PEM State wrestlers and coaches smile for a photo in the Xcel Energy Center after a long weekend full of wrestling on Saturday, March 3. Photo by  Barb Marx

A SEASON TO REMEMBER

DITTRICH FINISHES SECOND, MARX TAKES FIFTH AS BULLDOGS WRESTLE WELL AT XCEL ENERGY CENTER

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The 2017-18 high school wrestling season wrapped up last weekend at the MN State Wrestling tournament, held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Four Bulldogs earned the right to compete in the tournament, by virtue of their runner-up finishes in the Section 1AA tournament held Feb 23-24.
Sophomore Joe Stucky earned his first trip to the Xcel Center this season after 3 near misses in his previous three section tournaments. As a first time state qualifier, Joe entered the tournament unseeded at 145, and in the first round drew #4 seeded Antonio Cortez of South Saint Paul, who finished the season with a 50-6 record. In the first period, Cortez scored a takedown and the first period ended with a 2-0 Cortez lead. In the second period, Cortez chose down and earned a quick escape to make it a 3-0 lead. Stucky continued to use good side to side motion on his feet, but Cortez was able to score another takedown off one of Stucky’s shots to make it a 5-0 lead. A Stucky escape closed the score to 5-1, but still down by 4, Stucky had to be aggressive. On a subsequent Stucky shot, Stucky got slightly off-balance and Cortez was able to capitalize, and put Stucky on his back, where he would eventually get the fall. After losing to Cortez, Stucky needed a Cortez victory in the quarterfinal round to continue his tournament in the consolation bracket. But unfortunately, Cortez was upset in the quarterfinal round 8-7 by the bracket’s eventual State Champion Joe Block of Mankato West, thus ending Stucky’s tournament. Cortez would go on to finish 5th in the tournament. Stucky finishes his sophomore season with a 33-15 overall record, including 18 pins, 3 technical falls, 95 takedowns, and a staggering 318 match points on the season.
Fellow PEM sophomore Riley Wingert also made his first appearance at state as well.
Wingert was one of only 2 sophomores in a 195 lb.

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