Coming into this week, the mentality shifted in the wrestling rooms as East Ridge and Woodbury prepared for the individual section tournament on Friday and Saturday. The focus on this week was to solidify the small things in each of the wrestlers to make sure they earned one of the top two spots in each of the weight classes.
Those two spots would qualify the wrestler to the state tournament next week. After the two-day tournament at Bloomington Kennedy on Friday and Saturday, the Raptors will be sending seven wrestlers and the Royals will be sending five wrestlers to state next weekend.
These 12 wrestlers will compete in seperate weight classes on Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.
After winning the team section tournament last weekend, East Ridge took over the majority of the top seeds in the individual brackets. The majority of them made their way to the championship match of their weight classes.
In the 106-pound bracket, Matt Hogue made his way to the championship match by defeating Parker Elftmann from Bloomington Kennedy and Josh Route from Hastings. He faced off against Park's Zach Silvis in the championship and lost in a close 7-6 match.
Hogue came battling back in the second-place match as he earned a spot at the state tournament with a technical fall against Woodbury's Alex Braun.
The 113-pound match went well for the Raptors as Johnny LaCore earned the second seed. He won his way to the championship match with wins over Park's Braden Lettner and Hastings' Aiden Erickson.
LaCore found his way to the top of the podium with a pin in the championship match against Henry Sibley's Owen Langfield and will be heading to state.
Vito Massa will also be representing East Ridge at state in the 126-pound weight class with a second-place finish. He worked his way to the championship match with wins over Ryan Gainer from Cretin-Derham Hall and Will Bents from Woodbury.
Massa lost in a major decision in the championship against Lynden Wilson from Hastings, but was automatically qualified for second place to reach state.
In the 132-pound class, Ryder Rogotzke earned the top seed and proved it with his dominating performance over the weekend. He defeated Derrick Eager from Bloomington Kennedy and Jesse Mimbach from Hastings to reach the championship and pinned Michael Murphy from Eagan in the first minute and a half.
Rogotzke will be heading to state next weekend with his brother, Roman Rogotzke, too. Roman earned the top seed in 152-pound class and dominated his bracket. He took out Noah Stejskal from Eagan and Andrew Diaz from Park to reach the championship and defeated Mac Wilson from Hastings with a 12-5 decision to reach state.
Hunter Lyden was pretty quick with his matches over the weekend as he pinned every opponent and will head to the state tournament in the 138-pound weight class. He defeated Gunnar Nelson from St. Paul Central and Cade Johnson from Woodbury to reach the championship and continued his dominance against Andrew Wick from Eagan to end up first.
Royce Hogue was another top seed for East Ridge and missed the cut by one place in 145-pound class. He reached the championship match, but lost to Ty Gage from Eagan and had to fight in the second-place match to earn a spot at state.
He fell 5-0 to Park's Solomon Lankow and will not be competing at state this season.
Another top seed for East Ridge was Ethan Pittman from 170-pound class, but he was upset in the semifinals to Levi French-Amara from Henry Sibley to go into the consolation bracket.
Pittman made his way to the third-place match and lost to Park's Edric Waindim to be eliminated from the bracket.
Lastly, Marco Cavallaro showed his presence in the heavyweight class as he pinned his two opponents to win the bracket. First, it was Tre Hockenberger from Woodbury and then he pinned Luke Chamberlain from Hastings in the championship match. Cavallaro will head to state to complete his senior year.
Along with East Ridge, Woodbury had a handful of top seeds that showed their dominance in their respective weight classes to earn a trip to state.
Alex Braun had an impressive season at 106-pounds as a seventh-grader. He lost in the semifinals to Park's Zach Silvis, but fought his way to the second-place match and a possibility at state.
He fell to East Ridge's Matt Hogue in the match, but learned so much this season to build upon for his eighth-grade season next year.
Cole West earned the top seed in the 120-pound class with a 32-3 record this season. He showed why he deserved the top seed by dominating the bracket with two pins and one technical fall to earn first place and a spot at state his senior year.
West pinned Josh Phillips from Henry Sibley and then tech fall on Vincent Mueller from East Ridge to reach the championship match. In about a minute and a half, West pinned Matt Myers from Hastings to win the bracket.
Will Bents had a strong showing this weekend in the 126-pound weight class, but was one wrestler short of reaching the state tournament. He lost in the semifinals and fought his way through the consolation bracket to earn third place.
Brady Moesenthin had the same situation as he came up one spot short of state. He lost in the semifinals at 132-pounds and fought his way through the consolation bracket to earn third place overall.
Brock Rinehart also earned the top seed in the 160-pound weight class and showed his dominance over the course of two days. He started off with pins against Noah Kipp from Eagan and Adrian Shanahan from St. Paul Central to reach the championship match.
Then, Rinehart finished off Isaac Grams from Bloomington Kennedy with a technical fall to earn first place and a spot at state next weekend.
Ahmed Abdelal will be joining Rinehart at state as he finished second in the 182-pound weight class. He took care of Cage Linton from Cretin-Derham Hall and Mukhtar Ali from Hastings to reach the championship match.
He lost the first-place match to Carter Lyons from Eagan, but was able to come out with second place and earn a trip to state as a freshman.
Donald Nde had no trouble getting through the 195-pound weight class and reaching the state tournament as the top seed in the bracket. He pinned Jack Kelley from Eagan to reach the championship match and won 8-3 against Godswill Pepple from Hastings to earn first place.
Mason Barrows will also be heading to state in the 220-pound class with a second-place finish this weekend. He defeated Ryan Burrows from Cretin-Derham Hall and also Destiny Azonwu from St. Paul Harding to reach the championship match.
He lost in the championship to Park's Antonio Davis, but was able to come out in second and earn a spot at state.
These 12 wrestlers will start the state tournament on Friday, March 1 at 9 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center. The tournament will last all day until 9:30 p.m. and will start back up on Saturday, March 2 starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.