State Individual Wrestling: Area has 33 chances for state title
Thirty-three area wrestlers will descend on the Xcel Energy Center for a chance to climb the podium of the state individual tournament.
All one has to do is win four matches against the 16 best the state has to offer in each of the three classes.
■ Class 1A
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale’s Anthony Kern opens the 106-pound weight class against Badger/Greenbush-Middle River’s Isaak Isane. Both are juniors. Kern enters with a 39-2 record and ranked third in the state. Isane comes in unranked at 20-9.
Also on Kern’s side of the bracket is fifth-ranked Freshman Caleb Kreitter of Crosby-Ironton. Kreitter, 34-3, will open against unranked junior Mario Garcia of St. James (23-13).
Kreitter and Kern lost their opening-round matches at last year’s state tournament.
Top-ranked Brock Buysee of Minneota (36-5), ninth-ranked Rylan Molinaro of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (35-6) and 10th-ranked Dalton Wagner of Jackson County Central (31-10) are all on Kern/Kreitter’s side of the 16-man bracket.
The area’s busiest bracket will be at 145 pounds where Wadena-Deer Creek’s Devin Barthel and Pierz’s Kolton Eischens were section champions. BH-V’s Ethan Kimber and Aitkin’s Noah Landrus were section runners-up.
Barthel, a senior with a 24-7 record, opens against junior Nichols Meyer of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sundburg (16-10). Eischens will take his 32-7 record against senior Dylan Youngren of Howard Lake-Waverly. Eischens, who is ranked sixth, topped Youngren 13-4 in a Central Minnesota Conference dual Jan. 14.
Landrus will face Sibley East’s Hunter Retzlaff, who is ranked second and owns a 36-3 record.
Kimber will battle third-ranked Dylan Herman (37-4) of United South Central.
Dillon Card (39-0) placed fifth at 182 pounds last year. The second-ranked 220-pound junior from BH/V will begin his quest for a state title against Todd Erickson of New Richland-HEG.
“You have to win those first couple of matches and that first one is the most important,” said BH/V head coach Steve Techam. “If you overlook your first opponent your tournament may be done. If you win those first two, then we have the defending state champion. If you’re going to be a state champion you have to beat the best. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the semifinals or the finals.
“The key, however, is not to look ahead.”
Also in that 220-pound bracket is Aitkin’s Alan Bast. The junior is ranked ninth and will open against fourth-ranked Austin Schiefelbein of Kimball.
“Bast is looking good right now,” said Aitkin head coach Kevin Lamke. “We kept him out of the lineup with a shoulder injury for a while and that’s why he doesn’t have that many matches, but we’re looking for some good things for him. He’s got a tough kid right away, but we’ve seen Schiefelbein before at the Staples tournament.
“Bast is a fairly quick 220-pounder so hopefully good things will come. Even if he does lose there is a really good chance he’ll get another match and then can make things happen and place in state.”
Aitkin’s Jerod Novak also has a good shot for state hardware. The sophomore enters the state tournament with a 33-3 record. He finished sixth last year.
“Hopefully he comes out and places again,” said Lamke. “All these guys have been there and they have the experience. We’ll tell all our guys that they know what to expect so make the best of it. But I’m looking for Jerod to place again. He’s on a good side of the bracket.
“We’ll tell him and the rest of the guys to just not do anything stupid. You need to limit your mistakes and wrestle under control.”
Techam said Raiders’ heavyweight Dalton Baker also could collect a podium spot. The senior comes into the tournament with a 34-9 record, but could face Pierz’s Curtis Brisk in the second round. Brisk is 24-7.
C-I’s Cole Grinsteinner is on the other half of the 285-pound bracket and owns a 35-4 mark.
■ Class 2A
Anthony Philipson of the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew enters the Class 2A state tournament ranked second with a 30-2 record.
“Anthony is going with experience, which is crucial when it comes to the state tournament,” said PL/PRB head coach Travis Hoffarth. “The clock seems to move a lot faster down there than in your own gym. Knowing that is half the battle.
“His first appearance was a case of getting a taste of it. Last year he was just short of placing. He knows this is his last opportunity and he understands what it’s going to take.”
Justin Mackenthun is ranked 10th in the 182-pound bracket and will open against fourth-ranked Jackson Striggow of Orono.
Jared Adkins is the fifth-ranked 285-pounder and his first opponent will be sixth-ranked Sam Anderson of Totino-Grace.
“We’ve already told our guys that records and rankings mean nothing right now,” Hoffarth said, “Everyone is going down there 0-0. The wrestler who does well is going to be the one who is focused and understands all the hard work they’ve put into the season and their career and leaves it all on the mat.”
■ Class 3A
Little Falls Flyer Trysten Ross enters Class 3A’s 220-pound bracket ranked ninth in state. His first-round opponent will be 10th-ranked Jake Paulson of Tartan.
Ross’ teammate Tyler Gastecki is also ranked ninth at 170 pounds and he will face 10th-ranked Tyler Vogt of Owatonna in his first-round match.
10th-ranked Justin Jenks will battle seventh-ranked Blake Carlisle of Prior Lake in their 145-pound match.
Class 1A opening round
106: Anthony Kern (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, junior, 39-2) vs. Isaak Isane (Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, junior, 20-9); Caleb Kreitter (Crosby-Ironton, freshman, 34-3) vs. Mario Garcia (St. James, junior, 23-13)
120: Tyler Bare (Aitkin, sophomore, 22-15) vs. Cameron Sykora (Border West, junior 31-0); Brandon Sullivan (Pierz, senior, 34-7) vs. Brandon Laborde (lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, junior, 35-6)
126: Chris Ortman (Pierz, senior, 35-4) vs. Seth Elwood (Medford, junior, 29-4) ; Alex Erpelding (Staples-Motley, freshman, 30-7) vs. Luke Nolden (Spectrum, sophomore, 29-7)
132: Brett Nelson (Crosby-Ironton, senior, 27-10) vs. Kole Lefebvre (Mahnomen/Waubun, senior, 26-6); Zack Waln (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, freshman, 29-15) vs. Ted Androli (Kenyon-Wanamingo, sophomore, 27-15)
138: Evan Woitalla (Pierz, senior, 26-8) vs. Rylee Anderson (Barnesville, junior, 24-5)
145: Devin Barthel (Wadena-Deer Creek, senior, 24-8) vs. Nicholas Meyer (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, junior, 16-10); Kolton Eischens (Pierz, sophomore, 32-7) vs. Dylan Youngren (Howard Lake-Waverly, senior, 28-11); Ethan Kimber (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, freshman, 31-8) vs. Dylan Herman (United South Central, senior, 37-4); Noah Landrus (Aitkin, sophomore, 18-5) vs. Hunter Retzlaff (Sibley East, senior 36-3)
152: Jerod Novak (Aitkin, sophomore, 33-3) vs. Nicholas Esping (Minneota, junior, 26-7)
160: Brett Kapsner (Pierz, freshman, 32-10) vs. Cain Renner (Eden Valley-Watkins, senior, 30-3)
170: Jordon Goebel (Pierz, senior, 33-5) vs. Andrew Sathrum (Kenyon-Wanamingo, junior, 32-10); Nick Bennett (BHV, senior, 25-7) vs. Daven Staples (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena, senior, 32-2)
182: Drew Peterson (Staples-Motley, senior, 30-9) vs. Trevor Grems (Medford, junior, 28-8)
195: Ryley Smude (Pierz, senior, 29-9) vs. Wyatt Richardson (Grand Meadow/LeRoy, junior, 25-4)
220: Alan Bast (Aitkin, junior, 19-2) vs. Austin Schielbein (Kimball, senior, 35-5); Dillon Card (BHV, junior, 39-0) vs. Todd Erickson (New Richland-HEG, junior, 23-9)
285: Cole Grinsteinner (Crosby-Ironton, senior, 35-4) vs. Trent Esping (Minneota, eighth-grader, 20-10), Dalton Baker (BHV, senior, 34-9) vs. Nick Meixell (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, junior, 28-6); Curtis Brisk (Pierz, senior, 24-7) vs. Martin Granados (Blue Earth, junior, 26-3)
Class 2A opening round
106: Anthony Philipson (Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, senior, 30-2) vs. AJ Bethea (Hibbing, eighth-grader, 27-10)
182: Justin Mackenthun (PL/PRB, senior, 29-3) vs. Jackson Striggow (Orono, junior, 36-5)
285: Jared Adkins (PL/PRB, senior, 25-7) vs. Sam Anderson (Totino-Grace, sophomore, 14-4)
Class 3A opening round
126: Josh Beack (Little Falls, freshman, 33-8) vs. Zack Chytka (Apple Valley, freshman, 19-3)
145: Justin Jenks (Little Falls, sophomore, 30-12) vs. Blake Carlisle (Prior Lake, senior, 22-7)
170: Tyler Gastecki (Little Falls, senior, 37-5) vs. Tyler Vogt (Owatonna, senior, 32-10)
220: Trysten Ross (Little Falls, senior 32-6) vs. Jake Paulson (Tartan, senior, 27-2); Sam Adams (Brainerd, senior, 23-5) vs. Kyle Chromy (Cambridge-Isanti, senior, 37-6)
285: Tom Tabatt (Little Falls, senior, 15-16) vs. Eriq Smith (Irondale, senior, 21-4)