While neither team can officially clinch the Big Nine Conference wrestling title Thursday, history would indicate that the winner's name can be penciled in as the champ. Only Owatonna and Albert Lea have won the conference since 1996. The teams meet Thursday, January 10 in Albert Lea. Varsity action begins around 7 pm with coverage on KRFO AM 1390 and the KRFO app.

The Huskies won the conference dual last season but the Tigers captured the section title to advance to state as a team. Owatonna is No. 3 ranked and coming off a solid 4-2 performance at The Clash National Wrestling Duals. Albert Lea is among the "Lean and Mean" teams receiving votes in the Guillotine rankings.

Thursday could feature Cade King vs Zach Glazier, round three. The two have wrestled at a couple of tournaments already this season with Glazier winning close bouts each time. Both are returning state champions.

Owatonna has six ranked wrestlers with Blake West (No. 1 at 106 pounds), Kanin Hable (No. 10 at 120), Landen Johnson (No. 6 at 138), Kaden Nelson (No. 6 at 145), King (No. 2 at 182) and Nick Staska (No. 8 at 195).

Albert Lea has two rated wrestlers with Nic Cantu (No. 3 at 126) and Glazier (No. 1 at 182). New rankings will be released Friday, January 11.

Also Thursday, the OHS boys' hockey team challenges Big Nine-leading Century at the Rec Center in Rochester at 7:15 pm on Kat Kountry 105 FM and the Kat Kountry app. The third-rated Owatonna gymnastics team hosts top 10 Northfield at 6:30 pm at the Gymnastics Club. OHS girls' hockey hosts Century at 7 pm on OwatonnaLive.com. The boys' swimmers and divers host Winona at 6 pm at the middle school.

Triton boys basketball plays at Medford Thursday on KDHL AM 920 and the KDHL app. NRHEG girls' basketball entertains Maple River and Triton is at Houston. Local wrestling includes Westfield hosting Maple River and TCU at Hayfield High School, NRHEG at WEM/JWP in Waterville, Medford goes to USC and Triton is home with St. Clair and Lake City.

Also read: Two Big Nine teams ranked in latest hockey poll.