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Area wrestlers make appearances at state
All three Bulletin-area high schools sent competitors to the state wrestling tournament last weekend at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. Here’s a look at how each fared at the biggest prep wrestling event of the season.
Senior Eriq Smith was the lone Knight at state and he closed out his prep grappling career with an appearance on the medal stand on Saturday night.
Smith went 3-2 and finished fifth in the Class AAA heavyweight draw. In his final match for Irondale, Smith pinned Tartan’s Jason Telin midway through the second period.
Smith opened the tournament with a pair of victories as he pinned Tom Tabatt of Little Falls in the first period in round one and beat Winona’s George Weege 5-4 in the second round.
Smith’s title hopes were dashed in the semifinals when Luis Pinto of Prior Lake pinned him in the first period. Pinto went on to win the state title.
Rosemount’s Peyton Otterdahl then pinned Smith in the wrestleback semifinals but Smith got a chance to redeem himself and go out on a winning note in the fifth-place match. He wrapped up his senior season with a record of 24-6.
Five Mustangs made their way to the state tournament following successful section tournaments the week prior. Finding success at state proved to be much more difficult for Mounds View’s entrants.
Two of the five were able to score a victory during their stay in the tournament. Junior Karl Keeler, wrestling at 120 pounds, won his first-round match via a 4-2 decision over Taylor Rau of Sauk Rapids-Rice. In the second round, Keeler went up against undefeated Alex Lloyd of Shakopee and lost 19-9.
The loss dropped Keeler into the wrestleback bracket, where he lost 7-2 in the first round to Luis Sanchez of Hastings. Keeler finished the season with a record of 26-14.
Senior Vincent Belsito was Mounds View’s lone section champion this year at 170 pounds and he followed that up by going 1-2 at state. He opened the tournament with a loss to Henry Sibley’s Garrett Beaman, who went on to lose the championship match in overtime.
Following the loss, Belsito won his first wrestleback bout in a 3-0 decision over Stillwater’s Grant Wohlwend. Owatonna’s Tyler Vogt then ended Belsito’s tournament with an 11-1 victory in the second round of wrestlebacks.
The rest of Mounds View’s state contingent went a combined 0-5 in the tournament. Senior Jack O’Brien, wrestling at 138, lost via fall in the first-round to Eden Prairie’s Ben Brancale and dropped a 12-4 decision to Kiyanu Baker of Coon Rapids in the first round of wrestlebacks.
O’Brien finished the season 18-12.
Senior Jimmy Kaiser suffered a similar fate as O’Brien as he lost via fall in the first round and dropped a decision in wrestlebacks. Kaiser, a 182-pounder, wound up 18-12 on the year.
Sophomore Tanner Day had the shortest outing as he lost his opening-round match and did not qualify for wrestlebacks. Day fell 1-0 to Apple Valley’s Noah Buck and needed Buck to win in the second round to move to wrestlebacks. That didn’t happen as Buck lost in three overtimes in the second round. Day finished the season with a record of 29-8.
St. Anthony Village
The lone state representative from the Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village co-op team was St. Anthony junior Tristan Wehmas, who went 0-2 at state and finished the season 23-13.
Wehmas opened the tournament against Blaine’s Caleb Butler and lost via a first-period pin. Butler then won his second-round match, which opened the door for Wehmas to move to the wrestleback bracket.
In the first round of wrestlebacks, Wehmas went up against Trysten Ross of Little Falls but suffered another first period pin.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.