Kasson-Mantorville finishes third at Christmas Tournament

Kasson-Mantorville's Jared Johnson scrambles with Zach Nygaard of St. Michael-Albertville in the fifth-place match during the Minnesota Christmas Tournament on Saturday at UCR Regional Sports Center. Johnson finished sixth at 113 pounds.

The Kasson-Mantorville wrestling tied its best-ever finish at the 29th annual Minnesota Christmas Tournament over the weekend at UCR Regional Sports Center.

The KoMets had an incredible eight place-winners and rolled up 157 team points, good for third place at the prestigious individual event. Nationally ranked St. Michael-Albertville won the team title with 224 points, and Apple Valley was second at 203.

K-M, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AA, finished well ahead of top-ranked Simley, which placed seventh with 113 points. No. 3-ranked Albert Lea finished 17th.

K-M coach Jamie Heidt always is looking for the best from his program, but he was quite pleased with his team's effort over the weekend.

"To have eight place-winners and to score as many bonus points as we did, I feel good about where we're at right now," Heidt said.


Brady Berge was K-M's lone champion. He defeated New Prague's Griffin Parriott, who's ranked No. 2 in the nation, 3-1 in the finals at 160 pounds.

It was Berge's fourth Minnesota Christmas Tournament title. He's just the second wrestler ever to accomplish that feat; Mark Hall of Apple Valley was the first.

Robby Horsman (106), Aaron Berge (182) and Noah Ryan (195) all wrestled for third place.

Ryan was the only wrestler to prevail, scoring an impressive 7-4 win over St. Michael-Albertville's Evan Ronsen, who's ranked No. 4 in Class AAA. Ryan finished ahead of the top two Class AAA wrestlers at 195, Mark Vaith of Hastings and Mike Delich of Eastview. Ryan's lone loss of the tournament — by decision — was to Jackson County Central's Keegan Moore, who's ranked No. 1 in the nation.

"Noah had a great tournament; I still don't think he realizes exactly how good he can be," Heidt said.

Other place-winners

Horsman had a coming out party over the weekend. He stuck with the best kids in the state, including in the third-place match. Though he suffered a 7-4 loss, it came against Willmar's Israel Navarro, who's the top-ranked 113-pounder in Class AAA.

Horsman always has been strong, but Heidt said his wrestling knowledge and ability are now catching up to his physical abilities.


"It's been fun to watch him develop, and could really see this weekend how far he's come," Heidt said.

Aaron Berge also had a great weekend, finishing fourth at 182.. He lost a tough 6-4 decision to West Fargo's Jesse Shearer in the third-place match.

Andy Bigelow finished strong, recording a pin in the fifth-place match at 170. He earned that pin against Hastings' Austin Eichmann, who's ranked No. 3 in Class AAA.

Jared Johnson also had a great tournament, falling in the fifth-place match by an 8-4 decision to Zach Nygaard of St. Michael-Albertville.

"He's another kid who's improving every day," Heidt said.

Keaten Schorr took fifth place at 126, and Isaac Haman was eighth at 138.

Lorang has dream run

If Rochester Mayo's Jon Lorang was under the radar before the Minnesota Christmas Tournament, he isn't any longer.


Lorang made the move to 220 recently, and he entered the weekend ranked No. 5 in Class AAA at heavyweight. But Lorang was seeded just seventh at 220.

That seeding was way off.

After an impressive 6-2 win in the quarterfinals Saturday morning, Lorang faced previously unbeaten Eli Newton of Amery, Wis., in the semifinals and survived with a 1-0 victory.

In the finals, Lorang ran into the best wrestler in the country, Gable Steveson of Apple Valley. It didn't take long for Steveson to work his magic, pinning Lorang at 1:47.

Despite the setback in the finals, it was a remarkable run for the Mayo senior.

"I thought Jon wrestled a flawless tournament up until the finals," Mayo coach Art Trimble said. "He really made no mistakes and only gave up two points (escapes) up until the finals. He wasn't flashy in his wins, but he never got out of position, especially in the semifinals. That was the best match I have seen him wrestle against a solid opponent. I think this also solidified the decision to stay down at 220 where he can physically overpower his opponents.

"In the finals I thought he wrestled well defending many tilts but then got bundled up in the cradle. Gable really is on a different level than others at this weight. ... Jon has developed into a leader on and off the mat that all of our wrestlers look up to. I am excited to see him continue to pursue his goals this year."

Lorang was Mayo's lone place-winner. The Spartans scored 26 team points and finished 31st.


Tigers get one

Stewartville also had one place-winner, and it also came at 220 pounds.

Senior Adam Gehling came in unseeded, and he was immediately bounced to wrestlebacks after a tough 2-1 first-round loss.

But Gehling battled back through wrestlebacks. He had to win four consecutive matches to earn a medal, and he did just that.

After his fourth win, Gehling did suffer a setback, falling 4-3 against Jackson Schichel of Hastings. But Gehling once again bounced back. This time he earned a 1-0 decision, topping Max Jensen of St. Michael-Albertville to claim seventh place.

Gehling, who's unranked, is now 13-4 this season, with two losses coming at the Christmas Tournament.

Kasson-Mantorville's Robby Horsman fights off a takedown attempt by Israel Navarro of Willmar in the third-place match at 106 pounds during Saturday's Minnesota Christmas Tournament at UCR Regional Sports Center. Horsman, who's a freshman, finished fourth.

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