Wabasso senior Derek Werner capped off a solid two-year stretch with a fifth-place finish Feb. 29 at the Class A state wrestling meet in St. Paul.
Werner (36-6) – who finished second at the Section 3A meet – opened up against Section 5A champion Michael Doubek of BBE who had defeated Werner earlier in the season.
This time however, Werner would take an early lead and go on to post a 6-2 win to move into the quarterfinals. There, he battled Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Ethan Kovars and would sport a 5-2 decision to move into the semifinals for the second straight year.
In the semifinals, he met up with top seed Luke Tweeton (46-3) of Frazee and would hang around in the first two periods before Tweeton took control in the third en route to an 11-3 major.
In the consolation bracket, he lost to Zane Swanson by a a 7-1 decision, but in the fifth-place match he dominated his way to an 8-3 win over Elliott Mann of New York Mills.
It was the second straight top five finish (he finished fourth as a junior) for Werner.
“Derek had 97 career wins and really was a student of the sport,” Coach Brett Bartholomaus said. “He works very hard and has a passion for competing in wrestling and that should be a positive for him in the future.”
Fellow senior Lance Wagner (31-7) – who also finished second at the Section 3A meet – had a tough first round match-up against Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale’s Gideon Ervasti (38-5). He jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead but was caught and pinned in the second period.
He was then eliminated when Ervasti lost in the quarterfinals.
“Lance was wrestling as well as I’ve seen him all season and unfortunately got thrown in the second period,” Bartholomaus said. “I’m proud as can be of him and his effort, he put together a very successful senior season.”