ST. PAUL — Perham's Ty Moser looked into the crowd at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. He knew exactly who he was looking for after he won a Minnesota Class 2A state wrestling championship at 195 pounds.
He was looking for his mom and his family.
"They've been there every step of the way, supporting me, dealing with me when times get tough," Moser said. "I know it hasn't been easy on them and the support they've given me makes all the difference."
It was the first individual state title for Perham since 2007 and Moser was the final hope this season for the Yellowjackets to break that drought.
Perham's Dylan Fudge lost 11-2 in the 152-pound championship match.
Moser has trained with teammate Zach Peterson since seventh grade. He had to take the mat right after Peterson was pinned in the state championship match at 182 pounds.
"To see a dream crushed like that, it's heartbreaking when you come so close to a guy like that," Moser said. "It's a big day, a lot of big matches, and you just gotta stay focused on yourself and what you can do out there."
The top-seeded Moser got an escape early in the second to take a 1-0 lead on No. 3 seed Grant Parrish of Kasson-Mantorville. Moser got a hold of Parrish's leg in the second and Parrish didn't have a chance, as Moser took a 3-0 lead. He held him off in the third for a 5-3 decision to cap a 46-0 senior season.
"It's a great individual accomplishment, but it's a great testament to my coaches and my teammates," Moser said. "I'd be nowhere without them. I'm going to be eternally grateful for what they've done for me over the past few years."
When Moser heard his older brother yelling in the final 20 seconds of his match he knew he had done it, especially considering his brother isn't a big talker.
"It's a dream come true," Moser said. "That's year and years in the making, so it's unreal."
Thompson, Orlando go back-to-back
Detroit Lakes never had a state wrestling champion until Isaiah Thompson broke the drought last season with a Class 2A state championship at 170 pounds. The Lakers decided not to hang anything up in the wrestling room until Thompson graduates.
Smart move, considering they may have to make room, as the junior added another state title at 170 pounds Saturday.
He celebrated on the mat with a backflip.
"It felt really good, really, really good," Thompson said.
Thompson was the No. 1 seed and No. 3 seed Nolan Wanzek gave him all that he could handle. The Simley junior held it scoreless after the first period and tied 2-2 after the second period. Thompson got an early escape in the third and added a takedown with 17 seconds remaining to seal the 5-3 win.
After every practice this season, Detroit Lakes coach Rob Ullyott would tell Thompson to stay after and do more work. Thompson didn't like it at the time, but he knew where it could put him. The work put him on top of the podium Saturday.
"I knew what the purpose of it was," Thompson said. "He is like the best coach ever."
Verndale's Craig Orlando was also a returning state champion. The junior left Xcel Energy Center a Class 1A state champion again.
The top-seeded Orlando didn't let any wrestler out of the second period. He won four matches with four pins, three in the second period and one in the first. He won the state championship over Adrian Area's Scot Edwards with a pin 3 minutes, 24 seconds into the match.
Just as he did last year, he went into the crowd and hugged what seemed like the entire town of Verndale.
"It's close to the entire town," Orlando said with a laugh.
Orlando was the top-ranked wrestler all season. He showed why.
"You just gotta wrestle as hard as you can the whole year," Orlando said. "It feels good because I'm the first ever from my school to win two."
Frazee's Luke Tweeton lost a 3-2 decision in the Class 1A state title match at 220 pounds to top-seeded Dominik Vacura of Badger-Greenbush-Middle River to round out area wrestlers.