Herald and Journal, March 13, 2000

Local wrestlers do well in state tournament

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 Heimerls' 92.

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 heart-breaker 2-0.

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.


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