Invitational cancelled, wrestlers at Litchfield

There will not be a Milaca Wrestling Invitational this season.

The tournament, which began with Foley taking the first title in 1972, has been cancelled due to lack of teams. The meet was scheduled for this coming Saturday.

“Several schools that had come to Milaca in the past found out the date didn’t work for them this season,” said Milaca Athletic Director Jerry Westphal. “Thanksgiving being the final week of November messed things up, date wise.

“We ended up with Milaca, Holdingford and Nashwauk-Keewatin and we were looking for at least one more team so everyone could get at least three matches in. Then Nashwauk-Keewatin dropped out.”

Holdingford is the defending Milaca Invitational champion and a dual against the Huskers has been set for Jan. 14, at Milaca. Westphal said he hopes the Milaca Invitational can resume next season.

The Wolves won’t be idle Saturday, however.Westphal was able to get Milaca into the Litchfield Invitational, which is an “individual” tournament.

The tournament, which includes Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Alexandria, Anoka, Big Lake, Browerville, Totino Grace, Litchfield, Albany and Milaca, begins at 10 a.m. The finals will begin at approximately 4 p.m.

Totino Grace is ranked No. 2 in the first Guillotine magazine Class AA state rankings while Anoka is No. 8 in Class AAA and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City is No. 5 in Class A.

“Milaca hasn’t wrestled in an individual tournament during the regular season for a few years, so that will be interesting,” said co-head coach Mitch Vedders. “There will be a lot of great wrestlers there and we’re looking forward to it.”

Westphal also announced this week that Milaca will be in the Delano Dual Meet Tournament Saturday, Dec. 14.

That tournament will include Apple Valley, Foley, Waconia, Dassel-Cokato, Watertown-Mayer, St. Peter, Delano and Milaca.

Oh, and by the way, before those weekend blockbusters, the Wolves open their dual meet schedule by hosting another rugged Little Falls team in a Granite Ridge Conference match-up tonight (Friday) at 7:30.

The Flyers return 21 letter-winners, including 10 seniors. That group includes eight section place-winners.

“We hope to be in the hunt for another Section 8AAA title this season,” said Mike Hendrickson, who’s starting his 18th season at Little Falls head coach. “We were second last year and very disappointed with that finish.

“Our strength will again be our balance. We should be able to put an experienced, solid wrestler on the mat at all 14 weights.

“We know Milaca has another strong team but you get better by wrestling good teams. We’ve had some good matches with Milaca.”

“Little Falls is always tough,” said Milaca Co-Head Coach Clay Hoeck. “It will be a good match.”

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The Wolves opened their season by placing second at the Waconia Wildcats Duals Saturday.

Milaca, the defending champion, defeated LeSueur-Henderson 67-12, Marshall 55-15 and Waconia 45-23 before losing to Shakopee 41-33 in what proved to be the title match.

Milaca defeated Shakopee 39-27 last year at the tournament.

The Wolves closed out the match against Shakopee with pins by junior Josh Otten at 182 pounds, junior Austin Weidner at 195, junior Colton Sailor at 220 and senior Brandon Merten at heavyweight.

But, it wasn’t enough as Shakopee, ranked No. 7 in Class AAA, had built a 41-9 lead.

Senior Ray Hoffman scored a pin at 126 and junior Hunter Noor won a decision at 132 to account for Milaca’s other points.

Otten was 4-0 in the meet, with four pins.

“The coaches were very pleased with how we looked at Waconia,” said Vedders. “Of course, we wanted to win the tournament, but Shakopee has a strong team and got off to a great start against us.

“Our fundamentals looked good, overall. Our goal right now is to build a solid foundation.”

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