By gary larson
Mille Lacs County Times
Milaca travels to Foley tonight (Jan. 20) for the annual wrestling showdown between the Wolves and Falcons at 7:30.
Oh, you already knew that, didn’t you?
That information isn’t a news flash for Milaca and Foley wrestling fans, along with a lot of other area fans. They’ve had that date in mind since the 2011-2012 schedules were released.
“It happens every season,” said Milaca Coach Randy Zimmer. “The first thing people want to know is when we’re wrestling Foley.”
“Both teams have a lot of big matches and big tournaments during the season,” said Foley Coach Lyle Freudenberg. “This is the one that really gets the fans, wrestlers, and the coaches, pumped up. And, win or lose, both teams seem to always go on and finish the season strong.”
This time, the Falcons appear, on paper, to be a big favorite.
The Falcons, 9-1 in duals, are ranked No. 3 in Class AA by The Guillotine magazine. They won the rugged Paul Bunyan Tournament at Brainerd before Christmas, placed fourth at the prestigious Rumble on the Red meet at Fargo and took third place at the Kiffmeyer Duals at St. Cloud Tech last weekend.
Most impressive is that Foley has eight state-ranked wrestlers in its lineup.
“We brought back a lot of solid, very good wrestlers from last year’s strong team,” said Freudenberg. “We felt we would have a good season and we’ve done well so far. We’re able to put out a solid wrestler at each weight, so balance has been a big strength.
“But, matches are won on the mat, not on paper, especially when Foley and Milaca go at it. The favored team doesn’t always win. All it takes is one match to turn things around. Randy and I have both seen it happen. We know Milaca will be ready.”
“You look at Foley’s lineup and it’s very impressive,” said Zimmer, whose team is ranked No. 7 in Class AA. “We’ll wrestle hard and see what happens. Our kids are looking forward to it – the match always has a lot of excitement.”
Here are the tentative match-ups:
•106 – Sophomore Tyler Funk (F), 22-3, vs. sophomore Ray Hoffman, 13-12. Funk is ranked No. 7 at 106.
•113 – Junior Tristan Manderfeld (F), 18-1, vs. either junior Joey Curtis, 24-1 or ninth-grader Hunter Noor, 8-4. Manderfeld is ranked No. 2 at 113 while Curtis is No. 5.
•120 – Sophomore Logan Lunde (F), 8-5, vs. senior Joe Moscho, 21-4.
•126 – Senior Tyler Jenson (F), 18-6, vs. junior Mike Hoffman, 6-2. Jenson is ranked No. 4 at 126.
•132 – Sophomore Randy Jenson (F), 9-6, vs. senior Chris Newgard, 19-6.
•138 – Sophomore Tyler Beehler (F), 16-12, vs. senior Jonah Gahm, 24-1. Gahm is ranked No. 3 at 132.
•145 – Senior Chevy Goble (F) 16-6, vs. junior Dylan Czech, 9-16.
•152 – Senior Tyler Bemboom (F) 23-3, vs. ninth-grader Austin Weidner, 9-6. Bemboom is ranked No. 5 at 145.
•160 – Teren Kampa (F), 10-5, vs. ninth-grader Josh Otten, 10-6.
•170 – Senior Taylor Lewandowski (F) vs. senior Jake Earl, 20-5. Lewandowski is ranked No. 1 at 160.
•182 – Senior Nick Lefebvre (F), 22-3, vs. junior Joe Fredricks, 4-14. Lefebvre is ranked No. 5 at 182.
•195 – Senior Tony Kipka (F), 17-4, vs. senior Justin Ladehoff, 5-0. Ladehoff is ranked No. 2 at 195.
•220 – Sophomore Mitch Keeler (F), 15-5, vs. Sophomore Brandon Merten, 9-8, or senior Josh Majerus, 9-8.
•Hwt. -Senior Sam Olson (F), 20-5, vs. senior Jordan Ahner, 15-8.
Foley junior Keith Thell, ranked No. 8 at 120, has been sidelined with an injury but could be ready to go Friday.
Milaca scored a 47-25 dual win over Little Falls Friday at Milaca.
The Wolves placed second at the Mounds View Mustang Duals Saturday, losing to Owatonna 32-24 in the finals. Owatonna is ranked No. 9 in Class AAA.
Milaca has a 20-5 dual record.