NYM Wrestling: Jordan Novak is 2nd in State at 135 pounds
By John George
Jordan Novak (37-5) entered his second State tournament as the Section 6A champ at 135 pounds.
The No. 9 ranked Novak began his run for the finals with a 7-0 win over Taylor Peterson (24-14) of D-G-F. In Thursday's quarterfinals, he beat Luke Olson of Trinity School at River Ridge, 10-3. That presented Novak with his biggest obstacle to the finals. A semifinal match against No. 1 Sam Derynck of Minneota.
Derynck, a junior, had a record of 37-4 entering the match. Novak took control from the start, and beat the No. 1 ranked Derynck, 7-2.
"It feels pretty good," the Eagle junior said after the match. "I didn't take the rankings into consideration. Those rankings are just one guys opinion."
Novak was looking forward to the title match, which was against Paynesville's Jon Kerzman. Kerzman was ranked No. 5 and had a 37-5 record.
Neither wrestler was shy about being in the championship match as the two were aggressive from the start. Novak went up early and had a 4-2 lead, but Kerzman scored near the end of the first period to tie the score, 4-4.
Novak again took the early advantage in the second period and was up 8-6 when Kerzman scored late in the period again, and had a 9-8 lead going into the third.
The Paynesville junior scored to open the third, and held on to an 11-9 win over Novak.
"Jordan has been our leader all year long," assistant coach Doug Salo said Sunday at a welcome home gathering for the wrestlers. "He had his goals set all year. He wanted to get to the state finals and take a shot at winning, and he wrestled to win. These guys had an outstanding tournament."
Novak went 1-2 at last year's State Tournament. He was the Park Region Conference champ last year as a sophomore, but he finished second this year to Nic Harrison of Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus.
Harrison, ranked No. 3 in Class AA, finished in third place at the State Tournament, beating No. 1 ranked Andrew Youngbloom of Mora at 135 pounds by fall in 3:56.