Strength rules for Yliniemi
Tayler Yliniemi is a wrestler with more than just brute strength. However, it's hard to ignore the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior's power on the mat. "It's not just his physical ability, because he has a good head on his shoulders," D-G-F coach J...
Tayler Yliniemi is a wrestler with more than just brute strength.
However, it's hard to ignore the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior's power on the mat.
"It's not just his physical ability, because he has a good head on his shoulders," D-G-F coach Jesse Barnacle said. "But he's got the power to really crunch a guy."
Yliniemi is 23-2 on the season, and turned some heads by taking second at 189 pounds at the Rumble on the Red.
His only two losses on the year are to Jayd Docken of Winner, S.D. - in the title match at the Rumble - and Perham's accomplished
189-pound monster named Nate Schmitz.
"You know any match could go either way, but you have to learn from all of them," Yliniemi said. "At the beginning of the season, the goal was a state championship.
"That's what we're aiming for."
Yliniemi was fifth in the 189-pound weight class at the state tournament last year, and is ranked second in the state at the same weight this season. Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg standout Joel Bauman is ranked No. 1.
The D-G-F senior hasn't wrestled Bauman this season, but lost to the K-M-S junior twice last year.
"Both were in overtime," Yliniemi said with a laugh. "We knew going in that we could meet up again, then we both lost to the same kid."
Yliniemi is a multi-sport standout for the Rebels. He was the team's top running back last fall, and is a talented catcher on the baseball team.
Barnacle said it's that athleticism that has led to his steady improvement on the mat over the past few years.
"He's an athlete that's been impressive in a lot of sports, and he's been in a lot of pressure-packed situations," Barnacle said. "He doesn't run into a lot of positions in sports he hasn't already dealt with.
"He's worked hard for all of this, and it's paid off in a lot of different things."
The main goal for this wrestling season is a state championship, which will likely go through Bauman somewhere along the line.
But both Barnacle and Yliniemi believe a state title is well within the senior's reach.
"We definitely had high expectations for him after last year's meet," Barnacle said. "He ended up fifth, and there were a couple tight matches down there that could've gone either way."
With 128 career victories, Yliniemi has an outside chance of catching Davey Kosen for the school's all-time wins mark of 146.
"That was a goal, too, but I'm going to probably have to win the rest of them to get there," Yliniemi said.
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