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Shipping back to state

Minneota heads back to state for 3rd straight year; topples Wabasso/RRC 31-27 to secure Section 3A title

February 20, 2012
By Joe Brown ( , Marshall Independent

GRANITE FALLS - Both Minneota and Wabasso/Red Rock Central needed the momentum boost at the 152-pound match. Up 18-6, the Vikings wanted to keep rolling, while the Bobcats wanted to claw their way back into the Section 3A championship match.

The Bobcats decided to make a move, bumping Tanner Rohlik (ranked fifth at 138 pounds) to 145 to take on Travis Longtin.

After three periods, Longtin and Rohlik were at a 2-2 standstill. Scoreless after the first overtime, and up 3-2 in the third overtime, Longtin tried to count down the remaining seconds to clinch a win. But Longtin got called for stalling, awarding Rohlik a point and putting the match into a sudden-death fourth overtime. Longtin took the down position, looking for an escape.

Article Photos

Photo by Joe Brown
The Minneota wrestling team celebrates in front of its fans after clinching the Section 3A team title with a 31-27 victory over Wabasso/Red Rock Central Saturday in Granite Falls. The Vikings return to state for the third straight season.

"It was disappointing (in the third overtime)," Longtin said. "But I knew I could get away."

From the whistle, Longtin made a frantic move to his feet, escaping Rohlik's clutches, putting the Viking team and fans into a frenzy.

"I couldn't handle it," said Minneota senior Adam Josephson. "In the third overtime when they called him for stalling, I was pretty upset. But Travis came through and pulled it out.

Fact Box

3A Championship Match

Minneota 31, Wabasso/RRC 27

106-Landyn VanOverbeke (M) pinned Cole Werner, 0:53

113-Bryce Bruner (M) dec. Spencer Jenniges, 10-3

120-Brandon Goblirsch (W/RRC) dec. Nicholas Esping, 5-1

126-Derek Christians (W/RRC) dec. Cole Hennen, 8-6

132-Andrew Swedzinski (M) maj. dec. Dominic Ourada, 12-2

138-Theodore Bueltel (M) tech. fall Brady Bierl, 15-0

145-Travis Longtin (M) dec. Tanner Rohlik, 4-3 (4OT)

152-Alex Lessman (M) dec. Ben Matter, 8-3

160-Blake Altermatt (W/RRC) pinned Keagan Drietz, 1:44

170-Mitchell Rohlik (W/RRC) pinned Nathan Bueltel, 3:30

182-Nathan Mattison (W/RRC) dec. Isaac Josephson, 6-5

195-Adam Josephson (M) maj. dec. Shane Irlbeck, 14-5

220-Cody Welch (W/RRC) pinned Doug VanKeulen, 1:16

HWT-Josh VanOverbeke (M) dec. Alex Schroepfer, 3-1

3A Semifinals

Minneota 41, Canby 15

106-L. VanOverbeke (M) tech. fall Konnor King, 16-0

113-Bruner (M) dec. Jack Citrowske, 6-1

120-Esping (M) maj. dec. Luke Jelen, 10-1

126-Hennen (M) dec. Austin Campbell, 5-1

132-Swedzinski (M) dec. Levi Citrowske, 9-2

138-T. Bueltel (M) maj. dec. John Deslauriers, 10-1

145-Cedric Citrowske (C) dec. Longtin, 3-2

152-Lessman (M) maj. dec. Christian Full, 9-1

160-Hayden Goplen (C) dec. Drietz, 5-3

170-Matt Jelen (C) dec. N. Bueltel, 7-2

182-I. Josephson (M) pinned Tim Ronan, 3:30

195-A. Josephson (M) pinned Cole Regnier, 1:39

220-J. VanOverbeke (M) dec. Chris Kaddatz, 7-1

HWT-David Bursack (C) pinned VanKeulen, 3:00

Wabasso/RRC 30, KMS 29

106-Derek Krieger (KMS) maj. dec. Werner, 9-1

113-Jenniges (W/RRC) dec. Jordan Engler, 6-3

120-Goblirsch (W/RRC) pinned Nick Meyer, 2:40

126-Cody Peters (KMS) dec. Christians, 6-4

132-Lamberto Rodriguez (KMS) dec. Dirk Pistulka, 6-4

138-T. Rohlik (W/RRC) tech. fall Jared Krieger, 16-0

145-Jessie Engler (KMS) maj. dec. Mitchell Schroepfer, 12-4

152-Kyle Baker (KMS) dec. Matter, 10-6

160-M. Rohlik (W/RRC) pinned Travis Lamecker, 3:29

170-Jordon Rothers (KMS) pinned Altermatt, 3:31

182-Mattison (W/RRC) maj. dec. Alex Mond, 13-5

195-Austin Rothers (KMS) dec. Irlbeck, 11-7

220-Welch (W/RRC) pinned Felix Tapia, 0:39

HWT-Issac Froehlich (KMS) dec. A. Schroepfer, 4-2

"It was exciting. It kind of set the tone for the rest of the dual."

With momentum firmly on their side, the Vikings held off a late charge by the Bobcats to win the Section 3A championship by a score of 31-27, sending the team to state for the third consecutive year.

"You're on cloud nine. It's the greatest feeling in the world," Longtin said afterwards. "Everyone just came together. We're more like a family than a team and it was a huge day for all of us."

The State Championship Team Tournament will take place on March 1 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The other Class A teams to qualify are Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Jackson County Central, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, Kimball, Barnesville, Pierz and Badger/Greenbush-Middle River.

Heading back to state again, Vikings head coach Joel Skillings said all the trips to St. Paul have been special, but the difference for this year's group is how they handled the weight of expectations.

"I'm glad that we have a nice tradition going and kids don't feel they have to carry that tradition as much as they want to be a part of it," Skillings said. "It's just special that they get to go down and (go to state)."

Trailing 24-6 with six matches to go, Wabasso/RRC's Blake Altermatt (160 pounds), Mitchell Rohlik (170) and Nathan Mattison (182) scored 15 consecutive points to close the gap to 24-21 with three matches to go. Shane Irlbeck prevented getting pinned by Adam Josephson, and Cody Welch secured a pinfall at 220 pounds to put the deficit to 28-27. But at heavyweight, No. 2-ranked Josh VanOverbeke scored three points in the second period to defeat Alex Schroepfer 3-1 to seal the win.

"It takes 14 guys to win, and (Saturday), we didn't quite have it," said Wabasso/RRC co-head coach Brett Bartholomaus. "We tried to make some moves to take the coin flip out of the equation. We didn't want to risk a section title on a coin flip. We weighted in a couple guys differently. I think we wrestled pretty well, but it takes a team, it takes everybody you got."

Minneota sprang to a 6-0 lead when Landyn VanOverbeke pinned Cole Werner in 53 seconds to win at 106 pounds. At 113, Minneota went up 9-0 when Bryce Bruner scored five points in the third period and upset No. 6-ranked Spencer Jenniges.

"When Bryce won, I think it forced their hand a little bit and they made some changes," Skillings said. "As far as we're concerned, we hoped we'd turn around one of those three that we had lost last time against them, and right away, Bryce did that."

Wins by decision for Brandon Goblirsch and Derek Christians put the Bobcats back in contention before the Vikings rattled off four straight wins. In that span, Andrew Swedzinski (132 pounds) got a 12-2 major decision, and Theodore Bueltel put together a 15-0 technical fall to win at 138.

That momentum carried over for Longtin in his thrilling overtime victory.

"It was a little nerve-wracking," Longtin admitted.

"I just knew, leave it up to the big guys. I just had to do my thing, wrestle my style of match, get into my groove. The little guys did a huge job sending it down to us and everyone came up huge for us."

Trailing 24-12, Wabasso/RRC made its move up the scoreboard with three straight wins. For Mattison (No. 9, 170 pounds), there was a measure of revenge on Saturday when he defeated Isaac Josephson in a 6-5 decision. On Feb. 2 in Minneota, Mattison fell 3-2 to Isaac Josephson.

"The first match, I didn't do much on my feet, so this time I knew I had to come out and attack on my feet," Mattison said. "I got a takedown in the first minute or so, so I knew I was set to go after that."

Continuing the Bobcats' win streak, Mattison could see the heads of his teammates perking up on the sideline.

"There was a lot more hope for those last three guys to go out and get their jobs done, instead of 'Oh, we lost the dual,'" Mattison said.

But with two top-ranked wrestlers waiting at the end, Minneota left everything up to its closers - Adam Josephson and Josh VanOverbeke - to punch its ticket to state.

"And all year long, we've asked the little guys, 'Do your jobs well, get us to the middle, get us to the seniors, get it to Josh and me up top,'" Adam Josephson said.

Heading back to the state tournament, Skillings praised his kids, who he thought were less of a team and more of a family.

"They're just happy to be there together," Skillings said.

In the 3A semifinals, Wabasso/Red Rock Central eeked out a 30-29 victory over 9th-ranked Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. Across the gym, Minneota reached the section finals with a 40-15 win over Canby.

After missing the final four last season, Lancers head coach Scott Snobl was elated for his team's progress over the season in returning to the section's final four.

"We took huge steps this year. The kids bought into our philosophy, did what we asked them to do and we just got them refocused these last few weeks," Snobl said. "A lot of it is confidence. We're beat up, we're missing three guys we'd normally have in our lineup. These kids came back and responded hard against a good Minneota team."

The Section 3A teams will head to Canby on Friday and Saturday for the section individual tournament.



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