Victor Franco wrapped up his high school wrestling career short of the ultimate goal, but better than some expected.
The Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield senior lost to Albert Lea Area’s Logan Davis by pin in the third place match at 120 pounds during the State Class AA Wrestling Tournament Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
DC/L’s other state tournament entrant, Tate Link, finished sixth at 182 pounds.
Seeded sixth for the tournament, Franco finished better, posting a 4-2 record during his third trip to state. Franco also finished fourth at state during his sophomore year.
Franco missed much of this season due to injury, and he entered the state tournament with a 14-4 record after finishing runner-up in the Section 6AA tournament.
Franco opened this year’s tournament in a big way, rolling to a 14-4 win over South St. Paul’s Shane Schwab, who had a 34-18 record coming in.
That win put Franco into the next round against a familiar foe — Tegan Sherk of St. Francis. Franco and Sherk met in the Section 6AA finals one week earlier, with Sherk coming away with a 14-5 decision. Sherk, ranked second in the state in Class A at 120 pounds, continued his mastery in the state tournament as he pinned Franco in 4:45. Sherk went on to finish second in the state.
Franco needed to win his next two matches to stay in contention for some sort of state tournament hardware. And Franco responded. He beat Nolan Campbell of Rock Ridge 8-2 in the first consolation round, then Mason Nelson of Mora 10-3 in second round of consolation.
He stayed on pace in the consolation semifinal match with a 10-5 decision over Mound Westonka’s Cole Munsterteiger, getting him into the third-place match.
During his run through the wrestlebacks, Franco also picked up his 100th career win.
Link entered the state tournament as the third seed and started well, earned a 15-5 major decision over Jacob Williams of Aitkin. He continued his run with a 10-5 decision over Hunter Gibson of Morris Area/Hancock/Chokio-Alberta.
But in the state semifinals, Link suffered an injury and defaulted to Simley’s Travis Smith, the eventual state champion. The injury kept Link from wrestling the rest of the tournament, but after two injury defaults, who still wound up sixth in state.
A year ago, Link finished fourth at 182 pounds.