Preston takes 1st at Rumble; Trojans 5th


Trojan 220-pounder Nathan Preston, right, shown in a recent home meet, took championship honors at the Rumble on the Red Tournament at Fargo, ND. (Times File Photo)

The New Prague Trojan wrestling team traveled north to the Rumble on the Red Tournament in Fargo, ND, and came home with a fifthplace team finish and an individual championship.

Junior Nathan Preston provided the individual honor. The 220-pounder was never challenged, winning five matches, four of them by first-period pins and the other by a major decision, to claim the title.

Preston opened with a 47- second pin over Willie Staples of Scott West, then followed that with a win over Kyle Chromy of Cambridge- Isanti.

His quarterfinal win over Logan Hortop of Faribault was by a 10-0 major decision. He followed with a pin in 26 seconds over Mitch Keeler of Foley and a pin in 40 seconds over Bryce Kirchner of St. Cloud Apollo.

“Nathan was explosive,” said Trojan coach Greg Tikalsky. “He’s wrestling on offense now,” contrasting his recent efforts to the slow start Preston had this season. “That’s the way you win matches.”

Tikalsky said Preston put constant pressure on his opponents, not letting them get any offense in.

“The bottom guys were getting no breathing room, they faced continual pressure. He’s wrestling at an entirely different level… I saw confidence in him that I hadn’t seen in awhile.”

The Trojans had one other place winner. Griffin Parriott took fourth place at 126 pounds. The freshman lost the third place match to a familiar opponent, Zach Siegle of Scott West, by a 1-0 double- overtime tie-breaker.

“They’ve wrestled four times in the last two years, and all have been close, going 2-2,” Tikalsky noted. “Both of Siegle’s wins have been in double-overtime and he never scored an offensive point.”

The two could be paired up again on Friday when the Trojans travel to Belle Plaine, and they could potentially be matched up three more times this year.

Parriott won his first three matches before losing in the semifinals to Blake Bosch of South Border, SD, on a fall with 18 seconds left. One highlight was a quarterfinal win over former Trojan teammate Trevor Westerlund, who now wrestles for Albert Lea. Parriott scored a 3-0 decision.

The Trojans had 12 entries in the varsity division and 10 of their wrestlers scored team points.

“The big difference is that we were getting pins,” said Tikalsky. “We had 36 points on pins, which was the second- most in the tournament. Without those pins, we could have finished as low as 18th.”

Other Trojans who scored points:

Nick Knutson (113 pounds) went 1-2; James Berg (132) went 4-2; Richard Reinartz (138) went 3-2; Morgan Parriott (145) went 4-2; Darick Kvam (152) went 1-2; Logan Giles (160) went 2-2; Joe Heinz (170) went 2- 2; and Zach Lafavor (285) went 3-2.

“I was happy with the way the boys performed,” Tikalsky said. “But I feel we could have done even better. We had several guys who lost tight matches. Overall, it was a great experience, it showed the boys what they’re capable of,” he added.

The Trojans will travel to Belle Plaine for a dual meet against Scott West Friday, Jan. 4. The Panthers are ranked No. 4 in Class AA, and the Trojans are ranked No. 5. “It’s going to be a great match and a great atmosphere,” Tikalsky said.

“It’s going to come down to whether we can avoid getting pinned. If we can avoid the pins, we have a good chance of winning. I’m anticipating a great match, and there will be a big crowd there, with all the wrestling fans in the area coming to watch two good teams,” he said.

The Panthers finished in sixth place at the tournament, one spot behind New Prague. Albert Lea won the championship.

The Trojans also had a number of JV entries. The top entry was Alek Nelson, who placed fourth at 126 pounds.

The Trojans will host Watertown- Mayer on Thursday, Jan. 10, in a dual meet. That was originally scheduled to be a triangular, but Chaska/Chanhassen backed out of the meet.