Eight grapplers reach state
BLUE EARTH – The Blue Earth Area Bucs had one champion and three second-place finishers earn state bids during Section 2A Individual wrestling action on Saturday in Blue Earth.
All four individual qualifiers will contend in their first Class A State Meet that starts at 9 a.m. on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
No. 3-ranked 285-pounder Martin Granados avenged his third-place finish from last year to win the Section 2A crown in the 285-pound bracket for the Bucs lone title.
David Franta, the No. 9-ranked 170-pounder, along with Adam Legred and Zach Buseman each earned runner’s-up honors to take state bids.
“I think it is so great that we have four guys that are going to be wrestling in the tournament,” said Blue Earth Area head coach Randy Wirtjes. “These guys all worked very hard in the tournament and deserve to go.”
Granados opened up the tournament with a first-round bye, before winning a 5-1 decision over New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s Wyatt Fitterer in the semifinals.
Granados then fended off Blooming Prairie’s Trent Strunk in a 3-1 decision for the championship.
“For Martin to reach the championship, he had to get by the wrestler from NRHEG that he lost to last year to miss out on state. I thought that was great for him to get passed him and then to win the championship,” said Wirtjes. “He’s worked hard this season and deserved to get to the tournament.”
Franta earned a state bid in the 170-pound bracket with a second-place finish.
Franta earned a first-round bye, before pinning St. Clair/Loyola’s Jordan Schmitz in 3:34 in the quarterfinal match.
In a tough semifinal test, Franta then outlasted the Panthers’ No. 9-ranked 170-pounder Dillon Parpart in a 6-5 decision to reach the championship.
Class A, No. 1-ranked 170-pounder Keegan Moore from Jackson County Central held off Franta in the championship. Moore took the 9-4 win over Franta, while Parpart finished third.
“David has always worked very hard and it seems like every year has a tough bracket to go through,” said Wirtjes. “This year he did too, and that was a huge win over Parpart in the semis to get into the championship.”
Legred and Buseman each took second-place finishes, having to wrestle true-second matches to earn their state berths.
Legred pinned Blooming Prairie’s Payton Simon in 3:47 in the opening round, before claiming a 7-3 win over Hayfield’s Jackson Heydt in the semifinals.
No. 10-ranked 106-pounder Dalton Wagner, from JCC, pinned Legred 52 seconds into the second period of the championship match to earn the first-place finish in the 106-pound bracket.
Unfortunately for Legred, a 9-8 win by Grand Meadow/Le Roy-Ostrander/Kingsland’s Brenn Olson over the Panthers’ Matt Butler in the third-place match forced a true-second duel.
Legred then pinned Olson in the final 25 seconds to claim his Class A state bid.
Buseman shut out United South Central’s Jesse Meyer in a 12-0 major decision in his 113-pound opening round match.
Buseman then fended off the Vikings’ Morgan Moreno in an 8-5 decision during the semifinal match.
The Panthers’ Dillion Kubiatowicz earned the 113-pound championship with a 4-1 win over Buseman.
Maple River’s Lincoln Arndt then forced a true-second match with a 2-1 win over Moreno in the third-place match.
Buseman blanked Arndt in the true-second match, winning 3-0 to earn a bid to the state meet.
“Those younger guys had never been in this position before, that is a hard thing to come back and have to wrestle those true-second matches,” said Wirtjes. “They did a great job of finishing second, and then had to wait for those matches. That showed a lot of toughness to come back and still win.”
In addition to their state qualifiers, the Bucs also had three fourth-place finishers in the tournament.
Mike Ankeny, Jordan Stelter and Gus Phillips each took home fourth-place honors.
Ankeny opened up his 138-pound bracket with a pin of the Panthers’ Karter Sletten in 1:31 in the quarterfinals, before facing St. Clair/Loyola’s Dylan Boettcher in the semifinals.
Boettcher took the 7-1 win, sending Ankeny into the consolation bracket.
Ankeny bounced back to pin the Vikings’ Lane Canny in 1:18 to reach the third-place matches.
The Bulldogs’ Jace Bunne fended off Ankeny in a 4-2 decision to earn third-place honors.
Stelter opened up the 145-pound bracket with a 9-0 shut out off the Panthers’ Jet Wayne in the quarterfinal match.
Class A, No. 3-ranked 145-pounder Dylan Herman from USC, pinned Stelter in the final 26 seconds of the semifinals to send the Buc sophomore to the consolation bracket.
Stelter pinned the Vikings’ Chris Johnson in 3:17, before losing to the Bulldogs’ Parker Hale in an 11-4 decision in the third-place match.
Phillips was unable to make a return trip to the Class A state meet, losing a 7-3 decision to Medford’s Nick Von Ruden in the 160-pound third-place match.
The Buc senior pinned the Panthers’ Trey Hoppe 22 seconds into the second period of the quarterfinal match.
The Eagles’ No. 6-ranked 160-pounder, Aaron Trio, then sent Phillips to the consolation bracket with a 6-2 semifinal win.
Phillips bounced back to win 18-2 over the Bulldogs’ Christopher Bain, but fell to Von Ruden in the third-place match.
The Fairmont/Martin County West Red Bulls have two wrestlers making returning appearances at the Class AA Individual State Meet, while a third will take to the state mats for the first time on Friday.
Kory Brown and Joe Weber will return to the Class AA state tournament for the second time in two years, while Luis Figueroa will make his first state appearance after earning bids during Section 3AA wrestling action on Saturday in Luverne.
The Class AA Individual State Meet is set for 11 a.m. on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Brown avenged his second-place finish in the section tournament from last year, beating No. 2-ranked 195-pounder Carson Hagen from Worthington in a 5-4 decision.
Brown outlasted New Ulm’s Lorenzo Hernandez in a 5-2 decision in the semifinal match to reach the championship on Saturday.
Figueroa then earned the Red Bulls second individual championship, winning the 220-pound bracket.
The Red Bull sophomore downed Morris Area/Hancock Area/Chokio-Alberta’s David Nelson in a 6-3 win for the title and state bid.
Figueroa kicked off his victorious Saturday by pinning the Eagles’ Braxton Greenwaldt at 3:57 in the semifinals.
No. 8-ranked 152-pounder, Weber, then earned his second state tournament appearance in two years, winning a true-second match.
Weber took the 12-1 major decision over Worthington’s Vince Riley in the true-second match to clinch a trip to state.
The Red Bull senior earned an 18-5 major decision over Quad County’s Cole Hatch in the semifinals, before losing a 7-5 decision to the United’s Keith Abraham in the 152-pound championship.
Weber bounced back though, beating Riley for second-place honors.
Tanner Lange nearly earned a state bid in the 160-pound bracket for the Red Bulls, taking home third-place honors.
Lange lost a 7-5 decision to the Trojans’ No. 9-ranked 160-pounder Zach Kempema in the semifinals to go into the consolation bracket.
Lange then came back, shutting out the Eagles’ Riley Shelgren in a 10-0 major decision and then fending off Quad County’s Wyatt Hatch in a 9-5 overtime win in the third-place match.
With an 8-4 win the championship for Kempema, it forced a true-second match between Lange and the United’s Mason Kwilinksi.
Kwilinski held off the Red Bull junior, earning a bid to state with a 3-1 win.
Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther’s Class A, No. 6-ranked 195-pounder Jake Denn has earned the Jayhawks lone state bid with a second-place finish during Section 4A wrestling action on Saturday in Le Sueur.
Denn pinned Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Andrew Radke at 1:09 during the semifinal action, putting him against No. 1-ranked 195-pounder, Nathan Rose, from Sibley East.
Rose and Denn battled, but Rose managed to pin Denn with eight seconds left in the 195-pound championship to earn the title.
Denn then battled against Norwood Young America’s Jordan Kohls for true second, after Kohls beat Radke in an 8-6 decision in the third-place match.
Denn pinned Kohls with two seconds left in the first period of their true-second match to claim his state bid.
The Class A Individual State Meet is set to start at 9 a.m. on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jeremiah Colon finished with third-place honors, while Justin Gifferson finished fourth for the Jayhawks.
Colon pinned Le Sueur-Henderson’s Jordan Carlson in 4:43 to reach the third-place match.
The Jayhawk eighth grader then pinned Norwood Young America’s Ben Barth in 4:58 to claim third-place honors.
Gifferson, after pinning St. James’ Tyler Westman at 2:17 in the consolation bracket then faced Norwood Young America’s Davis Colley for third-place honors.
Colley took the win, pinning Gifferson with 15 seconds left in the first period for third.