The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 1, 2013

West wrestler Jakes advances to state semifinals

ST. PAUL — He’s healthy, he’s focused, he’s primed for an excellent state tournament run.

Mankato West senior Tyler Jakes was impressive in his first two state tournament wrestling matches Friday, earning a technical fall against St. Paul Harding’s Todd Fairbanks and pinning Fairmont’s Kory Brown. The effort advanced Jakes into today’s semifinal round at 195 pounds.

“The big difference between this year and last year is that this is it,” Jakes said. “This is my last shot. I.m just giving it everything I have.”

Another big difference is his health. In last year’s state tournament he injured his ankle right away and was hobbled for the rest of the tournament. Despite the injury he managed a fifth-place finish.

In his win over Fairmont’s Brown on Friday, he used his opponent’s aggressiveness against him.

“He kept coming straight at me,” Jakes said. “I knew if I stepped outside I could get the single (leg takedown) against him. That’s what was doing until I got the pin.”

Jakes, who flirted with dropping to 182 for the postseason, said he’s glad he decided to stick with 195.

“Not having to worry about the weight makes a big difference,” he said. “I just feel stronger and I have more energy than would have if I was cutting a lot of weight.”

Next up for the fifth-ranked Jakes is a semifinal bout against second-rated Lance Benick of Totino-Grace. Jakes said he’s looking forward to the match.

“He won my weight class last year, that’s really all I know about him. We’ll just go out and see what happens.”

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