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Yellowjackets send five into the quarterfinals

Perham's Leighton Rach works the back of Annandale's Quinn Youngs during the first round of the Class AA championships. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Owen Werner wraps up Grand Rapids' Dusty Wilke for the fall just before the time expires to end the period. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

It was a strong start for the Perham wrestling team when they sent five of seven wrestlers through to the Class AA quarterfinals after the opening round on Friday morning at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Perham’s Owen Werner, Leighton Rach, Dawson Kellogg, Zach Peterson and Ty Moser are through to the quarterfinals. They will wrestle again at 4 p.m.

Werner started things off with a quick fall over Grand Rapids’ Dusty Wilke at the one minute and 58 second mark. Werner will wrestle Austin Gabbert in the quarterfinals. Werner is 37-7 on the season, while Gabbert is 33-5. Werner is ranked fourth at 106, while Gabbert is ranked seventh.

Rach picked up a come-from-behind overtime victory over fourth ranked Quinn Youngs of Annandale/Maple Lake. Rach trailed 6-2, but responded with a big second period. He trailed by one heading into the third and got a stalling point, evening the match. He was able to get two in overtime for the 8-6 victory.

Rach enters the quarterfinals with a 22-11 record and will wrestle South St. Paul’s Lorenzo Diaz. Diaz is ranked seventh, while Rach is ranked eighth. Diaz holds a 49-4 mark on the season.

Kellogg, the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 170, is through to the quarterfinals. He systematically took down Minneapolis Roosevelt’s Larry Sanchez in his opening round match. Kellogg earned a 15-0 technical fall victory, taking control of the match in the second period, before finishing it off in the third period. Kellogg (43-6) will wrestle Marshall’s Wyatt Martin (29-9) in the quarterfinals. Martin is unranked.

Dawson Kellogg

Peterson wore down Hutchinson’s Christian Kurth and grabbed a pin at the 4:50 mark of his first round match. Peterson (43-2) was on the attack from the beginning in the match and eventually got the pin in the third. Peterson is in one of the toughest brackets of the tournament field. His quarterfinal round opponent is ranked fourth and enters with an undefeated record. Albany’s Gabe Zierden enters the contest with a 36-0 mark in a battle of the fourth and fifth ranked wrestlers at 182.

Zach Peterson

Ty Moser improved to 43-1 with a first round pin of Carter Utecht of Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson. Moser picked up the pin at the 4:59 mark after building a strong lead in his match. Moser, the state’s third-ranked wrestler, will take on Worthington’s Mason Byrne int the quarterfinals. Byrne enters with a record of 25-3 and is unranked.

Ty Moser

Perham’s Jack Fudge was defeated in the quarterfinals by New Ulm Area’s Sean Howk by a 6-2 decision at 138. Perham’s Matthew Bush was pinned by Quayin Short of Simley in the opening round at 152.

The five Perham wrestlers will take to the mats at 4 p.m., hoping for a berth into the Class AA semifinals.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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