West Fargo defended its Lee Wolf Invitational title, but it was one of its wrestlers that sent shockwaves through the wrestling world Saturday night at Golden Eagles Arena.
Preston Lehmann did the unthinkable, pinning Logan Storley of Webster in the finals at 171 pounds. Storley is rated number one in the nation and had won 196 consecutive matches.
Storley was leading 15-2 and in total control of the match before an unbelievable series of events unfolded.
Lehmann somehow ended up on top of Storley and recorded a pin at 2:51 of the second period sending a buzz throughout the crowd that lasted long after the match had ended.
“He didn't move when I had the front head and I just twisted it up and he didn't expect it, I guess,” Lehmann tried to explain. “I just can't believe it. I just kept wrestling even though he was beating me. I've always been taught to just keep wrestling no matter what the scoreboard says, because anything can happen in any match at any time.”
But never against an opponent like Storley, who had never been pinned and had not lost a match since his eighth-grade season.
“I didn't think it was going to happen. I got lazy,” said Storley, a five-time Class B state champion who now has a career record of 251 wins and 3 losses. “He's a tough kid and he caught me and stuck me. I can't do anything about it but regroup and come back for districts, regions and state. At least it was now and not the state tournament.”
Lehmann, a sophomore, later received the Stan Opp Outstanding Wrestler Award after his stunning upset.
“This is going to stick with me forever,” Lehmann said.
It also proved to be a memorable night for Aberdeen Roncalli's Tyson Mitzel, who captured the 135-pound title, despite being the fourth seed in his division.
“I wasn't really expecting to make it into the finals, but I got in there,” said Mitzel, who scored a 4-1 victory in his championship match. “Hopefully, this tournament sets me up for a good state tournament.”
Roncalli coach Justin Briese said the title should give his freshman a shot of confidence the rest of the season.
“Tyson wrestled very well,” Briese said. “You get a combination of really good A wrestlers and really good B wrestlers. It's good for Tyson to show that he can compete with those upper level wrestlers.”
A pair of Redfield-Doland wrestlers remained unbeaten on the season.
Ben Gillette improved to 24-0 at 125 pounds and Brady Edgar moved to 29-0 at 130.
Gillette edged Spencer Rausch of Webster 11-10. Rausch has just three losses this season, all to Gillette.
“He's a good wrestler,” Gillette said. “It's always a great match with him.”
Edgar scored a convincing 14-1 win his final against a West Fargo foe that he edged 7-6 last year at the Lee Wolf.
“Last year I made a mistake on Friday morning and ran pretty hard. I got my legs nice and tired for this tournament and didn't perform as well as I thought I should have,” Edgar noted. “This year I made sure I rested up and was ready for it.”
The 130-pound field included four wrestlers who were rated number one within the past week, including Edgar.