Lindstrom, Delich ready for new paths in athletic careers
The search for Eastview’s second state wrestling champion continues.
Two Lightning wrestlers competed in the Class 3A tournament last week at Xcel Energy Center, each with a chance to bring home a first-place medal. Alex Lindstrom (170 pounds) and Mike Delich (195) took third place in their weight classes, which means Adam Fokken remains the program’s only individual state champion. He finished first at the 2001 state tournament.
Lindstrom ran into eventual champion Jake Allar of St. Michael-Albertville in the semifinals and took only his fifth loss of the season. Delich’s state championship bid ended when his semifinal opponent, Tyler Hugg of St. Cloud Tech, was injured after Delich slammed him. Hugg suffered a concussion, could not continue the semifinal match and was forced to default in the final. It was the only loss of the season for Delich, who finished 36-1.
Eastview coaches contended the maneuver was legal but officials disagreed, awarding Hugg the victory by injury default. “I feel bad for (Hugg) and I feel bad for Mike,” said Eastview co-head coach Kurt Habeck. “He handled it better than his coaches did.”
The match was scoreless in the second period when Delich picked up Hugg and drove him into the mat. “I didn’t have an arm (trapped) and my knee hit first, so by that rule it shouldn’t have been a slam, but I can see how the ref saw it that way,” said Delich, a three-time state qualifier. “(Hugg) came down hard and didn’t put his arm down. I don’t blame the ref. I don’t blame the kid. It just happens.
“The coaches said there’s nothing you can do. Pouting about it isn’t going to change anything, so I just got ready to wrestle two more.”
Delich beat Felipe Ramirez of Faribault 5-3 in overtime in the wrestlebacks, then defeated Stillwater’s Conner Weiss 10-3 for third place.
Although disappointed about not being in the final, Delich said, “it would have been a tough match for first either way. I’m happy finishing with a win and happy with my high school career.”
Lindstrom brought his school career victories record to 175 with a 9-4 decision over Riley Schock of Moorhead in the third-place match. Allar, a USA Wrestling national junior freestyle champion last summer, pinned Lindstrom in the third period of their semifinal match.
“Allar is a great wrestler. He’s at a different level than I am; I understand that,” said Lindstrom, an Eastview varsity wrestler for six years. “Finishing my career in third place, 175 wins, ending with a win, it’s all worth it. I think I wrestled probably my best this weekend.”
Both Eastview seniors likely have wrestled competitively for the last time. Delich will join the University of Minnesota football program this summer as a recruited walk-on. Lindstrom will play baseball at Kirkwood Community College and hopes to eventually land with a Division I school.
Delich will compete in track and field for Eastview this spring. Lindstrom has been doing off-season baseball workouts and will accompany the Lightning on its spring break trip to Florida at the end of the month.
“I think my body is ready for a rest, and that’s one of the things baseball will do for me,” Lindstrom said. “It’s not as stressful physically as football and wrestling have been.”
Said Delich: “I’m sure I’m going to miss the competition. I’m thankful for the sport of wrestling and everything it’s given me, but I’m ready to move on and I’m excited to.”
Habeck said Lindstrom and Delich stood out for the leadership and work habits. The seniors said it was important to them to show others the path to success.
“More than anything I’ve tried to be a good leader and teach the young guys how to be good leaders as well,” said Lindstrom, who expects to come back to the Eastview wrestling room during winter breaks to work with the younger wrestlers. “These next couple of years Eastview is going to have a lot of young guys coming up and we’ll need that leadership.
“I hope that will carry on and when I do come back, everybody will still know who I am.”
Contact Mike Shaughnessy at [email protected]