Wright advances, completes improbable run to State Wrestling Tourney
It’s fairly common for a No. 3-, 4-, or 5-seeded wrestler to advance to the State Tournament. Even a 6th seed isn’t unheard of. But Carter Wright of Wadena-Deer Creek completed what might be a first when the No. 7-seeded 138-pound sophomore finished second last Saturday and advanced to the 2015 State Wrestling Tournament.
“In my 16 years of coaching, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said WDC Head Wrestling Coach Norm Gallant. “I talked to Region rep and longtime Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale Head Wrestling Coach Steve Techam, too, and he hasn’t seen it before either, and he’s been doing this a lot longer than me. What Carter did was pretty special.”
Sporting a 10-17 record coming into the section tournament, Wright matched up with State entrant Marshall Willis from Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale in the first round. Trailing 7-2 going into the third period, Wright locked up a tight cross-face cradle and turned Willis to his back for a pin at the 4:56 mark.
“Before the third period, when Willis took down, I reminded Carter that it only takes one good move to win,” Gallant said. “I told him to remember what he had done to Noah Bernier the first match of the season.” In that match Wright was the 8th seed at the Dennis Kaatz Tournament and he pinned the top-seeded Bernier in a cradle.
“Carter nodded and I guess he just followed directions,” Gallant added with a chuckle.
Wright continued his improbable run by getting a late takedown and three back points against No. 3-seeded Tyler Onstad of West Central in the semi-finals. An exuberant Wright ran off the mat into the waiting arms of his coaches in the corner!
Carter got some help from both Willis and Onstad, who both advanced in close matches to the third-place match, making a true second match impossible. In the finals, Zach Anderson of Barnesville lived up to his 33-5 record with a 16-1 technical fall in 3:37 over Wright.
“It’s a great thing for Carter and our program,” Coach Gallant stated. “It shows kids that anything is possible and that you have to go out and wrestle. This will take Carter a long way in the future. Now he knows what he is capable of. We’re very proud of him.”
Wright will match up with Section 7A Champion Dan Nordean of Aitkin in the first round of the Class A Individual Tournament on Friday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
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Chase Godel finished a stellar freshman season with a fifth-place finish at 120. Godel finished the year with a 3-2 win over Border West’s Dylan Menge. The freshman finishes the season with a 17-16 record.
“We were glad to get Chase out for wrestling this season,” said Coach Gallant. “He played basketball in 7th and 8th grade and didn’t get a lot of playing time. He came out this year and was very successful for us. We look for big things from him in the future.”
Isaac Malone finished his senior season in sixth place in the section. He ended with an 18-16 record. He nearly came back from a 6-0 deficit in his final match when he threw Cormick Combellick to his back for 5 points late in the match, but he was unable to get the pin he needed.
Mason Snyder capped his seventh-grade year with a sixth-place finish at 106. Snyder was the only seventh grader to place in the entire tournament and finishes the year with a 14-23 record.
Tristin Godel finished his senior season in sixth place at 126. The hard luck senior won his first match, but was unable to continue after suffering a concussion right at the end of the match. He had an excellent chance at the state tournament, but none the less, finished with an 18-6 record and 61 career wins.
Also competing for the Wolverines were Cody Wheeler at 113, Tyler Wheeler at 145, Blaine Snyder at 152, Steven Erkenbrack at 170, and Joseph Baker at 195.
“We wrestled pretty well over all, we lost some tight matches and would have liked to place a few more guys. But the effort, sportsmanship and character the guys showed were good. I look forward to having most of these guys back next year and will miss our two seniors (Tristin Godel and Isaac Malone),” Gallant said.