By Gary Larson
Mille Lacs County Times
It’s reaching that time of the season when wrestling teams are starting to piece together how the seeding for the upcoming sub-section team tournaments is going to go.
For Milaca, that means the south sub-section of Section 7AA and right now the Wolves are sitting pretty good.
They can sit even better if they’re able to knock off Mora in a Granite Ridge Conference meet tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 at Milaca.
Grand Rapids, the defending Section 7AA champion after topping Milaca in the finals last year, is solid once again and appears to be assured of the top seed in the north sub-section. The picture in the south is a little less clear.
“Right now, it looks like Mora, Chisago Lakes and Milaca will get the top three seeds,” said Milaca Coach Randy Zimmer, who’s getting the Wolves prepared for what will be his final section tournament. “What the order will be probably depends on the Mora-Milaca match.”
Getting the No. 1 seed in a sub-section is an advantage. It usually means No. 2 and No. 3 will be banging heads in the semifinals while No. 1 will likely be facing the fourth or fifth seed.
The top two teams from the north and south sub-section meets advance to the section semifinals.
“We know the Milaca match is a big one – it always is,” said Mora Coach Tom Youngblom, whose team is 13-10 in duals. “We started off hot this season, like we usually do, but we cooled off a little after the Christmas break.
“We’ve lost close duals to some very good teams like Pierz and Becker and we did defeat Grand Rapids 47-24 early in the season. We are very young, so it has been easier to swallow our ups and downs.”
Youngblom said the Mustangs usually have eight or nine wrestlers in their lineup who are sophomores or younger.
Mora has been led by senior Brent Nelson who is 25-2 at 145 pounds and ranked No. 6 in the Class AA ratings. Junior Kent Kastenbauer is 19-3 at 138 and veteran junior Codie LaFromboise is 14-3 at 170.
“We are hoping to ride out the beginning of the dual with Milaca, hoping we have enough left at the end to sneak out a win,” said Youngblom. “A win for us would make the section seeding interesting.”
Milaca split a pair of duals last week, losing at Becker 37-26 Tuesday, Jan. 24 before stopping Zimmerman 69-4 Friday.
The Wolves, 22-7, are at the Blaine Tournament Saturday, with matches starting at 9 a.m.