Willmar Cardinals get back to state dramatically

Daunte Castellano’s pin at 285 lifts Willmar past Bemidji 33-25 in the 8AAA final

BRAINERD — Daunte Castellano was flying high.

The Section 8AAA wrestling team championship came down to the 285-pound match with second-seeded Willmar holding onto a slim 27-25 lead against top-seeded Bemidji. It was unfamiliar territory for a heavyweight on a team where team wins and losses are usually determined before he goes on the mat.

Castellano’s night nearly ended in disaster as Thomas Paquette got the Cardinals’ junior in a near-fall.

“I was kind of scared when he got me on my back like, oh no, I don’t know what to do,” Castellano said. Continue reading at wctrib.com →

Minnesota teen lighting up wrestling mat — despite missing most of his right arm

Willmar high school junior Carson Eichhorst is doing well for the Cardinals, one of three sports he participates in while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

WILLMAR, Minn. — In a sports-crazed family, Carson Eichhorst more than holds his own.

And though he was born without a full right arm, Carson has always found a way to make it work on the athletic front.

A junior at Willmar high school, Carson is a wrestler at 113/120/126 pounds who has seen time on both varsity and junior varsity this winter.

He’s also a goalkeeper for the boys soccer team. And he’s a high jumper and throws discus for the track and field team.

“Since I was born this way, it’s the only thing I’ve known,” Carson said. “I’ve never had to make any real adjustments; I just found a way whenever I was little and stuck with it.” Continue reading at dglobe.com →

BBE is area’s best state bet

Willmar, United, Paynesville and KMS also are serious state tournament contenders as teams gear up for section meets

In just a month, the field will be set for the state wrestling tournament.

Section meets get underway in mid-February, with team tournaments kicking things off, followed by the individual tournaments.

In the Jan. 12 rankings from The Guillotine, only one West Central Tribune area team is ranked, with Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa coming in fifth in Class A. But, there’s plenty of teams on the cusp of being ranked with Willmar in Class AAA, Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley/Montevideo in AA, and Paynesville and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in A. Twenty-six area wrestlers are currently ranked, but that could change Thursday when new rankings are released.

The season comes to a head at the Xcel Energy Center, with the team tournament on March 2 and the individual tournament on March 3-4. Continue reading at wctrib.com →

No easy road for Willmar

Ranked Cardinals look to be battle-tested throughout ‘the 22-’23 season

WILLMAR — The Willmar wrestling team isn’t going to make anything easy on itself this season.

The standards remain high for the Cardinals. They are ranked 12th in the Class AAA preseason poll in The Guillotine, a statewide wrestling publication. Willmar’s looking to win its 10th straight Central Lakes Conference championship and extend its 73-dual match win streak in the CLC.

And along the way, they’ll wrestle high-caliber teams with the goal of making a state-wide impact.

“We have a whole bunch of tough matches scheduled for our guys,” said Willmar head coach Ed Oehlers. “We stuck in some duals that have a good balance and have tough teams like ours.” Continue reading at wctrib.com →