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Four Farmington wrestlers Xcel-bound

Wrestlers (from left) Jamin LeDuc, Kyle Benjamin, Joe Hoeve and Taylor Venz will compete for Farmington this weekend at the Class 3A state wrestling meet at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Taylor Venz will have some company when the Class 3A state wrestling tournament gets under way tomorrow morning at Xcel Energy Center.

The Farmington wrestling team's lone state qualifier a year ago, Venz will be joined by three fellow Tigers who advanced through Saturday's Section 2AAA finals in Shakopee. Freshman Jamin LeDuc, sophomore Kyle Benjamin and junior Joe Hoeve all placed second at the section meet and will compete in their first career state meets when matches begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul.

"We had a great individual section tournament this weekend. In all, we had seven place-winners, which is two less than last year, but four of those seven qualified for state," Farmington coach Chad Olson said. "Our section is one of the deepest in the state and to have the third most qualifiers is quite an achievement for our program."

Section team champion Prior Lake earned seven of the section's 28 state meet berths. Section runner-up Shakopee was next with five.

Venz was the Tigers' lone section champion. He rolled through the bracket at 106 pounds with a pin and a 17-4 major decision before winning by 8-6 decision in the finals. He enters state with a record of 39-2.

LeDuc also has just a pair of defeats to his name heading into state. The freshman advanced with a pair of decisions, and then lost to seventh-ranked wrestler Colin Degrammont of Lakeville North in the finals at 113 pounds. He will take a 32-2 mark to state.

Benjamin (19-5) qualified for state after missing the first half of the season due to injury. He advanced through the 132-pound bracket with a bye, a 15-0 technical fall and a 7-3 decision before losing to Prior Lake's Ben Rock in the finals. Benjamin came back to defeat Tanner Hennen of Shakopee 10-0 in the true-second match.

Hoeve advanced at 160 pounds with a pin and a 3-2 decision before falling 1-0 to seventh-ranked Lucas Westrich of Lakeville North in the finals. Hoeve has a record of 26-14.

Matt Rustad was the Tigers' next highest place-winner. He opened with a pin, but was knocked out of the 126-pound bracket after a 9-2 decision to the eventual winner. Rustad finished 2-2 in the tournament and finished the season with a record of 26-16.

Another sophomore, Brayden Chapman, placed fifth at 138 pounds. He finished with a record of 24-17.

Freshman Mason Hawkins and senior Jamie Scavone each added sixth-place finishes.