Lightning best Delano, fall to Anoka

The Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling team started its dual-meet campaign, Friday, Dec. 9, with one of the most important matches of the year for Section 6AA rankings when it took on Delano in Annandale.
The Lightning did not disappoint, defeating the Tigers 45-28 despite missing several key wrestlers to illness and injury.
The 63-9 victory over Apollo, the team’s second match of the dual was expected, but ended up being even more lopsided than anticipated since the Eagles were missing two ranked wrestlers, Irish head coach Ben Youngs said.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Lightning traveled to Woodbury where ANML beat Mahtomedi in the first round 43-35, bested Lakeville North 42-36 in the semi-finals then lost a shoot-out to Anoka in the finals.
“A true team effort is one where, despite missing starters, the team perseveres because others step up. That happened, and then some,” Youngs said of the Lightning’s first match of the week against Delano.
On paper it looked like the contest might come down to 285, or that the Irish might even be considered underdogs, Youngs said, but the kids looked hungry and scrappy.
“I could tell that our kids wanted to compete. We won a lot of close battles and did a lot of little things that lead to success.”
Key victories came from Jack Klug who was fighting off his back against one of Delano’s top kids to prevent a pin; Logan Arnold who claimed a last-second victory by pinning his opponent with one second left in the match; Dom Braun and Jonah Hayes who moved up a weight class to beat “solid kids”, and Joe Driscoll who came away with a huge upset over Delano’s no. 5 ranked 220 pounder.
“These are keys, but every single kid that walks into the practice room every day and works hard contributed to this win,” Youngs said.
Against Apollo, big wins came from Trevor Wilson by fall at 113 and Cuyler Helwig by fall at 182.

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