Christensen, Howard advance to district round
EMMETSBURG — Junior Joel Christensen and freshman Nate Howard will represent Estherville Lincoln Central at next week’s Class 2A District meet in Cherokee.
The two Midgets both finished second at the Class 1A Sectional meet in Emmetsburg to earn the right to advance.
A first or second place finish next week means a trip to the state tournament at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Feb. 13-16.
Wrestling at 130 pounds, Christensen’s day went about as expected. He mostly dominated Algona’s Ben Tull in the semifinal match with a 14-6 major decision before losing to Spirit Lake Park’s Dillon Miner, rated No. 1, by fall in 2:34. Tull won the third-place match as Christensen earned the right to advance.
“I thought Joel wrestled really well and beat a pretty good Algona wrestler to get to the finals,” said ELC coach Chris Koenck. “He is on a mission to get to Des Moines and is willing to sacrifice to get there. I think he is really starting to find a system that works for him and with some fine tuning, he will be able to get to that next level.”
At 160 pounds, Howard also started his day with a major decision, 10-2, over Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted’s Tyler Schmeling. However in the finals, he faced No. 9 Landon Ludwig of Algona, who won by fall in 56 seconds. Howard also didn’t have to wrestle back as Schmeling won his third-place match.
“Nate started a little slow in his semi-final match against the Emmetsburg wrestler, but turned it on in the third period to get the major decision to move on to the finals,” said Koenck. “There he ran into another good Algona wrestler who just got the best of Nate.
“I know Nate can wrestle with kids of that ability, but he will have to open up and wrestle his style and control the entire match,” the coach said. “Hopefully he will get another shot at him and this time he will have a plan and execute it.”
ELC’s next best finish was third place from 112-pounder Austin Greig. Greig opened the day losing by major decision, 15-5, to SLP’s Lewis Johnson. Greig won the third-place match, pinning, Emmetsburg/A-R’s Nick Larson in 3:27 to earn a wrestleback with Algona’s Alex Dittrich.
However, Dittrich won 6-2 to earn second place.
Two ELC wrestlers finished fourth–senior Spenser Schichtl at 215 pounds and junior Ryan Kaltved at 135 pounds.
Placing fifth was Shane Wegner at 285 pounds, who won a 3-1 overtime victory in the fifth-place match against Humboldt’s Kyle Larson.
Seth Shatto (140) and Tyson Enerson (145) both placed sixth.
“I thought overall we wrestled well but there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Koenck. “Looking back, there are a few matches that we would like to have another shot at, but we don't get second chances at this point in the season.
“We talked about not holding back anything and wrestling like each match being their last. Some of the kids bought into that idea and really went all out, but unfortunately some didn't. For those kids who didn't meet their goals, next season starts now. We are a very young, inexperienced team, but we need to start believing that we can win every time we step on the mat.”
Schichtl was the lone senior who wrestled Saturday.
“We had a great senior leader with Spenser Schichtl who really set the example for these young wrestlers to look up to,” said Koenck. “He will be missed next year.