WRESTLING: Johnson, Maas, Staples head to national competition
BEMIDJI — Kade Johnson and Brian Maas of Bemidji, and Daven Staples of Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena will compete at the National High School Coaches Association wrestling meet over the weekend in Virginia Beach, Va.
The meet will attract the top wrestlers in the nation and many high school champions will be in the field.
“This is a great tournament,” said BHS coach Rance Bahr. “It is a seeded, double elimination tournament with a consolation round and the top eight in each weight class earn All-America status.
“And it wouldn’t surprise me if Kade and Brian place in their brackets.”
Johnson and Maas join a list of Lumberjacks who have participated in the meet but no Bemidji wrestler has been invited to the tournament since Brandon Bahr competed in 2007.
Maas will compete at 113 pounds and as of Monday the field at his weight class included 63 wrestlers. That group included state champions from Wyoming, Connecticut, North Carolina, Utah, Maryland, Tennessee, New Mexico and California.
Maas capped his junior season with a third-place finish at the Minnesota High School state tournament, compiling a 43-1 record. His lone loss came in the state semifinals but Maas recovered nicely, winning two more matches to capture third place.
Johnson compiled a 44-1 record this winter wrestling at 182 pounds and now the senior shares Bemidji’s single-season victory total with Chris Miller who also won 44 matches in 2005. Johnson also posted 41 pins victories this season and that total is the single season high water mark in the history of the program.
As of Monday there were 40 wrestlers listed at 182 pounds for the national tournament. Included in the field were individual state champions from Ohio, Wyoming, California, Rhode Island, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, New Mexico, New York and Alabama.
Staples finished his prep career by placing fifth at 170 pounds in the Class A state tournament. The BCLB senior posted a 35-4 record and two of the losses came at the state meet.
The 170 pound division at the national competition includes 51 wrestlers and features state champions from Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and New York.