Area grapplers set for state meet
FAIRMONT – The perfect end to a perfect season.
Adam Cooling will lock his sights on capturing his second consecutive state championship when he guides nine other area wrestlers onto the Xcel Energy Center mats in St. Paul on Friday.
The Madelia/Truman/ Martin Luther senior standout will seek to cap his fifth appearance in the Class A individual state meet with back-to-back gold medals and an undefeated record.
Cooling, who earned the Class A 145-pound state crown a year ago, will put his No. 1 ranking and 40-0 mark against No. 9-ranked Alex Hatch (39-1) of BOLD during the 160-pound preliminaries at 1 p.m. Friday.
If Cooling’s quest for perfection remains intact after his opening match with Hatch, the Jayhawk grappler would tie up with the winner between No. 3-ranked Mitch Lange (38-1) of Royalton/ Upsala and Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena’s Daven Staples (28-6) in the Class A quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday.
In the opposite half of the 160-pound bracket, No. 7-ranked Carter Hanson (34-4) of Blue Earth Area will open his third and final state wrestling appearance against No. 5-ranked Tomm Ingle (32-4) of Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in Friday’s preliminaries.
If the Buc senior sensation defeats Ingle, he would square off against either Matthew Whitcomb (25-16) of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City or Goodhue’s Jacob Blattner (29-8).
Ironically, two area wrestlers – Blue Earth Area junior Kysten Zierke and MTML sophomore Jake Denn – will be pitted against one another during Friday’s Class A 195-pound prelims.
The No. 4-ranked Zierke carries a 25-1 record into his second straight state individual meet, while Denn makes his debut at the Xcel Energy Center with a 24-17 mark.
The winner between Zierke and Denn will face either No. 5-ranked Mitch Mesmaan (28-3) of Holdingford or Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Jorge Munoz-Pederson (31-11) in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Sibley East junior Nathan Rose (38-0) will look to defend his Class A 195-pound championship from a year ago.
Blue Earth Area junior Gus Phillips, who qualified for the 2012 Class AA individual state meet as a member of the Montgomery- Lonsdale/Le Center team, and MTML senior Bryon Forstner each will be making their second state appearances in a row.
The No. 8-ranked Forstner (30-6) will open the Class A 132-pound bracket against Aitkin’s Noah Landrus (19-16), while Phillips (29-7) locks up with No. 10-ranked Jordan Gombos (11-1) of Holdingford in the 170-pound prelims.
If Phillips advances, he would face either No. 3-ranked Maverick Whitcomb (36-3) of ACGC or Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah’s Derek Nordick (26-15) in Friday’s quarterfinals.
A first-round victory by Forstner would pit the Jayhawk senior against either No. 3-ranked Harvey Friederichs (41-2) of Chatfield or ACGC’s Tyler Berghuis (14-4) in quarterfinal action.
In the Class AA field, Fairmont/Martin County West senior standout Trevor Schultz guides three Red Bull teammates into Friday’s 9 a.m. individual state prelims at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The No. 1-ranked Schultz, who captured fourth-place medalist honors at 106 last season on the heels of a state runner-up showing at 103 in 2011, puts his 38-4 record against Annandale/Maple Lake’s Nate Carlson (24-7) in the first tier of the opening individual rotation at 106.
If Schultz proves victorious in the prelims, he would face either No. 3-ranked Paul Fitterer (40-2) of Cannon Falls or Grand Rapids eighth-grader Cole Jones (31-6) in the Class AA quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday.
FHS/MCW’s trio of Joe Weber, Kory Brown and Colton Hines also will look to contend for a spot on the medal podium starting at 9 a.m. Friday.
The No. 8-ranked Weber (35-6) opens 152-pound action against No. 9-ranked Mark Sontag (30-5) of Chisago Lakes Area.
If Weber makes his state debut a successful one out of the starting gate, the Red Bull junior would tie up with either No. 7-ranked Josh Selly (32-7) of Tri-City United/Cleveland or Fergus Falls’ Dane Ringquist (25-10) in the 152-pound quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Brown (23-13) will make his state wrestling debut against No. 8-ranked Zack Sundly (30-6) in the 195-pound division.
The winner between Brown and Sundly will reach the quarterfinals and square off against either No. 5-ranked Tyler Jakes (33-1) of Mankato West or St. Paul Harding’s Todd Fairbanks (26-8).
Ironically, No. 1-ranked Broc Berge (41-2) of Kasson-Mantorville – the defending Class AA state champion at 195 – and Totino Grace’s No. 2-ranked Lance Benick (37-1), who won the 182-pound state crown a year ago, headline the talent-laden weight bracket.
No. 3-ranked Hines (29-6) will make his state wrestling debut by locking up with Monticello’s Brent Riddle (26-14) in the Class AA heavyweight prelims on Friday.
If Hines produces a first-round victory, the Red Bull senior would battle the winner between No. 5-ranked Preston Woods (27-3) of South St. Paul and Delano freshman Kevin Kneisl (16-11).
All individual wrestleback matches will be held at 8 p.m. Friday night before returning to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The third- and fifth-place matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, with the state championships set for 7:30 p.m.