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Wrestling: Tigers send five to state

Farmington’s Victor Gliva, Jamin LeDuc, Kyle Benjamin, Joe Hoeve and Taylor Venz qualified for state with their performances Saturday in Rochester.

After the Farmington wrestling team was eliminated from the Section 1AAA team tournament, head coach Chad Olson said his goal for the individual tournament was to see his team “wrestle the best it has all season.”

The Tigers did just that over the weekend at the Rochester Civic Center. They placed 12 wrestlers in the top four and qualified a school-record five for tomorrow’s Class 3A state meet at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“This weekend was the best section tourney in program history. The guys wrestled the best they ever have,” Olson said. “We peaked at the right time and it was a lot of fun to watch. I am so proud of how they competed.”

All four of last year’s state qualifiers earned return trips – defending state champion Taylor Venz, Jamin LeDuc, Kyle Benjamin and Joe Hoeve. This year they will be joined by sophomore Victor Gliva, who battled back to win true second at 106 pounds.

LeDuc and Benjamin were also second-place finishers. Venz, ranked third in the state, captured the section title at 126 pounds, and Hoeve swept through the 182-pound bracket where he’s ranked seventh in the state.

Matt Rustad, John Walz, Godfrey Mpetey and CJ Wynings each earned third-place finishes for the Tigers. Brayden Chapman added a fourth-place effort at 138 pounds.

Three other Farmington wrestlers placed after entering the tournament unseeded. Skyler Raymond placed fourth at 120, Trevor Frost finished fourth at 195 and Joe Liden was sixth at 152.

The Class 3A state meet gets under way at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.