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Wrestling: Elmer, Adrian and Albano punch state tourney tickets

Carl Elmer, Eric Adrian and Nick Albano backed up their state rankings at Saturday's Section 2AAA Individual Tournament in Prior Lake.

All three Farmington wrestlers reached the finals in their respective weight classes to qualify for the Class AAA State Tournament, which got under way Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

"These three have all had fantastic seasons and have high expectations," Farmington coach Jon Lund said. "I believe that each one has the goal to be a state champion. We hope that these kids are able to earn themselves a chance to place. Opening rounds are very important."

Elmer is Farmington's lone section champion after a 3-0 day at sections that included two pins and a major decision. He will be the first Tiger wrestler to take the mat in the 140-pound competition. The eighth-ranked junior qualified for state last season, but was one and done in the 135-pound bracket. He brings a 29-3 record into this year's first-round matchup against Chad Mack of Coon Rapids.

Albano is making his third straight state tournament appearance. After going 0-2 at heavyweight as a sophomore, he placed third at 215 pounds last season. The senior is ranked third heading into this year's meet, behind Mitch Hrovat of Centennial and Lakeville South's Zane Petersen, who beat him in the section finals.

"Albano lost to (Petersen) in the section finals last year and avenged the loss in the state tournament," Lund said. "I hope we get a chance to do that again this year."

Adrian make his state debut after following the same section trail as Albano -- two victories before a loss to a highly-ranked Lakeville South wrestler in the finals. The senior is ranked sixth in the state at 160 pounds and will face sophomore Richard Carlson of Mounds View (21-10) in the first round.

A pair of Farmington wrestlers just missed state berths. Seth Franklin and Will Pauling each ended up on the wrong side of a true second match, with Franklin fading after a 2-0 start and Pauling fighting his way back after a semifinal loss to top-ranked 145-pounder Dylan Ness of Bloomington.

Joe Hoeve added a fifth-place finish for the Tigers and Joe Liden and Josh Iverson each finished sixth.