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Five Indians crowned Lakes champions – Johnson, Miner brothers, Willard and Will win titles

By Staff | Jan 29, 2008

SPENCER — With five Lakes Conference champions, Spirit Lake Park did all it could to win the conference tournament on Friday.

However, the Indians couldn’t counter the depth of a solid Spencer squad.

The Tigers had just two champions, but six wrestlers placed second and four more placed third as they ended with 237.5 points.

SLP ended with respectable 79.5 points ahead of third-place Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted which finished with 158 points.

“Typically when you get fie champions, your expect to win a tournament,” said SLP coach Rick Vander Woude. “It’s a testament to Spencer how solid they are up and down the lineup.”

For the Indians, Lewis Johnson (103), Derrick Miner (125), Dillon Miner (130), Grant Willard (135) and Alex Will (215), all won conference titles.

Johnson had an easy road with only three wrestlers in his bracket.

However he won a 14-3 major decision over Spencer’s Bryce Dillard and then pinned Storm Lake’s Gabriel Torres in 5:58.

“He wrestled two good matches,” the coach said. “only a freshman, it’s an honor to be a Lakes Conference champion.”

At 125, Derrick Miner started his run with a technical fall, 17-1, over the E’Hawks’ Jacobs Stubbs, then pinned Sheldon’s Spencer Tischer in 1:49. In the championship bracket, he won 7-0 over Spencer’s Evan Quail.

Vander Woude said it was the third time Derrick had wrestled Quail.

“Normally those matches tend to get closer,” he said. “Derrick is able to stay offensive-minded and open up,” he said.

Dillon Miner, rated No. 1 in Class 2A at 130 pounds expected to win the conference title, but was also looking for his 100th career pin. He pinned Estherville Lincoln Central’s Joel Christensen in 1:14 and then took on Lemars’ Anthony Schimek in the finals where he won 11-4.

“He wanted the 100th pin so even though he’s a conference champ, he was still a little disappointed,” said Vander Woude. “But he has higher goals for himself.”

For Dillon though, it was his third conference title.

At 135 pounds, Willard’s four years of hard work paid off.

The senior won his first conference title starting with a 6-3 decision over Western Christian’s Kyle Westra and then pinning ELC’s Ryan Kaltved in 1:45 before winning a 15-6 major decision over Spencer’s James Randall.

“Grant’s coming on strong after winning the BCIG Tournament,” said Vander Woude.

At 215 pounds, Will pinned Western Christian’s Jose Leanos in 1:07 and then pinned Sheldon’s Pete Matthews in 4:13.

In the finals, he won in overtime, 3-1 over Emmetsburg’s Adam Laeur, who had knocked off No. 1 seed Tyler Kacmerynski of Spencer.

“Like the rest of the seniors, he’s cashed in on his hard work which was years in the making,” said Vander Woude. “He earned his way into the conference finals and beat a good kid to get it.”

SLP’s Brad Engel also had a solid day, finishing second at 189 pounds, losing only to No. 1 Josh Ihnen of Sheldon.

At 185 pounds, Wade Franek placed fourth while Nick Schultze (152) and Brett Goldtrap (160), both placed fifth.

Brandon Griffin (140), Cullen Andera (145) and Rick Wilson (171), all placed sixth.

SLP travels to Emmetsburg for the sectional wrestling tournament on Saturday.