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Two Gator wrestlers return with state hardware

Gator teammates Owen Novacek and Dominik Vacura pose for a photo with state medals around their necks following final action from the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament on March 3 from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Following the individual section tournament, Gator Head Coach Todd Bergeron said his wrestlers were competing with confidence and at a high level. The result?

Seven Gators—Tony Olson (106), Bryce Bergeron (120), Owen Novacek (138), Caleb Vacura (160), Joe DeZelar (170), Dominik Vacura (220), and Zach Evans (285) –had the opportunity to take that high-level, high-confidence wrestling south after each qualifying for the Minnesota State High School League State Wrestling Tournament from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, March 1-3.

Taking the mat on March 2 for the individual portion, seven Gators went in and two came out following two days of action with state hardware around their necks. Junior Owen Novacek would finish fourth and freshman Dominik Vacura sixth.

“It was a busy, stressful few days and there were some hard-fought matches. I was proud of how hard we wrestled,” Coach Bergeron said. “It was fun to see the kids battle some of the state’s best wrestlers and not back down. Anytime you can bring home some medals you are doing something right.”

With the end of the state tournament comes the official end to another wrestling season and the careers of three Gator senior wrestlers, in Tyler Isane, Austin Maurstad, and Bryce Bergeron.

The Gators finished the season with a 16-9 dual mark and a section runner-up team finish. Its seven individual state qualifiers this season were the most for the program since the 2012 season. The program anticipates returning six state qualifiers, nine section place winners, and other wrestlers with varsity experience for the 2018-19 season.

To see full Gator wrestling coverage, including more photos, read the March 7 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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