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Hirsch finishes in fifth

Southland’s Schroeder fourth

By Ben Pherson

bpherson@postbulletin.com

ST. PAUL — Austin High junior Michael Hirsch ended his wrestling season on a positive note Saturday at the Class AAA state tournament at Xcel Energy Center.

Hirsch won an exciting 17-13 decision in the 189-pound fifth-place match over Matt Spoden of St. Cloud Apollo.

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"He beat me last year at state," Hirsch said. "So it was good to beat him."

Against Spoden, Hirsch had trouble completing his signature move off his feet, the double-leg takedown. That was due to Spoden’s strength; when Hirsch shot in for his takedown, Spoden often was able to use his strong wizzer to hold off Hirsch.

"I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but he was strong," Hirsch said. "I knew he would throw, so I was hoping he’d put an arm out so I could get under it and shoot."

The Austin junior actually trailed 10-5 at one point in the second period after Spoden scored five points with a takedown and an arm-and-head lock. But Hirsch finished the period strong, escaping and then scoring with a pair of takedowns. He trailed just 11-10 heading into the third period.

In the final frame, Hirsch was dominant. He scored with multiple takedowns, and Spoden seemed to run out of gas. Hirsch’s takedown and nearfall with 55 seconds left clinched it and gave him the 17-13 victory.

Hirsch finished his junior season with a record of 38-5 and a fifth-place medal. He already has high hopes for next season.

"Most of the people who finished above me are seniors, so hopefully I can come back here next year and do even better," he said.

Southland senior Matt Schroeder finished his high school wrestling career with a fourth-place medal at 130 pounds.

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Though Schroeder finished his career with a loss, just his second this season, he was simply happy to be wrestling Saturday at the Class A state tournament.

Schroeder dropped a tough

4-3 decision to Jesse Regalado of Jackson County Central in the third-place match.

Schroeder led 3-2, but a reversal by Regalado gave him the lead. Regalado was able to keep Schroeder on the mat until the end of the third period to clinch the victory. He finished his senior season with 41-2 record.

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