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BALL FIVE: The postseason is upon us

This is always a great time of year. In wrestling, the regular season is over and the run for postseason glory starts on Saturday. In basketball, the girls wind up Friday and start the postseason on Tuesday. The boys finish the regular season next week and start their second season on Feb. 27.
You know what week it also is? It’s the week Major League Baseball starts spring training. This is more important than whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not, because when the baseball players are throwing, catching and hitting, then spring is not too far away.
Now we can envision the days getting longer, the sun getting warmer and the snow melting. We can know that in a few short weeks, the track and golf season will be afoot as grass turns green and the trees spawn new leaves.
Maybe it’s because the Cubs finally made their big offseason move by signing pitcher Yu Darvish, or maybe it’s for the 57th straight year the Vikings’ season ended in disappointment, but I am ready for baseball this year. On second thought, it’s because of the Cubs. I would be ready for their new season even if the Vikings had done the unthinkable and won the Super Bowl.
First things first though, this could be a huge weekend for the wrestling Tigers. It has been a long time since the Tigers have been region champions, 1992 in fact. They are capable of pulling it off on Saturday. Defending 4B champ Philip Area will probably be the favorite going in, but they are not huge favorites, not like last year when the Scotties were 47 points better than the Tigers.
Having talked to a few of the Tigers, I know they are focused and ready to rock and roll this weekend. The bumps and bruises have healed so no one will be held back.
They should be. The Tigers are a senior-laden team. Jaden Schilling, Nathan Bauer, Stone Jensen, Jason Gerry and Carson Keller all make their last run at wrestling glory. Unfortunately, the senior class has to head into the postseason without Kegan Pearman who was lost for the season with a knee injury.
But, they are still going to lead the Tigers into regions and state. The quintet is a combined 140-36 this year. Schilling, at 132 pounds, is 33-6 and ranked third in state. Bauer, at 170 pounds, is 26-3 and ranked third. Jensen is 35-5 and ranked fourth. Gerry is 24-12 and ranked eighth. Keller is 22-10 and ranked fourth.
Four of the five are veterans in the postseason. Bauer took second in state last year, Schilling third, Jensen fifth and Gerry sixth. Shilling is looking not only for a title, but his third straight state medal. He took eighth in state as a sophomore. Keller has been wrestling like a veteran in his first year on the mat.
The underclassmen are not novices either. Junior Isaac Olson is 25-6, ranked sixth at 152 pounds and trying to earn his fourth straight trip to state. Junior Tucson Freeman is 40-12 and ranked 11th at 145. He went 33-14 and went to state for McLaughlin last season. Sophomores Jacob Steiger and Kamron Pearman are looking for their second state tournaments. Steiger is 26-9 and ranked seventh at 113. Pearman is 19-15 at 120.
Go Tigers!