LARP wrestlers bring home two medals from state

PHOTO BY SCOTT JONSGAARD A sendoff was held for Noah Herber (left), Ross Herber (middle) and Gable Speltz (right) at Lewiston-Altura before the trio left for the state wrestling meet last week.
By : 
Scott Bestul
Tri-County Record

The Lewiston-Altura-Rushford-Peterson (LARP) Screamin’ Eagles ended the 2018-19 wrestling season on a high note. Of the three wrestlers who qualified for the MSHSL State Wrestling Meet, two brought home medals.  

Noah Herber, wrestling at 195 pounds, won a fifth place medal. His brother Ross, competing in the 120-pound division, grabbed the medal for 4th place. Sophomore Gable Speltz, LARP’s third competitor, wrestled at 126 pounds but did not advance to the medal rounds. All three Screamin’ Eagles were first-time competitors at the state meet.

 Speltz brought a 29-14 record into the meet and drew Anthony Sykora (29-9) of West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville (WCAA) in the first round of the 126-pound division. Sykora, a talented 8th grader, managed to score a fall over Speltz at 4:25 to grab the victory and eliminate Speltz from the competition. Sykora lost in the next round to Mountain Lake junior  Brett Willaby, who would go on to win the state title at 126 pounds.

Junior Ross Herber brought home LARP’s first medal of the day at 120 pounds. Herber (31-7) drew Aitkin freshman Carson Kullem (31-16) in the first round. Herber prevailed in a 9-0 major decision to advance to the second round, where he faced another freshman, Blaine Fischer of Belgrade-Brooten. Though only a 9th grader, Fischer had placed 6th at last year’s state meet (113 pounds). Fischer advanced, topping Herber in a 7-0 decision that kicked the LARP junior into the consolation bracket.

Herber’s first match in the race for the third place medal was Garrett Elynck (29-11), a sophomore from Mahnomen-Waubun. Herber made quick work of that match, scoring a fall at 0:39 to advance to the next round, where he faced senior Zach Haire (33-14) of Breckenridge. Once again Herber prevailed, scoring a 13-0 major decision over Haire to inch closer to the 3rd place medal. Herber’s next match pitted him against Dane Niemi (32-11) a freshman from New York Mills. Niemi came into the match with 18 pins on the season, but Herber hung on in a close match, eventually coming out on top in a 3-2 decision.

That victory advanced Herber to the match for 3rd place, where he once again faced Blaine Fischer, who’d topped Herber in the second round. Fischer once again had Herber’s number and eventually scored a fall at 3:47 of their match. Fischer claimed the 3rd place medal and Herber placed fourth.

Ross’ older brother, senior Noah Herber, kept things going for the Screamin’ Eagles at 195 pounds. Herber’s first match was against another 12th-grader, Dominic Whitlow (32-18) of Blue Earth Area. Herber had little trouble with Whitlow, scoring a 9-0 major decision to advance. Herber’s next match was against WCAA senior Wyatt Olson (42-6), who scored a fall over Herber at 1:18 of their match. Olson would eventually win the third place medal at 195 pounds.

The loss to Olson moved Herber immediately to the consolation bracket, where he faced Matthew Kasella, a junior from Royalton-Upsala with a 14-9 record. Herber had little trouble with Kasella, scoring a 7-0 decision to advance to the next round against Frazee junior Coleton Borah (20-6). Herber prevailed in that contest, notching a 10-5 decision over Borah. Herber’s next match pitted him against Derek Werner, a junior from Wabasso-Red Rock Central (33-7). Werner held on in a tight match to top Herber 4-2.

Herber then advanced to the match for 5th place, where he squared off against Breck sophomore Daniel Erlandson (33-10). Herber handled the last match of his high school career beautifully, notching a 14-8 decision over Erlandson to claim the 5th place medal.