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Ben Donnelly, who entered the state competition unranked and ended his year with a 37-9 record, defeated Rochester Mayo sophomore Jake Hanson 3-1 in the fifth-place match to earn All-State honors in his second state tournament.
Ben Donnelly, who entered the state competition unranked and ended his year with a 37-9 record, defeated Rochester Mayo sophomore Jake Hanson 3-1 in the fifth-place match to earn All-State honors in his second state tournament.

Year in Review 2011: Donnelly, Herold-Plakut make 'state'-ments

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For Woodbury's Justin Herold-Plakut and Ben Donnelly, their second trip to the state wrestling tournament went much better than their first.

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After losing their first matches at the 2010 state meet and being eliminated on the first day, Donnelly, as an eighth-grader, finished in fifth place and Herold-Plakut, then a freshman, went 2-2 in four matches at the state wrestling tournament in 2011.

Donnelly, who entered the state competition unranked and ended his year with a 37-9 record, defeated Rochester Mayo sophomore Jake Hanson 3-1 in the fifth-place match to earn All-State honors in his second state tournament. Hanson was 34-7 on the year and ranked fifth in Class AAA.

Donnelly and Herold-Plakut, who entered state ranked eighth Class AAA at 112-pounds, won their first matches and advanced to the quarterfinals with lopsided opening-round wins. Herold-Plakut, who ended the year 40-4, beat Buffalo sophomore Cedric Jimenez 9-0 in the opening round of the 112-pound bracket. Donnelly beat Bloomington Jefferson/Bloomington Kennedy junior Hugo Felix 8-0 in round No. 1 of the 130-pound weight class.

In the quarterfinals, however, Donnelly and Herold-Plakut each fell to highly ranked foes. Herold-Plakut lost to St. Michael-Albertville sophomore Cole Sladek 15-6 in the quarterfinals. Sladek (41-3) was ranked second in Class AAA. Donnelly fell to Apple Valley seventh-grader Mark Hall, who was 41-3 and ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, 14-2 in the quarterfinals.

In the consolation round, Donnelly bounced back to beat Champlin Park junior Bobby Jackson with a pin at 2:19 to keep his second state tournament going and followed it up with a 7-5 overtime win over Owatonna sophomore Bowen Schultz (30-12) in the consolation quarterfinals, guaranteeing himself a medal.

However, after beating Schultz, Donnelly fell 4-2 to Willmar junior Alex Johannes (32-4) in his next match. A win over Johannes, who entered the state meet ranked fifth at 125 pounds, would have put Donnelly in the third-place match. But, the loss put him in the fifth-place match where he defeated Hanson.

In the consolation round, Herold-Plakut defeated Maple Grove eighth-grader Joey Neumann with a 5-2 decision to win a date with Albert Lea sophomore Lucas Hansen. However, Hansen bested Herold-Plakut 3-1 in the consolation round quarterfinals, ending the Royals wrestler's second state tournament.

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