ST. PAUL - His nose bleeding and heavy black tape strapped hard across his face to stop the blood flow, Woodbury's Brock Rinehart saved the best for last Saturday.
Rinehart trailed White Bear Lake's TJ Turinske 6-5 going into the final seconds of the fifth-place match at 145 pounds. But Rinehart scored a rollicking takedown just before time expired for a dramatic 9-6 triumph.
"In the second period I caught myself on my back and that I should not have done," said Rinehart. "And I had to reroute myself to say calm, keep motioning, fake shots. I know he was looking for my fireman so I had to take other outside shots, granby, anything, just to get him off the heels and hit my fireman again and get him down on back points."
"I just knew it was a short time and I needed to go," Rinehart added.
Rinehart finished the season 42-7.
It was the icing on the cake on a final day at the state wrestling tournament in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul which saw two East Ridge and two Woodbury wrestlers finish in the top six Class AAA wrestlers at state.
East Ridge seventh-grade sensation Ryder Rogotzke won the third-place match at 113 to cap an amazing rookie season.
Rogotzke pinned Apple Valley's Regan Schrempp in a first period fall, winning in 1 minute, 54 seconds.
Rogotzke finished the year with a 47-6 record, including 39 pins.
"It's just incredible what's he's done all year," East Ridge coach Matt Everson said of Rogotzke, "He's a special wrestler, the kind you get once or twice in a career. I'm super proud of him."
East Ridge eighth-grader Hunter Lyden finished fifth at 120, defeating Adam Mickelson of Apple Valley 3-2. Lyden went 49-6 this winter.
"Hunter did really well," Everson said. "He was in one of toughest weight classes in the state with a lot of wrestlers trying to dodge Patrick McKee. ... He had a mission and we accomplished that mission."
Woodbury junior Cole West finished sixth for the second straight season at 113. West was pinned by Brandon Psyk of St. Michael-Albertville in 5:11. It was a shortened 19-5 season for West who battled back from an earlier injury to qualify and place at state again.
Brock's final match was a thriller.
"Brock finished nice," Woodbury coach Justin Smith said. "Like he said he made some mistakes in other matches, a couple hiccups. And he keeps reminding us he's in tenth grade but we keep telling him that's not an excuse. He had a nice tournament I know his goal was to place here and he got that so that's a feather in his cap. Now he has something to work toward and he understands what it's going to take to not only place but to get a little bit higher on the podium next year and the year after."
All five of the East Ridge wrestlers and three Woodbury wrestlers are underclassmen.
"Our future looks bright on paper," acknowledged Everson.
In earlier action Saturday:
113 pounds - Ryder Rogotzke lost to Ben Lunn of Shakopee 5-1 in the semifinals. Lunn finished second at 113. Woodbury's West won a 7-4 decision over Stillwater's Javon Taschuk, and then lost to Rogotzke in a 10-7 decision.
"With Cole, it was probably not the way he wanted to finish," Smith said. "He's got to learn how to mentally stay in matches even if he gets down a little bit. He's got enough tools and enough resources to come back and score points in bunches. Once he gets that frame of mind he'll be back again."
120 - Lyden pinned Jackson Penk of Sartell in a quick 28 seconds. He then lost to Minnetonka's Boyd Mumbuwa in an 8-3 decision to send him to the fifth-place match. Mumbuwa finished fourth.
132 - East Ridge's Roman Rogotzke lost a close 4-3 decision to Bret Wilson of Rogers in the consolation semifinals. Wilson finished sixth. Rogotzke lost to eventual state champion Clay Carlson in his second match to send him into consolation.
"He's been wrestling well," Everson said. "He got beat by two seniors. He finished in the top eight in the state and that's an accomplishment."
145 - Rinehart won a 7-3 decision against Anoka's Scott Springer, then lost a wild 13-7 match to Dallas Hooper of St. Cloud Tech in consolation wrestling. Hooper was fourth.
220 - Marco Cavallaro of East Ridge dropped a tough 1-0 decision to Isaiah Green of St. Cloud Tech in the consolation semifinals. Green ended up fifth. Cavallaro has been battling illness all season and didn't look himself in the state tournament, Everson said. "It's been a season of ailments for him. He just didn't have the energy and strength he normally does. He wrestled as good as he could. Says a lot about him that he finished in the top eight."