By John Nalan
In the matchup of fourth- and fifth-seeded teams, Howard Lake Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) defeated Royalton-Upsala by a 37-25 score. HLWW won five of the last seven matches to erase a 19-15 deficit after 145 pounds. The momentum swung at 170 when Isaac Cain of HLWW used a takedown with two seconds remaining in the match to edge Nicholas Liebold of Royalton-Upsala, 5-3. The Lakers followed that with a :56 second pin by Tyler Graczyk at 182 to take a lead they would not relinquish. The match of the dual was at 160, where Sawyer Simmons of Royalton-Upsala scored four third-period points – three on stalling calls – to edge Caleb Boese, 5-4. Boese just missed scoring a takedown at the final buzzer.
Top-seeded Jackson County Central (JCC) defeated West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville (WCAABE) by a 48-17 score in a dual filled with tight individual matches. The most exciting match came at 152, where Solomon Wales of WCAABE won a crazy 14-12 overtime decision over Isaiah Rodriguez of JCC. Rodriquez got three takedowns in the last 20 seconds of regulation and another in overtime, but could not overcome three escapes and a point awarded for a slam in the overtime session. JCC won six straight matches – five by fall – from 113 to 145 to seal the win.
Caledonia-Houston defeated United North Central (UNC) 35-23. At 138, Cory Scanlon of Caledonia-Houston scored six points in the final minute to grab a 9-1 major decision that was part of six wins in seven matches for the Warriors. Owen Denstad and Isaac Blocker picked up falls for Caledonia-Houston and Shawn Hendrickson and Kevin Dailey got pins for UNC.
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE) trailed Medford 22-12 after 152, but then won the last six matches – four by fall – to overwhelm the Tigers 42-22. The dual could have gone either way as late as 195 pounds. At that weight, Talen Kampsen of BBE was trailing 4-1 in the second period when he reversed and dramatically pinned Medford’s Dylan Heiderscheidt. Ethan Spanier followed that up with a quick fall at 220 and the Jaguars wrapped up the dual.
All four of the higher-seeded teams won in the opening round of the Class AA tournament. Undefeated and top-seeded Simley led the way and are joined in the next round by New Prague, Kasson-Mantorville, and Becker.
Simley overwhelmed a talented Totino-Grace team, 54-12. The Spartans got a big win out of the gate at 106 pounds when Charli Raymond won a 7-5 overtime match over Totino-Grace’s Logan Refsnider. JJ Salas upset Ethan Sylvester at 132 pounds. Overall, Simley had seven pins in the match.
New Prague survived an early run by Mora to defeat the Mustangs by a 47-20 score. Mora took a short-lived 14-12 lead after wins by Mason Nelson, Cooper Sjodin, and Nathan Nelson, but the depth of New Prague was too much. Lawson Eller, Kyle McCarthy, Koy Buesgens, and Joey Novak all had pins in the Trojan win.
Kasson-Mantorville won the last eight matches of the dual to secure a 47-18 win over Dawson-Boyd/Lac Qui Parle/ Montevideo United. The KoMets won eleven matches in total – getting bonus points in six of them – to wrap up the win early in the contest. Owen Nelson, Aiden Friedrich, and Heath Parrish had key wins for Kasson-Mantorville. The highlight for United was Holland Schacherer at 120, who trailed 7-2 in the third period when he took down and then pinned Jonah Coleman.
Becker got the best of the fourth and fifth-seed matchup, defeating Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 42-24. At 152 pounds, Ethan Duncombe of Becker sparked the Bulldog win by knocking off highly regarded Chance Abraham by an 8-3 score. Becker followed that up with pins by Adam Jurek and Owen Angell to put the match out of reach.
St. Michael-Albertville (STMA), Waconia, Hastings, and Stillwater were the winners in the Class AAA quarterfinals The four strongest teams from each corner of the metro area won decisive duals in Thursday’s opening session.
STMA opened their dual against Anoka with six straight wins that included three falls and two technical falls. Three more pins in the final eight matches secured a 58-13 win for the Knights. Mason Mills, Landon Robideau, Parker Janssen, Jed Wester, Noah Torgerson, and Logan Torkelson got the pins for STMA.
Stillwater won eleven matches against Apple Valley to roll to a 53-14 win. Stillwater’s Dylan Dauffenbach picked up a fall over Keiichi Kong in a matchup of highly ranked wrestlers at 120 pounds.
Waconia beat tournament newcomer Rochester Mayo 43-26. The Wildcats held a 29-26 lead after 182 and then ran off three straight wins to take the match. Top-ranked Max McEnelly got the win at 195. Alex Riley and Vincent Halliday then swept the final two matches for Waconia.
Hastings outlasted Willmar in the last quarterfinal by a 40-25 score. Willmar’s Braeden Erickson won at 170 over Ian Pepple, and Austin Leflay for Hastings needed only 46 seconds to take the win at 220.
Three top-seeded teams, Jackson County Central in Class A, Simley in Class AA, and St Michael-Albertville in Class AAA, all sprinted into tonight’s finals with convincing wins here at the state wrestling team semifinals. They will be joined in the finals by second-seeded Caledonia/Houston in Class A and New Prague in Class AA. Third-seeded Hastings pulled the upset and advanced to the finals in Class AAA.
New Prague won the dual of the afternoon, edging out a very competitive Kasson-Mantorville team by a score of 34-32. At 120 pounds, Isaac Pumper – who entered the tournament with just a 13-15 record – knocked off the KoMets Jonah Coleman with a big second period near fall that gave him a 4-2 decision. New Prague got another big win when Evan Farley outlasted Luke Swanson by a 5-4 decision at 160 pounds. Kasson-Mantorville rallied to win four of the last five matches, but the Trojans’ Joey Novak sealed the win with a fall at 220 pounds.
In the other Class AA semifinal, Simley won 39-15 over Becker. The matches were close, with Becker winning four matches by a total of seven points, but Simley simply had too much firepower. Brandon Morvari, Gavin Nelson, and Soren Herzog each won by fall for Simley.
In Class A, Caledonia/Houston won eight of the first nine matches against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE) – three of them one-point matches – taking a 33-3 lead. All the close ones went Caledonia/Houston’s way with Owen Denstad winning 5-4 at 132, Tucker Ginther winning 3-2 at 145, and Simon Seymour winning 1-0 at 160. BBE did rally to win the last five matches, but they couldn’t squeeze out enough bonus points and fell 33-27.
Jackson County Central won seven matches by fall, including four of the first five matches of the dual to overpower Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead 54-18. Kayden Eller got a pin in the first match of the dual at 106 and Cameron Scholten got another to end it at 285. In between, Isaac Rodriguez, Benjamin Dahlin, Nolan Ambrose, Seth Stai, and Caleb Vancura also got falls for the Huskies.
In the big school competition, St Michael-Albertville absolutely blitzed Stillwater, jumping out to a 50-0 lead before settling in for a 56-14 win. Mason Mills beat Dylan Dauffenbach at 120 and Lincoln Rabideau topped Noah Nicholson at 106. From 145 to 170, Eli Davis, Jarrett Wadsen, Jed Wester, and Noah Torgerson ran off four straight pins for the Knights.
Hastings will be STMA’s opponent in the final after they upset Waconia 38-21 in the other Class AAA semifinal. Creed Peterson won at 152 pounds for Hastings over Alex Torres. Torres had secured a takedown with about a minute left in the match to take a 7-6 lead, but Peterson got a reversal and a rideout to pick up a key win for Hastings.