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Peralta doesn't waste time

Andrew Peralta isn't one to waste time on the wrestling mat. The Thief River Falls senior has 140 career wins. He registered his 100th career pin over the weekend at the Minnesota Section 8AA individual wrestling tournament. "There's nothing wron...

Andrew Peralta isn't one to waste time on the wrestling mat.

The Thief River Falls senior has 140 career wins. He registered his 100th career pin over the weekend at the Minnesota Section 8AA individual wrestling tournament.

"There's nothing wrong with getting a good workout, but I like to get my matches over with quickly," Peralta said. "When I get a pin, I feel that the other guy isn't as good as me. A pin - I want to show that I'm the best."

Peralta is the No. 2-ranked Class AA 285-pounder entering the Minnesota state wrestling tournament, which runs today through Saturday in St. Paul.

He's not only the Prowlers' career recordholder for pins, but one of only a handful of Minnesota wrestlers to reach the 100-pin milestone.

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Prowlers coach Kenny Geiser said wrestlers in the upper weights tend to get a lot of pins. But there's more to weight in Peralta's success.

"Andrew is an aggressive kid," Geiser said. "All through his career, he's gone after people. Some kids wrestle slower matches, content to win 6-1. Andrew wants pins. He never lets up.

"He's a bull rusher, a bruiser. The moves he has, he does them well. Rather than trying to tweak with his technique, he's gone with what he does well. He has good balance and strength. That's better than great technique and a lot of moves sometimes. And what he's done has always worked for him."

Peralta will be making his third state appearance, finishing third last season. Interestingly, while he's led the Prowlers in pins as a freshman, sophomore and junior, his 22 pins this season are second on the team to the 25 by Jordan Engen. Peralta is 37-1, winning five by decision and 10 by forfeit.

"People know how good Andrew is," Geiser said. "Instead of throwing some weak kid out on the mat who might get hurt wrestling him, they've just forfeited."

Prowlers are

the underdogs

Peralta and Steve Keogh (36-4) are returning state placers for the Prowlers. Keogh finished fourth last season. Peralta, Keogh, Kyle LeDuc (34-4), Travis Peralta (34-6) and Engen (36-4) head an 18-5 Prowlers team that will make its first appearance in the state dual tournament.

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The Prowlers meet Adrian Area in the state quarterfinals. Adrian finished third at state last season.

"We're probably favored at four weights and they're probably favored at seven," Geiser said. "Adrian is a perennial power and we're going for the first time.

"We're definitely an underdog. I suspect a lot of people think we're the weakest team there. But I don't, not the way we've been wrestling. We have momentum going. We have seven guys going to the individual tournament - we have more standouts than a lot of teams."

Fifth time for Hruby

Few wrestlers can match the state tournament experience of Roseau's Issiah Hruby.

The Rams senior is going to state for a fifth time after winning the 8AA 130-pound title. Hruby is still looking for his first state place.

"I hope it's incentive for Issiah," Roseau coach Tanner Hovda said. "He's joked a little with the guys about how he hasn't placed down there. He's not putting any pressure on himself."

Hruby (29-3), Mark Erickson (36-2 at 125) and Alex Burkel (35-2 at 135) give the Rams three individuals who have rarely been beaten this season.

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"I think all three of them have a shot at placing," Hovda said. "They'd have to wrestle hard and wrestle smart. All the wrestlers are good at state. A lot of how people do comes down to wrestling smart."

Sovde top-ranked

area A qualifier

Greenbush-Middle River-Badger senior Trent Sovde is the top-ranked area Class A individual. The Gators standout is 33-1 and ranked second at 160 pounds.

"As far as talent, Trent is as good as anybody," Gators coach Todd Bergeron said. "But there are 3-4 kids who, on any given day, could win.

"Pound for pound, he's as strong as any 160-pounder. His bread and butter is on his feet. He'll ride a little bit. But it's usually takedown, let go, takedown, let go, when he's wrestling."

Sovde is no stranger to state, finishing second last season.

Crookston's

dynamic duo

Between them, Crookston wrestlers Javier Portillo and Chris Dufault have a total of two losses heading into the state tournament.

Portillo, a freshman, is 35-1 at 112 pounds. Dufault, a senior, is 31-1 at 152. Both are Section 8AA champions.

Having two wrestlers with only one loss each heading into state "has never happened for me here," said Chad Hitchen, in his eighth season as Crookston's coach. "I asked my assistant (Murray Tiedemann) when was the last time we had two section champions and he couldn't remember. It's been awhile."

How that success translates at state remains to be seen.

"Some people have outstanding records and freeze up at state," Hitchen said. "Some kids go down with poorer records, with not a care in the world, and knock good people off. I think Chris and Javier can do well. They've done well in some big tournaments.

"Chris hardly ever gives up many points. Javier always scores a lot of points. They've been able to hang with everybody they've wrestled."

DeVillers can be reached at (800) 477-6572, ext. 128, (701) 780-1128 or by e-mail at gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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