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East Ridge wrestling: Raptors wrestlers find success in tournaments

The East Ridge wrestling team ended the 2012 calendar year with a trip to Fargo, N.D., for the 65-team "Rumble on the Red" Invitational, which also hosted competitions for junior varsity and youth divisions.

"Our young wrestlers get to see some great competition taking place on 19 mats," East Ridge head coach Hans Horning said. "It is very impressive to see - a great experience for our kids."

Of the nine East Ridge wrestlers, junior Reid Lyden was the lone place winner, taking eighth place at the 65-team tournament in the 120 pound weight class.

Lyden ended the tournament with a 4-3 record. After beginning the two day event 1-1, Lyden was able to win three matches in a row. After two more losses, including his last in the 7th place match.

Freshman MJ Okada, wrestling at 106 for the first time all season, won a couple of matches as well, but ended the tournament one win away from placing.

The following weekend, Okada was able to use those two wins and a tough loss to the top-ranked 106 pound wrestler in class A division to win the Tom Keating invitational in Foley, MN.

Okada ended the day 4-0, pinning two of his opponents and winning the championship match 4-3 against seventh-ranked Peter Nelson of St. Cloud Apollo.

"That was a fantastic match," exclaimed Horning. "MJ did exactly what he needed to do.

He was patient, he didn't force anything, he kept his cool and when he saw his opportunity he took full advantage of it. He is looking extremely tough right now."

Okada is currently 15-2, with his only two losses coming at the "Rumble on the Red" invitational. He has also won the Trinity and East Ridge Ruckus tournaments.

Also doing well for the Raptors were junior Ryan Thompson at 113 and junior Jake Trevis at 120, who both placed fourth, and Lyden who took second place at 126.

Thompson's two losses on the day both came to ranked opponents. Thompson also lost twice in very close matches, losing 4-3 and 4-0 on the day.

Lyden found his way to the finals before losing to St. Cloud Apollo's Matt Braun after succumbing to a head throw and getting stuck.

Lyden's first win of the day was his 125th career victory. He is the all-time leader in victories and pins for the East Ridge program.

Next up for the Raptors is a dual at Eagan on Jan. 11 and the Zimmerman Invite on Jan. 12.