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3 area wrestlers head to 1st girls state tourney

Three Steele County wrestlers - Rian Grunwald, Annabelle Petsinger and Isabella Townley – will compete in the first-ever state girls meet on March 5 in coordination with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) boys state meet.
Senior captain Grunwald and freshman Townley will compete for Owatonna at the meet while sophomore Annabelle Petsinger will represent the NRHEG Panthers.
“Being one of the people on the advisory that was pushing for the girls state tournament proposition to go through, it was a really fantastic thing for us to see and we’re super excited about the opportunity,” said NRHEG head coach Shawn Larson.
All three wrestlers finished the section tournament at or near the top of the leaderboards with one first-place finish and two second-place finishes.
Grunwald was the lone victor on the day and took home the section title at 114 pounds for the Huskies, earning Owatonna’s first-ever girls wrestling section title in school history.
The senior collected two byes before winning a 1-0 decision over New Prague and a 3-1 decision victory over Rosemount in the first-place match.
Following in Grunwald’s footsteps with a dominant day for Owatonna as well was Townley, who took second at 107 pounds to punch her ticket to the state tournament.
The freshman made a run to the second-place match by collecting two byes before winning by a second-period fall over Faribault.
Townley was bested in the semifinal match against Apple Valley by a third-period fall before earning the second-place finish by beating Hastings via third-period fall in the second-place match.
Townley said that it was a great experience to realize one of her biggest goals as a wrestler - to make the state tournament, and also said that it was fun to watch her teammate [Grunwald] have a successful day and make it to the state meet as well.
NRHEG’s Petsinger also earned a second-place finish at the section meet by pinning her way to the first-place match with wins over Simley East and Mounds View.
Petsinger lost to Stillwater Area by an 8-4 decision in the first-place match, however, the sophomore was given a no-contest win over Mounds View in the second-place match having already beaten Mounds View’s Mac Donnohue by fall earlier in the bracket.
“We are so proud of Annabelle. She has been working hard her entire career, and the opportunity to wrestle for the first time in a sanctioned girls section tournament was a great experience. What a fantastic thing to be part of the first-ever girls section tournament. Now we are looking forward to being a part of the first-ever girls state tournament,” said Larson.

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