The Woodbury Royals’ wrestling team was a match away from advancing to team state Friday night at Hastings High School. The Royals led almost the entire dual until the Raiders took a 24-23 lead after the 170-pound match. However, Woodbury won at 195 and 220 to take a 29-27 lead heading into the final match, 285.
Junior Denis Tokin took down Hastings’ Brady Schiller twice in the first period of that 285 match, but was then thrown and pinned in 1 minute, 22 seconds. Hastings won 33-29 to advance to team state for the fourth time in five years.
Woodbury was considered the favorite this year as East Ridge and Hastings both had new head coaches and seemed to take a step back. The Royals beat the Raiders 38-34 back in early December to start the season, but were missing senior Brock Rinehart for the past several weeks due to an injury. Even after the injury, Rinehart was the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 182 and while he was dressed and on the roster for team sections, he did not wrestle.
Woodbury beat No. 8 East Ridge 69-15 in the first round 63-15 and then defeated Eagan 46-22 in the semifinals.
Against Hastings, the Royals started off strong by winning four of the first five matches to lead 18-6 heading into the 138 match. Eighth grader Alex Braun won by a 12-6 decision at 106 and seventh grader Brad Little got a pin in 3:58 at 113. Junior Ryan Holt lost by fall in 3:53 at 120, but junior Will Bents won by a 10-4 decision at 126 and fellow junior Cade Johnson pinned his man in 3:59 at 132.
However, from there Hastings went on a run. Sophomore Logan Ryan was pinned in 3:41 at 138 and so was freshman Jack Anderson in 3:54 at 145. Junior Sebastian Zamorano prevailed at 152 with a 17-2 tech fall, but then the Raiders took the next three matches and had their first lead of the dual, 27-23, with three matches remaining.
Senior Tre Hockenberger won at 195 with a 7-6 decision to cut Hastings’ lead to just one point. Then at 220, the Raiders switched their 220 and 285 wrestlers and senior Mason Barrows won 2-0 with a last-second reversal to put the Royals up 29-27. However, from there the aforementioned 285 match happened the Woodbury ended up Section 3AAA runners-up.
Park goes 1-1
The Park of Cottage Grove Wolfpack were the No. 3 seed for the Section 3AAA tournament and faced off against No. 6 St. Paul Harding in the first round. The Wolfpack beat up on Harding and won 55-21, dropping just four matches.
They got pins from seventh grader Gunner Mullen (106), senior Solomon Lankow (145), senior Sam Ruiz (160) and senior Antonio Davis (220). Sophomore Zachary Silvis and senior Zeke Brown-Knott won by tech falls at 120 and 170 respectively. Harding forfeited at 113, 195 and 285.
In the semifinals Park lost to Hastings 39-24. The Raiders built up a 36-11 lead through the 170 weight class, with the Wolfpack getting wins in just three weight classes. Gunner Mullen won by a 16-12 decision at 106, Silvis won by a 19-6 major decision at 120 and Lankow had another major decision victory (20-7) at 145.
However, at that point the dual was over unless Hastings lost a team point for some reason. Despite that, the Park wrestlers never quit as senior Noah Johnson won by fall in 4:48 at 182, senior Khrystiyan Muller was victorious at 195 via a 5-0 decision and Davis won 13-4 at 220. Senior Reese Lanegran lost at 285 in overtime 3-2.
East Ridge won three matches in their 63-15 first-round loss to top-seeded Woodbury. Riley Kane won by an 11-9 decision at 138, Tanner Holt won by fall in 5:28 at 145 and Ethan Pittman pinned his opponent in 1:43 at 170.
Next up for all three teams is individual sections at Park on Saturday, Feb. 22. The top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to individual state on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-29, at the Xcel Energy Center.