Owatonna Versus Albert Lea Wrestling Match Will Swing on Bonus Points
[UPDATE: Match postponed due to the weather. Watch for rescheduling update.] The biggest obstacle to Thursday's Big Nine Conference wrestling showdown between Owatonna and Albert Lea might be the weather. But whether the dual happens as scheduled, or moves to another date, Owatonna coach Adam Woitalla says it will come down to, "bonus points, bonus points, bonus points."
On Saturday's KRFO coaches show, Woitalla said the key is to get bonus points where you can and not give them up in matches lost. He knows the match-ups of individual wrestlers will also go a long way toward determining the conference winner, with the likelihood that these teams meet in the Section 1AAA tournament as well. Albert Lea is back in AAA after a couple of seasons in AA.
No. 8-rated Owatonna has five ranked wrestlers. The No. 3-ranked Tigers have six. While only two are ranked in the same weight, coaches may shift their wrestlers up or down or may wait until that section clash to make most of their moves.
According to The Guillotine wrestling website, Owatonna's ranked wrestlers are Blake West (6th at 106 pounds), Landen Johnson (7th at 126), Peyton Robb (1st at 160), Cade King (1st at 182) and Nick Staska (4th at 195). Albert Lea's rated wrestlers include Nic Cantu (4th at 113), Jake Johnsrud (5th at 132), Gavin Ignaszewski (10th at 138), Brody Nielson (4th at 152), Zach Glazier (1st at 170) and Brady Nielson (6th at 195).
Thursday's match is also alumni night at the Owatonna gym. The dual can be heard on KRFO AM 1390 and through the new KRFO app.
OHS won the conference dual, and Big Nine title, last season after beating Albert Lea on criteria during their in-season meet. Even though both Owatonna and Albert Lea wrestled at the Minnesota Christmas tournament, only one bout featured a head-to-head match-up. The Huskies finished ahead of the Tigers at that event.
Since the 1995-96 season, only Owatonna and Albert Lea have won Big Nine titles. Overall, Albert Lea has won the league crown 29 times and OHS has 23 championships.