wrestling

Le Sueur-Henderson 135-pound senior Jason Sunderman (left), a two-time state runner-up, finished second at the Bezdichek Wrestling Invitational Saturday in Le Center.

The last two years, Le Sueur-Henderson’s Jason Sunderman has reached the finals of the Class A state tournament only to lose and settle for the silver medal.

This year, Sunderman is a senior and he’s determined to end his career with a win. The No. 1-ranked 135-pounder in the state looked strong on Saturday but not quite as strong as he would have liked as he finished second in the 135-pound weight class at the Bezdichek Invitational hosted by Montgomery-Lonsdale/Le Center.

“I’m starting to feel pretty good,” Sunderman said between matches. “I was sick right before the Fargo Tournament but now my health is good.

“I’m still trying to improve. I need to get better on my feet. I think I’m pretty solid on the bottom but my footwork still needs to get better.”

LSH co-head coach Scott Willson agrees: “That’s probably what we spend three-quarters of our practice sessions on — trying to make Jason tougher on his feet. We have saying that everybody in the wrestling room should try to improve by 1 percent every day and Jason is working hard to achieve that.”

As for finishing as a bridesmaid the last two years, Willson believes Sunderman (14-4) is ready to take that one last step.

“Now that he’s down at his normal weight you can see he’s starting to hit his stride. For the sake of the team he was wrestling up a little bit but now he’s where he should be and he’s pretty focused. I’m sure anything less than a state championship will be a disappointment to him.”

Sunderman won his first two matches by fall and major decision Saturday before dropping a 6-4 decision to Cole Kavitz of Medford in the finals. Chris Pfarr (103 pounds) and Sam Lindgren (145) won individual titles for the Giants. Josh Willaert (171) finished second.

Medford won the team title with 243 points, LSH was second with 197.5 and host Montgomery-Lonsdale/Le Center was third (176.5).

Mankato East finished fifth (128) out of nine teams. Paul Kratzke, Class AA’s sixth-ranked heavyweight led the way, going undefeated to win the 285-pound weight class.

The Cougars also had two runners-up in Mat Schnorenberg at 215 pounds and Wyatt Derynck (130). East’s Daniel Davis (152) went 5-1 to finish third, Dylan Fast (171) and Nate Roberts (160) each placed fourth and Leon Fletcher (103) took fifth.

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