At 160 pounds, Nathan Suhr pulls Oelwein’s Victor Garcia back onto the mat to get the 4-2 overtime win in the semifinals. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
At 160 pounds, Nathan Suhr pulls Oelwein’s Victor Garcia back onto the mat to get the 4-2 overtime win in the semifinals. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)

For the first time since 1996, the Class 2A No. 9 Decorah wrestling team is a sectional champion.

The Vikes won the sectional title Saturday at Waukon with 216 points. Crestwood finished second with 212 points.

With the win, Decorah moves on to the regional team dual tournament today, Tuesday, Feb. 5, at West Delaware. The Vikes face Crestwood in the first round, beginning at 6 p.m. The winner faces the winner of Denver-Tripoli and No. 1 West Delaware for the right to go to the state dual tournament, which is Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Des Moines.

In addition, the Vikes have eight wrestlers Vying for a chance to compete at the individual state meet. Still with the season alive are Kellan O'Shea (132), Cody Ritner (145), Class 2A No. 9 Hans Holkesvik (152), Nathan Suhr (160), Peter Kephart (170), Tyler Hovey (182), Class 2A Andy Hovden (220) and Class 2A No. 4 Austin Ashbacher (285). The top two place winners in each weight class move on to state, which is Feb. 14-16 in Des Moines.

It's the first time since 1996 Decorah has had eight qualifiers head to district competition. (Note, years when Decorah was in Class 3A the Vikes didn't compete in sectionals.)

"What a great accomplish for our team. We are pleased as coaches that everyone was able to win a match, and we had 12 out of our 14 wrestlers in the top four," said Decorah Coach Jeff Freidhof. "We, of course, are disappointed for our kids who worked hard and did not qualify for districts, but we know the eight gentlemen who did have great opportunities ahead of them on Saturday.

"We know we have a tough challenge ahead of us on Tuesday in regional duals, but we look forward to making ourselves better by having the opportunity to wrestle tough kids on Tuesday night that will better prepare us for districts and state. We feel we are building the momentum we need right now to finish the season strong."

For the complete story and additional photos, pick up Decorah Newspapers at one of the many convenient locations throughout Decorah and Winneshiek County. Or, for 34 cents an issue, subscribe to Decorah Newspapers by calling (563) 382-4221.