Male Area Athlete of Week: Young’s section championship propels him to state
When Tanner Young made it to the Section 8-2A wrestling individual finals, his matchup with Sauk Centre’s Karter Wensmann wasn’t the best.
“It was a tough matchup style-wise for him,” Pierz head coach Skip Toops said. “(Wensmann) is a very defensive type wrestler.”
It took overtime, but the Pierz senior pinned Wensmann at 6:30 to claim the 182-pound section title and punch his ticket to state.
“Tanner did not have an easy road,” Toops said. “He had a tough weight. Three kids were in there who were ranked in the state and the guy who wasn’t ranked in state was the No. 1 seed. It’s kind of goofy how the seeds worked out. He stayed with his stuff and wrestled his match.”
Young’s mindset headed into the tournament was wrestling his butt off to get to state.
“I had some tough kids I had to beat to make it,” Young said.
Before pinning Class 2A’s seventh-ranked wrestler in the finals, Young defeated PL/PRB Keenan Dahl in a 9-2 decision to reach the semifinals. In the semifinals, he defeated No. 1 seed Preston Johnson of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in an 8-3 decision.
“It’s my last year so it means quite a bit for me,” Young said. “First time ever making it to state for me, so kind of a special moment.”
The section championship bumped his record to 34-3. He entered the state tournament being the fourth-ranked wrestler in Class 2A at 182 pounds.
“He’s one of those kids that gives you 100% in the wrestling room every day,” Toops said. “He’s a kid that doesn’t quit. He’s a go-er. He’s good on his feet and has great fakes. He’s a tough kid to hold down. He can be dangerous in all three positions.”
Young’s state gamplan is the same as it was in sections -- one match at a time.
“I’ve got to win my first two matches then I will be really happy,” Young said.
Young goes down to state with teammate Trevor Radnuz, who will compete at 120 pounds.
“I like Trevor so it will be fun,” Young said. “I hope he does as well as I will.”
One of Young’s favorite moves is the cross arm tilt. It’s a move he uses to stay in control.
What Young thinks makes him one of the top wrestlers in his weight class is his attitude and thinking he is going to win every match.
“We just have to that go, go, go mentality,” Young said. “That’s what changed from this year from last year.”
Last year, Young held a 13-15 record, but Toops could see his potential.
“He came in this year focused and determined,” Toops said. “He really started to believe in his ability. He busted his butt in the room and showed up early to practice. When you are willing to work hard good things can happen.”
As a leader, Toops says it is the work ethic of Young that rubs off on his teammates.
“I went out there and won the matches that I needed to and once you win matches the kids kind of follow,” Young said.
According to Toops, Young is the type of guy that when he enjoys something he puts the work in and he enjoys wrestling. In the summertime, Young poured concrete for work and went to a couple of wrestling camps to prepare for his senior season.
“When he wants something and wants to get it done, he works his butt off to get it done,” Toops said. “When he comes in the wrestling room, he is willing to do what we ask him to do and is willing to do it as long and as hard as we want him to and that’s always a great example.”
Other notable performances:
Wrestling: Owen Bjerga, Staples-Motley, champion at 160 pounds in Section 6-1A.
Craig Orlando, Verndale, champion at 285 pounds in Section 6-1A.
Marshall Larson, Aitkin, champion at 106 pounds in Section 7-1A
Michael Fitzpatrick, Crosby-Ironton, champion at 170 pounds in Section 7-1A.
Austin Litke, Little Falls, champion at 106 pounds in Section 8-3A.
Gabe Nagel, Little Falls, champion at 170 pounds in Section 8-3A.
Basketball: Brady Raph, Pine River-Backus, scored 22 points against McGregor and 34 points Swanville.
Carsen Turk, Crosby-Ironton, scored 20 points against Mesabi East.
Mannie Ukutegbe, Aitkin, scored 21 points against Staples-Motley.
Alex Morgan, Pequot Lakes, scored 22 points against Park Rapids.
Spencer Schafer, Pillager, scored 22 points against Menahga.
Peter Schommer, Pierz, scored 23 points against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Louis Bueckers, Pine River-Backus, scored 21 points against McGregor.
Alex Gwost, Little Falls, scored 20 points against Cathedral.
Hunter Nissen, Aitkin, scored 23 points against Eveleth-Gilbert
Hockey: Dane Couture, Little Falls, notched 30 saves in the Section 6-1A semifinals against Alexandria.
Highlights: Section 8-2A champion at 182 pounds to get to state.