By Gary Larson
Mille Lacs County Times
Milaca’s wrestling team will begin its bid to defend its title at the Farmington Tiger Duals Saturday when it faces Lake City in the quarterfinals of the eight-team meet at 9 a.m.
“Lake City has individuals ranked at 152 pounds and 160,” said Milaca Coach Randy Zimmer. “It appears to be a pretty solid team.”
Other quarterfinal matches at 9 a.m., have Farmington facing Park Cottage Grove, Lakeville North meeting Paynesville and Northfield going against Chatfield.
Milaca defeated Paynesville in the finals last year.
“It looks to be a balanced field of teams,” said Zimmer. “Lakeville North had a very good showing at the Rumble in the Red tourney last week and Farmington is on a five-match winning streak.
“And, Paynesville has a solid program and always puts a good team on the mat. We’re looking for some tough matches.”
The semifinal matches and consolation semifinals are at 10:30 a.m., with the championship and place matches at 12:30 p.m.
The Wolves boosted their dual-meet record to 14-3 by defeating a short-handed Cloquet team 80-0 Thursday, Dec. 29, at Cloquet. Milaca received six forfeit victories.
Senior Joe Moscho at 126, senior Chris Newgard at 132, junior Jonah Gahm at 138, junior Jon Ladehoff at 160 and sophomore Brandon Merten at 220 scored pins.
Ninth-grader Hunter Noor at 113 and junior Joey Curtis at 120 won with technical falls while sophomore Ray Hoffman at 106 won a major decision.
Milaca is ranked No. 7 in the latest Class AA ratings by The Guillotine magazine. Simley, the defending Class AA state champion is No. 1, followed by Scott West and Foley.
Individually, Curtis is ranked No. 6 at 120 while Gahm is ranked No. 3 at 132 and senior Justin Ladehoff is No. 2 at 195. Ladehoff will see his first action of the season Saturday after being suspended for a rules violation.