Gator sophomore wrestler Dominik Vacura made some history. He became one of 42 individual wrestling state champions crowned at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament on March 2 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, earning the fifteenth individual state wrestling title in program history.
Seeded number one at the 220-pound weight class, Vacura began his state tournament title run with 15-7 victory over Crosby-Ironton’s Taylor Eigenheer and a pin over Windom/Mountain Lake’s Jabari Carlton. These two victories ensured Vacura of his third state medal, placing fifth and sixth the two previous seasons.
Advancing to the semifinals last season, but falling, Vacura would advance to his first state finals with an 10-1 major decision over an opponent he pinned earlier in the season– Kenyon Wanamingo’s Kaya Lindell. This set up a match-up with a familiar opponent, in Frazee’s Luke Tweeton.
These two wrestlers faced one another four times during the season. Vacura won three of these meetings, but this one would come with higher stakes. Leading 1-0, Vacura would score a takedown at the edge of the mat to take a 3-0 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the second period. Vacura went into the third period leading 3-1 and surrendered an escape early in the third to see his lead trimmed to 3-2. He battled off Tweeton’s attempts at a match-leading takedown, getting warned for stalling with 15 seconds left in the match, but hanging on for the 3-2 victory.
Vacura hugged both Head Coach Todd Bergeron and Assistant Coach Isaac Novacek as he came off the mat, claiming the first individual state title in program history since Alex Yeager in 2011.
“Dominik wrested a tough match and it was a typical Vacura-Tweeton match,” Coach Bergeron said. “Winning a state title brings a lot of emotions and is something that stays with you the rest of your life.”
Earning his second career state medal, Gator senior Owen Novacek finished third at 145 pounds and passed older brother Isaac Novacek for third in career wins in program history with 188, securing it in his third-place match victory. Gator freshman Caleb Vacura finished sixth at 160 pounds to pick up his first career state medal.
As a team, the Section 8A Champion Gators dropped two duals in Class A State Tournament team action on February 28. The Gators fell to the Section 4A Champion Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons, 42-22, and the Section 1A Champion Goodhue Wildcats, 32-21, to finish the regular season with a 19-11 dual record.
To see complete Gator Wrestling state tournament coverage and all Gator sports coverage, read The Tribune in print or online.