ST. PAUL - It was certainly a day of mixed emotions for the Minneota wrestling team on Thursday.
Back at state for the third straight year at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the Vikings got back on the medal stand with their third straight third-place finish in the Class A team tournament with a 42-26 victory over Badger/Greenbush-Middle River. But with an experienced core of seven seniors, their final chance to make the state championship was dashed, this time by second-seeded Kimball, which won 35-33 in the state semifinals.
"As a senior group, winning third, we got nothing to complain about," said Vikings senior 152-pounder Alex Lessman. "Losing by two points, that's kind of hard to take, but in the same right, it's a great way to end the year, going home with a medal."
Photo by Joe Brown
Minneota's Adam Josephson, top, tries to put Badger/Greenbush-Middle River's Timm Ingle in a pinning position during the third-place match of the Class A state tournament Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Josephson won the match in a 17-1 technical fall.
Kimball went on to lose the Class A championship match to Jackson County Central by a score of 35-28.
It wasn't exactly what the Vikings wanted, but they get to come back to Minneota with some extra hardware for the third straight season.
"I think it's mixed emotions, but for the most part, we came down here and wrestled hard, and that's all you can ask," said Minneota head coach Joel Skillings. "They're a special group of kids. Everyone's supposed to say that, but they are a unique group of kids and I'm glad I can work with him."
Class A quarterfinals: Minneota 44, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 23
106-Joey Majerus (ZM) maj. dec. Landyn VanOverbeke, 14-3
113-Bryce Bruner (M) maj. dec. Freedom Hunt, 11-3
120-Nicholas Esping (M) pinned Noah Prodzinski, 0:59
126-Mitchell Watkins (ZM) maj. dec. Cole Hennen, 16-5
132-Andrew Swedzinski (M) pinned Andrew Krause, 1:09
138-Theodore Bueltel (M) maj. dec. Hunter Prodzinski, 14-4
145-Travis Longtin (M) tech. fall Tyler Poncelet, 16-1
152-Alex Lessman (M) maj. dec. Cody Heitman, 10-0
160-Nate Bennett (ZM) pinned Keagan Drietz, 1:33
170-Dillon Downes (ZM) dec. Nathan Bueltel, 6-1
182-Isaac Josephson (M) dec. Andy Siems, 8-3
195-Adam Josephson (M) pinned Evan Block, 0:39
220-Josh VanOverbeke (M) pinned Taylor Parker, 0:30
HWT-Shane Bode (ZM) pinned Doug VanKeulen, 5:36
Class A semifinals: Kimball 35, Minneota 33
106-Mitchell McKee (K) maj. dec. Landyn VanOverbeke, 14-4
113-Quinten Berres (K) pinned Bryce Bruner, 5:28
120-Tanner Mills (K) tech. fall Nicholas Esping, 20-5
126-Cole Hennen (M) pinned Brady Mehr, 4:45
132-Marcus Hamer (K) dec. Andrew Swedzinski, 7-4
138-Theodore Bueltel (M) pinned Markus Mehr, 1:22
145-Travis Longtin (M) dec. Caramon Hansen, 3-2
152-Alex Lessman (M) dec. Quentin Bryce, 3-0
160-Jordan Joseph (K) pinned Keagan Drietz, 2:36
170-Travis Schiefelbein (K) pinned Nathan Bueltel, 0:23
182-Isaac Josephson (M) dec. Travis Wills, 7-5 (OT)
195-Adam Josephson (M) pinned Austyn Schlueter, 1:28
220-Austin Schiefelbein (K) tech. fall Doug VanKeulen, 19-3
HWT-Josh VanOverbeke (M) pinned Alex Thurber, 3:30
Class A third place: Minneota 42, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 26
106-Landyn VanOverbeke (M) pinned Wyatt Becker, 1:18
113-Bryce Bruner (M) pinned Devin Dostal, 1:11
120-Isaac Novacek (BGMR) maj. dec. Nicholas Esping, 20-11
126-Brandon Waage (BGMR) dec. Cole Hennen, 8-2
132-Andrew Swedzinski (M) pinned Cory Hasbrouck, 3:16
138-Theodore Bueltel (M) pinned Dakota Gullikson, 0:42
145-Travis Longtin (M) maj. dec. Gunner Gust, 11-0
152-Alex Lessman (M) dec. Jacob Jenson, 4-3
160-Tomm Ingle (BGMR) pinned Keagan Drietz, 0:58
170-John Westman (BGMR) maj. dec. Nathan Bueltel, 13-4
182-Tejay Wojchowski (BGMR) dec. Isaac Josephson, 7-1
195-Adam Josephson (M) tech. fall Timm Ingle, 17-1
220-Josh VanOverbeke (M) won by forfeit
HWT-Alex Yeager (BGMR) pinned Doug VanKeulen, 0:19
After cruising to a 44-23 victory in the quarterfinals over Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Minneota hit the mat against the No. 2-rated Cubs and quickly fell into a 15-0 hole thanks to three straight Cubs victories.
With consecutive wins by Theodore Bueltel, Travis Longtin and Lessman, the Vikings were able to tie the score at 18 before Kimball scored two straight pinfalls to put the score at 30-18. Isaac and Adam Josephson won by decision and pinfall, respectively, before the Cubs' Austin Schiefelbein cemented Kimball's victory with a 19-3 technical fall over Doug VanKeulen at 220 pounds.
"They gave themselves a chance. If you can believe in yourself, there's something to be said for that," Skillings said after the loss. "The fact of the matter is they're an exceptional team. We didn't have the greatest matchups and we wrestled well. "
With the seniors rallying the group, the Vikings quickly got to work against the Gators in the third-place match, springing to a 12-0 lead thanks to pinfalls by Landyn VanOverbeke (106 pounds) and Bryce Bruner (113).
At 132, the senior foursome of Andrew Swedzinski, Bueltel, Longtin and Lessman, the Vikings held a comfortable 31-7 lead with seven matches to go.
After Swedzinski notched a win by pinfall, Bueltel stepped up at 138 pounds and pinned B/G-MR's Dakota Gullikson in 42 seconds.
"It's nice knowing you did everything you possibly could," Bueltel said about the pinfall. "It's just kind of nice you did what you could and you end up winning."
Longtin secured an 11-0 major decision, and Lessman found himself on the winning end of a grueling 4-3 decision against the Gators' Jacob Jenson.
"I really wanted a pin. I was better on my feet, but on the bottom, he was pretty squirrelly, and I gave up a floppy escape to him," Lessman said. " Being able to ride him out for a win, that was best for our team. Not quite what I wanted, but a good way to end my dual wrestling career."
Two more seniors - Adam Josephson and Josh VanOverbeke - also got victories for Minneota in the third-place match. Josephson dominated in a 17-1 win via technical fall over Timm Ingle, and VanOverbeke won via forfeit.
"It always has been (about the team). We try to put the team first and the rest will take care of itself," Skillings said. "Everyone signs up at the beginning of the year, but it takes a special group for that closeness and they want to be there for each other."
Nine Vikings wrestlers get to continue to compete at the state tournament, with the individual tournament beginning today at 11 a.m. for Class A and 1 p.m. for Class AA.