LFGS wrestlers win Lakeland title

Above The Fold Media | For the Leader
The Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg/Siren wrestling program won the Lakeland Conference on Saturday. - Photo provided
CLEAR LAKE – The first seven key wins are in-hand and Saturday presents an opportunity to grasp a trophy with the other hand.
The LFGS wrestling team earned an optimal entrance into this Saturday’s Lakeland Conference finale by concluding its dual schedule with an unblemished 7-0 record for the first time, after sweeping its three opponents in Friday’s quad at Clear Lake. The team defeated Flambeau, Cornell-Gilman and Clear Lake on Friday to secure the conference’s dual championship and become the team to beat this weekend, when the overall title is decided.
“Well, the team did something we have never done before,” LFGS coach Chris Bartlett said. “Many times we’ve come close, but never had the numbers or was unfortunate to not get the flip.
“This year we had both.”
LFGS preceded its three-meet sweep on Friday with wins over Unity, Bruce, Shell Lake and Turtle Lake-Clayton. But the recent trifecta pushed LFGS to its first-time dual title.
The opening match against Flambeau foreshadowed the team’s success. LFGS defeated Flambeau 54-16 and tried to avoid its flu, which hit the team and left it shorthanded. Nolan Johnson (106), Cory Popham (113), Taedon Nichols (126), Landyn Johnson (138), Logan Czech (160), Brody Johnson (182), Brad Lucas (195) and Dominic Caroon (285) won by forfeit for LFGS. Gavin Fredericks (145) added a win by pin in 5 minutes, 45 seconds over Hayden Heath.
LFGS then earned a similar result in its second matchup, which ended as a 54-18 win over Cornell-Gilman. Nolan Johnson, Landyn Johnson, Isaac Quimby (160), Aiden Burkman (170), Brody Johnson, Lucas and Michael Wright (220) got wins by forfeit. Nichols earned a win by decision at 132; Fredericks added another win by pin, this time over Ali Blodgett in 1:15.
And to add drama to the intrigue of winning a dual conference title for the first time, the team’s final matchup with Clear Lake provided a memorable result for Bartlett, in a good way.
“This was the most exciting match of the year,” he said. “Whoever won the dual, was the champ and it came down to us and Clear Lake.”
LFGS was put in a deficit through the first two matches, with Mitch Anderson defeating Nolan Johnson by decision and LFGS forfeiting at 113. But, Cory Popham delivered a win over Derek Kreier at 120 and Nichols added another at 126. Another LFGS forfeit at 132 cost the team some of the ground it gained, but a cornerstone win was coming at 138.
Landyn Johnson went into overtime to earn a win over Mathew Andersen, which Bartlett considered the match of the night, in the match of the year so far.
“This was two ranked kids going at it,” he said. “The last time they met also went into overtime with Clear Lake winning and both were ready for the rematch.”
The match was tied at 2-2 and after Andersen took a 3-2 lead, he was hit with both a warning for stalling and later a penalty for it. That led to overtime and a memorable win for LFGS.
“In overtime with about 30 seconds left, Landyn went in and shot,” Bartlett said. “He was able to get his arms around (Andersen’s) waist and secure the takedown.”
Fredericks got a forfeit win at 145 while Quimby did the same at 160. And despite Clear Lake getting wins by pin at 152 and 170, LFGS got four more wins by forfeit at 182, 195, 220 and 285 to finish with the 46-27 win.
“So many things have to happen for a team to go 7-0,” Bartlett said. “This is the ‘team’ part of wrestling that most people don’t get.
“The next goal is to come away with the conference tournament trophy.”

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