a 4-2 score.
Graczyk also lost a close match to John Wheelock from JWP 9-2. Wheelock
went on to place fourth.
Salonek faced Dustin Schneeberger from West Central to
"stay alive" in the tournament. Salonek won a close 5-0 match.
Graczyk was also wrestling to stay alive. He wrestled a
tough match, but lost a 7-3 decision to Blake Schmieg from Ortonville.
Salonek had a rematch with Garett Sowman from Rush City.
Salonek beat Sowman, advancing to a place-determining match against Chris
Werth of St. James.
Salonek wrestled Werth and lost a close-fought match by
a score of 9-3. Werth went on to place third.
For fifth place, Salonek found himself facing Oswald from
Frazee again. This time the match was even tougher than before. The score
was tied at 0-0 at the end of the first and second periods. With 15 seconds
left, Salonek lost his grip on Oswald giving up a reversal and losing a
Graczyk and Salonek wrestled very tough against equally
tough competition. Both have also set their sights on returning to the state
tournament next year, and doing better than this year.