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Wrestling: Three Tigers reach podium

Farmington’s Jamin LeDuc blanked his first three opponents and went on to place second in Class 3A at 113 pounds.

The Farmington wrestling team continued its record-setting season over the weekend at the Class 3A state tournament.

A record five Tigers competed at Xcel Energy Center and a record three made it all the way to the podium as the team improved on last year’s 14th-place finish with a ninth-place showing after Saturday’s finals.

“The program has never had three place-winners in the same year,” Farmington coach Chad Olson said. “It is a great way to finish a very successful year.”

Joe Hoeve, Taylor Venz and Jamin LeDuc all made it through their first two matches unscathed to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. LeDuc followed up wins by scores of 7-0 and 14-0 in the first two rounds with a third shutout, this time an 8-0 decision, to advance him to the championship at 113 pounds.

LeDuc fought back from a 7-1 deficit, but eventually fell 10-7 to Wade Sullivan of Lakeville North. LeDuc finished his sophomore season with a record of 38-6.

“To get to the state tournament and shut out your first three opponents is dominating,” Olson said. “I know Jamin’s goal all season was to be a state champ and it is always heartbreaking to see your athlete come so close.”

Venz also came up short in his bid for a second straight state title, but still placed third at 126 pounds. His 8-5 decision in the third-place match came over the state’s second-ranked 126-pounder, who had beaten him earlier in the season. He finished with a record of 36-9.

“Taylor Venz had another great state tourney,” Olson said.

Hoeve closed out his career with 113 victories and a fourth-place finish at 182 pounds. He won three matches at state and lost two to the No. 2 and No. 3-ranked wrestlers in his bracket.

“Joe Hoeve wrestled the best he has all year,” Olson said. “He is going to be hard to replace.”

Victor Gliva and Kyle Benjamin were each dealt tough draws and finished with records of 0-2. Gliva faced the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 106 pounds in the first round and then the fifth-place finisher in his second match. Benjamin fell to the eventual second- and third-place finishers at 145 pounds.