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Wrestling: Theisen lands on State podium

Aiden Theisen and Warren Hietala held the Lumberjack banner high as the two Lumberjacks wrestlers competed at the state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last week.

Theisen, wrestling in the 114-pound weight class, was hoping to pick up one win at the state meet after losing two matches at the state tournament last season. He got three. Theisen claimed a sixth-place finish out of the field of 16.

Theisen won his opening-

round match over Samuel Moore from Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Friday.

With his confidence buoyed by the victory, Theisen faced Austin Grzywinski of Simley in his second match of the day. Even though Theisen ended up losing to the eventual state champion, he was the only wrestler who scored points against Grzywinski in the state tournament.

"Aiden went up against the senior who was more experienced than him, [and we] saw this ninth-grader get 3 points in the 9-3 decision," CEC coach Al Denman said. "This kid works so hard and has so much talent - it was great to see him on the medal platform."

After the loss to Grzywinski, Theisen went on to win two more matches before dropping the fifth-place match to Tucker Skluzacek with a pin fall. On this trip to State, Aiden grasped the opportunity to stand on the medal platform, receiving a sixth-place medal.

The Lumberjacks' second wrestler at the state wrestling tournament was Warren Hietala, a senior who would battle hard but fall in his first two matches in the 160-pound weight class.

Hietala opened up the state tournament with a pin fall loss to Kaleb Lochner of Zumbrota. With the loss, Hietala had to wrestle again against Alex Jennissen of Foley. The Foley wrestler won the decision over Hietala by a final score of 8-2.

"Warren is one of the hardest wrestlers we had this year, he fought through injuries and battled in the section tournament, came back and forced a match for true second. [That] doesn't happen very often, but he did, and it showed his true spirit and resiliency," Denman said. "Warren was the definition of a true leader and a role model for the younger wrestlers on the team. He will certainly be missed next year."

Theisen was the first wrestler to medal since Devin Reynolds and Connor Denman both medaled back in 2017.

Northeastern Minnesota was well represented last week. Zak McPhee of Proctor/Hermantown finished his dream season undefeated and was crowned state champion at the 189-pound weight class.

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