State’s great!

Panther wrestling captains Anthony Axford, Nash Mayer, and Jake Byrne accept the Class A Third Place trophy.

Wrestlers take down team tourney drought with third-place hardware

Beaming Panther wrestlers held their prize aloft with firm grips, Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

And why not?

In their first team state tournament ever, the athletes weren’t about to let go of their Class A third-place trophy.  The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove team earned the honor, after defeating Long Prairie-Browerville.

The Panther wrestling program had previously come close to qualifying for the state team competition, but never sealed the deal.

“Finishing third was a great accomplishment by this team, and something to build on for next year,” said Coach Karl Campbell.  “I don’t ever want the kids to be satisfied unless they finish with a state championship, team wise or individually, but at the same time they have a lot to be proud of with a 3rd place trophy.”

Six Panther wrestlers—Ayden Horner,  Dereck Ellingson, Anthony Axford, Nash Mayer, Austin Buchholz, and Tyler Timm—qualified for the individual Class A  tournament as well on Friday and Saturday.

Details are reported in a 10-page state tournament edition inside this newspaper.