SPENCER - Two Estherville Lincoln Central wrestlers are headed to the state tournament this week following Saturday's Class 2A District competition in Spencer.
Oscar Ramirez (132) avenged his only loss of the season to become district champion while Blake Gjerde (145) finished second to also earn a state berth.
Ramirez started the day against Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley's 11-2 and dominated with an 11-2 major decision.
ELC’s Blake Gjerde works to escape from SLP’s Kenten Murray in Saturday’s Class 2A 145-pound district match.
EDN photo by David Swartz
In the final, he took on Spencer's Levi Gilmore, who edged Ramirez 5-3 at the sectional meet the week before.
Gilmore looked to have Ramirez' number in the early going scoring a takedown in the first period and then taking a 4-1 lead in the second with another takedown. But after Ramirez escaped, he caught Gilmore out of position, took him down and to his back in 3:51.
"In the second period I took a shot and when I put him on his back it was the happiest day ever," said Ramirez. "I want to thank all my fans and students who came to support us and I'll see you in Des Moines."
Ramirez placed sixth at 120 pounds a year ago as he makes his second trip to the tournament.
Gjerde built a 4-1 lead through the first two periods with a takedown in the first and a reversal in the second against Western Christian/Unity Christian's Zach De Jager. De Jager came back with a takedown to start the third to cut the deficit to one, but then let Gjerde escape via the alternate start. However Gjerde came up with the key takedown and ended up with a 7-4 win.
In the final awaited ninth-ranked Kenten Murray of Spirit Lake Park. The two had split previous matches this season. This time was all business, scored a takedown and was able to put Gjerde to his back in 1:25.
"I just got out of position," said Gjerde. I need to stay in better position because anything can happen against him."
This will be Gjerde's first time at state.
"It's been a goal since I was little to make it to state," he said. "It feels really good."
Other ELC wrestlers in action Saturday were Thomas Bortvit (138), Billy Snyder (152) and Chase Bonner (220).
All three had tough brackets, but Bonner was able to place third after winning his final match of the day.
Bonner lost by fall in 2:14 to fourth-ranked Tyler Dolieslager of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley. Bonner came back in the consolation bracket to win 5-0 over Bishop Heelan's Omar Marquez. It was Bonner's third time defeating Marquez.
But Dolieslager lost 4-2 in overtime to seventh-ranked Bryce Kelleher of Sheldon/South O'Brien's Bryce Kelleher so Bonner didn't get a wrestleback.
"Chase just got out of position in the first match," said ELC coach Dan Hewitt. "In the second match he wrestled tough, but I guess a wrestle back was not in the cards today.
"But Chase has really improved this year and I'm not disappointed in his season at all," he continued.
Bortvit and Snyder both went 0-2. Bortvit lost by fall in 41 seconds to second-ranked Zach Skopec of Spirit Lake Park and then lost by fall in 3:01 to MOC-Floyd Valley's Elijah Dahl.
Snyder lost by fall in 3:39 to Humboldt's Tyler Rutz and then lost 6-1 to Sioux Center's Dylon Van't Hof.
"Thomas picked it up the last couple months," said Dan Hewitt. "He's got a lot of heart and really tries. Sometimes a little try leads to a lot of success.
"Billy had some very tough kids and you can't be nursing an injury like he was," said Hewitt.