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Prep report: Duluth's Wodny a double state champion

According to MSHSL records, Wodny is the first swimmer representing a Duluth program to win a state championship in 60 years.

Prep swimmer at practice at school swimming pool facility
Duluth's Grant Wodny uses a starting block during a practice on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, at Ordean East Middle School in Duluth. Wodny won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles at Saturday's Class AA state meet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune / File
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ST. PAUL — Duluth's Grant Wodny prevailed in a pair of thrilling finishes to make himself a double state champion at Saturday's Class AA state meet at the University of Minnesota.

Wodny won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, coming from behind and breaking his own school records in both instances.

The junior swam a winning time of 1 minute, 38.73 seconds in the 200. His 25.13 split in the final 50 was more than a second better than the rest of the field and helped him make up a .44 second deficit at the 150 mark to eventual runner-up Jackson Kehler of Eagan.

In the 500 free, Wodny was about a half-second behind Rosemount senior Evan Kindseth with 100 yards to go, then turned it on down the stretch, swimming a 26.38 in the last 50 to win by .80 seconds in 4:29.19.

Both times make him eligible for All-American consideration.


According to state records, Wodny is the first individual boys state swimming champion from a Duluth program since Ronald Onsgard won the 50 free for Denfeld in 1962.

Those points played a major role in Duluth's 15th-place finish in the 43-team field.

In Class A, Hibbing senior Cooper Emerson placed in two individual events and anchored the Bluejackets' 200 free relay team, which finished seventh.

Emerson landed a podium finish in the 100 free, finishing third in 46.97. Earlier, he finished fifth in the 50 free in 21.68. Both events were won by Breck/Blake swimmers, with Charlie Crosby swimming a state-record 19.57 that broke his own mark from the prelims on Friday that was less than .3 seconds off the national record held by Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel.

Breck/Blake had more than double the points of second-place Alexandria in rolling to its sixth consecutive A state title, while Edina won its fourth in a row in AA.


Wilke, Hedblom finish fifth

Grand Rapids' Dusty Wilke suffered his first two losses of the season but recovered to be one of several Northland wrestlers who placed in Class AA weight classes on Saturday at the state wrestling meet at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday.

Wilke was eliminated from championship contention at 170 pounds with a 6-3 loss to Cole Glazier of Kasson-Mantorville in the third round, followed by a 3-2 decision lost to Ashton LaBelle of North Branch. But in the fifth-place match, Wilke outpointed Johnathon Murphy of Big Lake for a second time this weekend, this time 5-1.

Rock Ridge's Asher Hedblom went 3-1 in the consolation bracket at 120 pounds to net the Wolverines a fifth-place finish in their first year of existence. The senior defeated Sean O'Brien of Totino-Grace and Noah Gindele of Annandale-Maple Lake on Saturday. A 4-2 loss to Landen Kujawa of Becker put Hedblom into the fifth-place match, which he was awarded via medical forfeit.


Hibbing eighth-grader Christian Jelle had a tough Saturday. A 7-3 loss to Kaden Nicolas of Becker in the morning sent him to the consolation section, where he lost matches to Logan Davis of Albert Lea Area (12-3) and Cash Sixberry of Big Lake (10-2) and finished sixth.


Hermantown is No. 1 seed

In an outcome surprising to almost nobody, Hermantown will be the No. 1 seed in the Class A bracket when the MSHSL state boys hockey tournament begins on Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center.

The 26-2 Hawks will play Section 1A champion New Prague (11-15-2) in the third of four quarterfinals, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night. The winner of that game will face either No. 4 Minneapolis (21-6-1) or No. 5 Alexandria (19-6-2) in a semifinal on Friday afternoon.

The other half of the A bracket pits second-seeded Warroad (24-3-1) against unseeded Monticello (13-14-1) in the tournament opener at 11 a.m. Wednesday, to be followed by No. 3 Mahtomedi (16-11-1) vs. Mankato East/Loyola (17-10-1).

In Class AA, Thursday's quarterfinals include No. 2 Cretin-Derham Hall (24-3) vs. Prior Lake (18-10), No. 3 Maple Grove (21-6-1) vs. Edina (20-8), No. 1 Hill-Murray (23-4-1) vs. Lakeville South (25-3) and No. 4 Moorhead (21-6-1) vs. No. 5 Andover (22-5-1), the Section 7AA champion.


Pequot Lakes 70, Mesabi East 34

Twenty points apiece from the Patriots' Isabel Larson and Maci Martini ensured the top seed held serve in the Section 7AA tournament.

Pequot Lakes (27-1) held a 40-21 halftime lead over the Giants and only built on it from there for its 22nd consecutive win. The Patriots will face Proctor at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Hermantown in the first of two section semifinals.

The other semifinalists in 7AA have not been determined, as the Esko/Virginia and Pierz/Crosby-Ironton games were postponed due to weather.


Braham 47, Barnum 30

Only one school starting with B and named Bombers could advance from this one, and it was Braham that prevailed in a Section 5A quarterfinal in Hinckley.

The Braham Bombers allowed only one Barnum Bomber to score more than six points: Rayna Klejeski's 16 and held Barnum to just 14 and 16 points in the two halves.

Madison Davis scored 18 and Arin Zimpel 16 for Braham (16-12). Barnum finishes the season 13-15.

WIAA Division 1 Regional Final
Superior vs. Appleton East, ppd.
WIAA Division 3 Regional Final
Northwestern vs. Baldwin-Woodville, ppd.
Section 7AA Quarterfinals
Pequot Lakes 70, Mesabi East 34
Proctor 62, Duluth Marshall 48
Esko vs. Virginia, ppd.
Pierz vs. Crosby-Ironton, ppd.
Section 7A Quarterfinals
Mountain Iron-Buhl 91, North Woods 40
Chisholm 65, Cherry 63
Cromwell-Wright 44, Floodwood 21
Ely 69, South Ridge 63
Section 5A Quarterfinals
Braham 47, Barnum 30

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