Breckenridge Cowboy wrestlers Matt Noll (106), Aidan Ruddy (145), and Daniel Erlandson (220) traveled to Long Prairie on Saturday, March 20, to battle some of the toughest wrestlers in sections 5a and 6a. With an adapted state qualifying format this year, just two wrestlers from each weight class would punch a ticket to the prestigious state tournament next weekend.
Coming off a solid third place finish at the sectional tournament, sophomore Matt Noll entered Saturday’s tournament with confidence. Noll battled hard, but ultimately dropped both matches. Nevertheless, he had a very impressive season with 20 wins to his name.
“At 106, Matt was the perfect spark plug to get momentum rolling in our duals. He improved throughout the year and was at his best at the end of the year. Matt’s potential is unlimited. I look forward to seeing him building on this year,” said Coach Tom Haire
At 145, junior Aidan Ruddy was greeted with a stacked bracket featuring the No. 2 and No. 4 wrestlers in Minnesota. Ruddy wrestled tough in his first bout of the morning, but his BBE opponent prevailed with a third period pin. Shortly after, Ruddy came back strong with a thrilling 5-4 victory in the consolations. In the blood round, the Cowboy junior saw his season come to an end with a loss against the eventual third place finisher.
“Aidan had a very successful season with 14 of his 20 wins coming by pin. As a captain, he showed invaluable leadership both on and off the mat. Aidan is a highly motivated young man and will do what it takes to improve over the off season,” said Haire.
Senior Daniel Erlandson entered Saturday with a clear mission in mind, to win the tournament and make his third MSHSL State Championships appearance. Erlandson kicked off the tournament with a second period pin after headlocking his Paynesville opponent. In his semi-finals match, Erlandson’s athleticism was on full display as he dominated his state ranked Benson opponent 8-0. In the finals match, Erlandson found himself down 2-0 after the first period; however, he proceeded to rattle off eight consecutive points to win the state prelims 220-pound title 8-2. Erlandson’s dominate tournament boosted him to a 25-1 record entering the state tournament.
“Daniel wrestled well today. His goal is to be a state champion and coming out on top in this tournament was one of many steps to achieving that goal. Daniel has the desire, drive, and determination to make his dream a reality,” said Coach Haire.
Erlandson enters the state tournament looking to improve on last year’s fourth place finish at 220 pounds. The tournament is being held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, at St. Michael-Albertville High School.