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Bemidji's Brian Maas places fifth, Logan Crosby sixth at state meet

Brian Maas, left, of Bemidji wrestles Sam Bennyhoff of Mound Westonka during their 113-pound Class AAA semifinal match of the Minnesota wrestling tournament Saturday in St. Paul. Michael Vosburg | Forum News Service

ST. PAUL – Brian Maas placed fifth at 113 pounds Saturday and Logan Crosby was sixth at 126 to lead the Bemidji High School contingent at the Class 3A state wrestling meet at the Xcel Center.

Kade Johnson also represented the Jacks at 170 pounds and the junior posted a 2-2 record at the state meet, eventually being eliminated in the consolation quarterfinals.

“This was a great experience for the kids and the coaches,” said BHS coach Rance Bahr. “The way the kids wrestled and handled themselves here earned them a great deal of respect from their peers and from the community.”

Maas posted a 3-2 record and captured fifth place but the sophomore was only a point away from wrestling for the title.

In Saturday’s championship semifinals Maas fell to Sam Bennyhoff of Mound-Westonka 5-4 in three overtimes. That setback dropped Maas into the consolation round where he lost 4-3 to Trevor Westerlund of Albert Lea.

Maas (40-5) fared better in his final match, however, when he pinned Jamin LeDuc of Farmington in the battle for fifth place.

“At state the difference between fifth and first can be one move or one point,” Bahr said. “Brian would have liked to have pulled it out in that semifinal but it was a great match and he came up just a little short.”

Maas and Bennyhoff were knotted at 4-4 after three periods and during the first minute of overtime neither wrestler could manage a takedown.

Maas selected the down position to start the second overtime and the 30-second OT ended with no position change.

Bennyhoff chose the down position for the third overtime and with 10 seconds to go in the session he worked an escape for the winning point.

“Brian was disappointed and frustrated after that match but he was able to regroup and refocus and came back to take fifth,” Bahr said.

Crosby lost his second match of the tournament to drop into the consolation round but he bounced back to gain the consolation semifinals by pinning Ferhan Abdisa of Osseo in 3:59 and downing Dakota Wangsness of Albert Lea 8-3.

Crosby (37-6) then lost 8-2 to Austin Jordan of Stillwater and, in the fifth-place match, Crosby fell 3-1 to Tanner Mills of St. Michael-Albertville.

Johnson (39-6) split his four matches. He opened Saturday’s consolation round with a 14-3 decision over Robert Tait of Faribault but his tournament ended in the next round when he was pinned in 2:33 by Ethan Loosbrock of Chaska.

“All three of our kids finished in the top 8 at the state in their weight classes. We’re coming home with two medals and that is very impressive,” Bahr said.

“Our kids wrestled a lot of matches in a short period of time,” the coach continued. “There is so much riding on every move you make at the state meet and you are always under pressure.

“But we had a very good tournament and a good season. I’m proud of all of our kids and of all the hard work they put in during the season.”

Andrew Nissen of Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena posted a 1-2 record at the state Class A meet. In Friday’s opener he lost 14-2 to Austin Anderly of LeSueur-Henderson but the sophomore bounced back to stop Cordell Peterson of New Richland by a 22-7 technical fall.

On Saturday his tournament came to an end with a 10-2 loss to Brendon Coyer of Osakis.

Nissen ended his season with a 33-9 record.

BCLB’s other state wrestlers, Daven Staples at 160 pounds and Tanner Templin at 195, lost their first state matches Friday and did not advance to the consolation rounds.