Woodbury wrestling coach Gary Diamond finally felt that the months of stepped up competition paid off last week.
The Royals defeated Park 63-18 Jan. 30, and then had six wrestlers earn all-conference recognition and one make all-conference honorable mention at the Feb. 1 Suburban East Conference Tournament.
"Our kids finally started reaping some of the awards of wrestling tough competition all year," Diamond said. "We had a great, great week."
The Royals' six all-conference wrestlers are the most the Woodbury program has ever produced. The six wrestlers led the way to a fourth-place team finish at Saturday's tournament.
David Albrecht (with a 27-3 record) led the way in the 119-pound weight class. He defeated White Bear Lake's Travis Hunt in the conference championship by scoring eight third-period points. He won the decision by a score of 8-5.
Mike Weber (30-4) was the other individual champion. He won the championship round at 189 pounds by pinning Hastings' Luke Keene in the third period.
The other all-conference wrestlers were runner-ups.
Mike Giglio (22-12) took second place in the 125-pound division. He lost 7-0 in the championship match to White Bear Lake's Dan Gallmeier.
At 130 pounds, Sam Swanlund was the runner-up after getting pinned by Stillwater's Chris Anderson in the finals.
Brad Kallman (29-4) lost his final match 5-4 to Brandon Girtz from Forest Lake at 145 pounds.
Nick Borchardt (20-11), at 160 pounds, lost 2-1 to White Bear's Brian Burth in the championship round. Borchardt had beaten the same wrestler earlier in the season.
Steve Clark picked up an all-conference honorable mention by winning the third-place match at 103 pounds. He won a 1-0 decision against Roseville's Ryan Majarus.
Other wrestlers placing for the Royals were Christian Gilliam, who placed fourth at 145 pounds, and Henry Williams. Williams took fifth place at 215 pounds.
In team results, Woodbury was alone in third place for a couple matches, but fell to fourth in the final rounds. Hastings won the team competition. The Royals finished the conference dual-match season in sixth place.
Woodbury 63, Park 18
Billy Lepsche got the first win of Parents' Night last Thursday to tie the score after two matches. He pinned his heavyweight opponent in the first period to start Woodbury on a roll.
Next, Clark got a second-period pin at 103 pounds, and Steve Steigauf also pinned a Wolfpack wrestler at 112 pounds.
A forfeit win for David Albrecht at 119 pounds, put the Royals up 24-6. Giglio increased the lead when he won the 125-pound match 2-0 versus Park's Dustin Ritter.
Sam Swanlund had a second-period pin at 130 pounds, and Kallman started another string of pins when he pinned the Wolfpack wrestler at 140 pounds in the third period.
Gilliam followed Kallman with a second-period pin at 145 pounds, and Ron Pickar did the same at 152 pounds.
Borchardt won his match at 171 pounds with a pin as well, and Weber finished the night off with another Woodbury victory at 189 pounds. His win put the final score at 63-18.
"I didn't think the score would be that far apart," Diamond said. "We wrestled well. Things we worked on all week came through on the mat."
Saturday's conference meet was the last one until the Section 3AAA Team Tournament starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at Henry Sibley High School. Diamond is trying to line up some scrimmages to keep his grapplers fresh.
"As a coach, I'm a little concerned because we have a huge layoff until sections," Diamond said. "I'm anticipating that we'll be in the (section team) finals for the third straight time."