C-I defeats Forest Lake, Anoka in full night of wrestling: Colliding once again in the finals of the Section 7AAA Team Tourney, 4th-ranked Cambridge-Isanti and top-ranked St. Michael-Albertville closed out a full night of wrestling in the darkened Forest Lake gym Feb. 15. The Bluejackets battled hard, but the deep Knights advanced to State with a 47-16 victory.
STMA opened a quick 16-0 lead after three matches with falls from No. 1-ranked Mitch McKee and Tommy Thorn at 106 and 120. Junior Travis Swanson gave C-I it’s first spark with a reverse and turn with under 20 seconds to go for a 4-2 decision at 126.
Knights Mark Voss and Cole Sladek, both ranked No. 2, answered back with tech falls at 132 and 138 to create a 26-3 edge. But Bluejacket senior co-captain Travis Holt created hope with a huge major at 145.
Holt, ranked No. 3, went against No. 4 Lincoln Mallinger in a rematch of a four-overtime scrum the last time they met. This time, Holt got in the first takedown and turned Mallinger three times over the last two periods for a 13-1 win.
Said Holt, “I went out ready to come at him more than I did in the past– trying to dominate the match more than just win by a couple of points. I’ve been working in practice how to defend what Lincoln tries to bring. That move from the bottom (for two nearfalls) was just something I’ve been doing in practice, and it worked well tonight.”
Sophomore David Kent kept the flow going with a late takedown for a 5-4 decision at 152. Senior Ty Torgerson, ranked No. 3, then made it 26-16 when he cradled STMA’s Rostamo twice, sticking him in the second stanza at 160.
STMA’s rock-solid Jordan Joseph, ranked 3rd, grabbed back the momentum at 170 when he muscled past an ailing Cody Skog (ranked 2nd at 160) for a 13-4 major. C-I senior Russell Laboe squeezed out of trouble several times before top-ranked Ricky Briggs won 6-2 at 182, clinching the title for the Knights.
“This whole season has been really pretty special. I don’t think anyone thought we could be at that level again, for sure. The guys worked their butts off, and we put a good wrestler on the mat at just about every weight, and that was huge. In this particular dual, it was ‘never back down.’ And our guys didn’t. There were a few spots we could have wrestled better, but it wasn’t for lack of effort, courage or confidence. I’m proud of everyone of them.”
Coach Jennissen continued, “But hats off to St. Michael. They’re so disciplined, and so physical, and they can control every situation– they control the tie-ups on the feet. At the bottom they’re hard to turn because they’re never out of position. We pushed them; they’re ranked 4th in the nation, and we’re ranked 4th in the state– that’s not bad, either. There will be a lot of those nine teams that end on a win at State next week– 1st, 3rd and 5th in three classes– that our kids could beat.”
Added Holt, “A lot of us our good friends with the St. Michael guys. We just went out to wrestle tough at a lot of weights. It’s just a fun dual. I guess it’s the best 2nd-place trophy we’ll get.”
C-I 52, Anoka 9
In the 6 p.m. semifinals, the Bluejackets tore through the 11th-ranked Tornadoes, clinching the win on Laboe’s 8-5 decision at 182. Monty Fredriksen at 113, James Fredriksen at 132, Holt at 145 and Dakota Johnson at 195 all had falls to help the cause.
More decisions were won by Brady Kuntz (9-3 at 106), Reegan Lane (9-2 at 138), Torgerson (2-1 at 152), Skog (7-3 at 170) and Derick DeMars (5-0 at 285), with Kyle Chromy adding an 11-0 major at 220.
“We took it to Anoka pretty well– a lot of our guys wrestled with some pretty good fire,” described Holt on the team’s 28th win of the season which is fourth all-time for C-I Wrestling.
• Cambridge-Isanti began the evening at 4 p.m. with a 49-23 quarterfinal win over 7th-seed Forest Lake who surprisingly forfeited at three weights. Holt, Torgerson and Skog all racked up quick first-period pins, with Skog’s fall at 182 clinching the victory as C-I led 40-17.
Laboe posted three three-point nearfalls in a 13-0 major at 170. Tanner Torgerson also created a stir at 160 when he threw 4th-ranked Austin Boniface for an early 5-0 lead, but the Ranger regrouped to get a third-period pin.
Next up: The grueling Section 7AAA Individuals at Anoka Feb. 22-23. Wrestling in the stacked brackets gets underway 3:30 p.m. on Friday and resumes 11 a.m. on Saturday. The top two grapplers at each weight advance to State.