Yellowjacket foursome head to state
Four Yellowjacket wrestlers advanced to state meet through the Section 8-2A Individual Tournament which was hosted by Cass Lake-Bena last Friday and Saturday.
"Anything can happen in a state tournament," Perham head coach Robb Moser said. "To get here you got to be lucky and good and hopefully that'll continue. It is one of, if not the biggest highlight of an athletic career...by themselves in this huge arena the ultimate stage for individual competition."
Moser has been coaching at Perham for nine years and "individuals have gone to state every year and the team went five times" during those nine years.
There is a wall-of-fame in the wrestling gym where hangs photographs of past Yellowjackets individuals and teams who have grappled their way to state wrestling tournaments.
"But hey," Coach Moser said. "This is about my boys, not me."
The boys were anxious to practice and anxious to talk. And anxious to get to St. Paul and the Xcel Center where the State Wrestling Tournament would begin Wednesday.
Sam Warne -- 125 pounds
Senior Sam Warne, who wrestles at 125 pounds, "started wrestling in third grade and high school wrestling in eighth grade."
Warne beat Chas Abrahamson from Thief River Falls 5-4 in the 8-2A finals to expand his reign as a section's champ to three years.
"I was runner-up in 8th and 9th, champ 10th-12th," he said. ""As a freshman I was fifth at state, as a junior I was 4th, and I was "top" eight other times (the top sixth place)."
Warne is going into the state tourney ranked third in state. He has an all-time winning record with 194 wins; the old record was 190.
And, Warne is part of the Minnesota State Academic All-State team which is a combination of grade point average and wrestling record.
Basically this award is based on academic achievement as well as points, wins, participation and state placement throughout high school.
To be honored with this award is huge. Twenty-eight boys -- two for each weight of the 14 wrestling weights -- are selected for this prestigious honor.
Warne said, "My individual goal this year was to win a title [at state] -- that's what I'm going to do."
Taylor Doll -- 140 pounds
Taylor (Tay) Doll is a senior who wrestles at 140.
"I started wrestling in second grade," Doll added. "In 7th-12th I was a high school wrestler. I was runner-up in my weight class by true second. Devon Wiks from Walker who lost to the champ and I beat Wiks 6-2.
"I didn't know if I was going to be wrestling because of a leg injury and other health problems so my individual goal was I just wanted to see the team go to state this year. But I also hoped to wrestle and go to state. My dad and brother both wrestled for Perham high school."
Doll also enjoys and is in football and baseball.
"In the first football game in the fall of 2008, Tay's leg was seriously injured," Moser explained. "The leg was pinned back together. He still has a steel rod in it and it is still healing.
"In addition, Tay had mono the year before. You have a lot of doubt when you're hurt. Nine out of ten kids would have quit. They would not have pulled through. Tay's story is an amazing story and he is an amazing kid. Tay won that true second contest overcoming the steel in his leg and all."
Charlie Schmitz -- 152 pounds
Charlie Schmitz, a senior who wrestles at 152 pounds, lost 4-0 in the section finals to champ Jordon Benson from Staples-Motley and is section runner-up.
"I started wrestling in kindergarten and went to state as a sophomore, junior and senior," Schmitz said.
As a sophomore, Schmitz was sixth in state.
"In 2007 and 2008 team got runner-up in state and the state team that didn't place," he added. "I was part of that team with Sam and Tay. My ultimate goal is to get first -- but I'll be happy to place [sixth or better]."
Jesse Hein -- heavyweight
Sophomore Jesse Hein is the Section 8-2A Heavyweight Champion who beat Nick Cervantes from Thief River Falls, 5-4.
"This is my first time down to State Individuals," Hein explained. "I have been to state before with the 2008 and 2009 state teams," Hein said. "In 2009 it was also Charlie and Sam, but Tay was out with a broken leg from football.
My personal goal was to medal at state, but a state championship would be nice."
Hein added that he is the only wrestler in his family. Hein is ranked seventh in the state right now.
The 2010 State Wrestling Tournament opens Wednesday, March 3, and runs through Saturday, March 6, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.