The Guillotine wrestling website ranks Farmington 13th among the teams in Class 3A, and with good reason. The team returns four individual state qualifiers from a season ago and has five wrestlers in the rankings to begin the season.
The Tigers started the season strong last week, winning three of five duals - with both losses coming to ranked teams - but still have a lot of room for improvement as between four and six varsity regulars were missing from the lineup at any given time due to injuries and other commitments.
“We have not been competitive in the past when we have missed even one starter, but we are starting to develop depth,” Farmington coach Chad Olson said. “To our wrestlers’ credit, we had numerous back-ups fill in and wrestle with great energy and intensity.”
The Tigers came away with a 1-1 split in Friday’s season-opening triangular at Hastings. They fell 48-15 to the sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Raiders, but came back to defeat Owatonna 46-30.
“We were hoping for a closer dual with Hastings and the wrestlers were a little disappointed, but they responded well against Owatonna,” Olson said. “They made some huge adjustments and wrestled with a lot more energy. It has been a long time since we have beaten Owatonna.”
Fourth-ranked 138-pounder Matt Rustad highlighted the Hastings match with an 8-2 victory over Hastings’ seventh-ranked 145-pounder. Sophomore Eric Heusbourg added his first career varsity win.
In the Owatonna dual, fourth-ranked 145-pounder Taylor Venz pulled out a 5-4 dual over the Huskies’ fourth-rated 160-pounder.
The Tigers opened their home quadrangular with a pair of lopsided wins, defeating Rochester John Marshall (52-21) and Osseo (51-14) on the new mats at Tiger Gym.
Rustad picked up three more wins to improve to 5-0 and reach 75 career wins for the Tigers. Brayden Chapman won his 70th match and John Walz earned No. 50.
Four Farmington wrestlers - Trayton Anderson, Noah Berg, John Johnson and Zach Mayne - won their first career matches.
The Tigers were six varsity regulars short by the time they lost to fifth-ranked Anoka 45-26 in the third match of the day. The team is back in action tonight in a triangular at Lakeville North. The Panthers are ranked 11th in 3A.
The tough early schedule continues Saturday at the Ron Edwards Duals in Prior Lake where the Tigers will take on No. 3 Prior Lake, No. 2 (2A) St. Michael-Albertville and No. 1 (2A) Simley. Coach Olson called it “a grinder of a day.”