The Le Sueur-Henderson youth wrestling team performed well at its second state-wide tournament of the year.
After qualifying for the Northland Youth Wrestling Association at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, the Giants put four of their wrestlers up on the podium.
George Doherty, Andrew Fogerty, Willie Osborne and Owen Greenig each made it to a podium position. Wesley Thieke, Waylon Teide, Mason Johnson, Waylon Thieke and Kolton Duff also advanced to the state tournament after placing in the top three during the regional tournament.
“Just getting to the tournament is a pretty amazing thing,” coach Sonny Wilson said.
Getting to the tournament requires a wrestler to finish in the top three out of a 32-man bracket of some tough wrestlers from around the state. At state, the wrestlers are made to contend with seven other wrestlers who made it through the same ordeal.
But, once they made it to state, Wilson said they only had four wins between themselves and first place, though wrestle-backs from a loss could extend that process.
To win, or even make it to state, Wilson said you needed more than physical strength. While strength is important, the mental aspect is even more key.
“It’s just as much a physical sport as a mental sport,” he said. “I relate it a lot of times to chess.”
Doherty, one of the four to take the podium took first place in his third and fourth grade; beat his way through the 16-man bracket to take first place.
This also wasn’t Doherty’s first time taking the first-place spot. Doherty has taken first in the tournament two-years running.
Doherty said that he was nervous when he saw that he was going to be going up against some tough competition at the tournament.
But, some encouragement from coach Wilson put him in the headspace that he needed to succeed, and it worked out. He also got a bit of advice
“I just took a couple breathers and thought about what I was going to do,” he said.
Once he took the top spot, he said he had definitely stopped being nervous.
Owen Greenig took third place during the tournament. While he said he was also a bit nervous about his run in the tournament, after all he was facing off against heavy weights, which he barely qualified for at 94 pounds.
Wilson said that Greenig frequently takes on larger competition and had spent much of the year facing off against heavier wrestlers. At state, he was wrestling against kids who weighed 130 pounds.
But, the bigger-than-usual audience and venue size of the civic center made him nervous as well.
Fighting the jitters and some heavy competition may have been tough, but Greenig said he made it work.
“It’s basically the stuff that we train for in practice,” he said.