Wrestling: Five ready to Xcel
Competing in the same section as two of the top wrestling programs in the state -- and one of the best programs in the nation in Apple Valley -- has made it tough for Rosemount to advance its grapplers on to the state tournament the past few years.
The Irish caught a break this year as second-ranked Hastings was moved to Section 1AAA. The Irish took advantage of that void, qualifying a school-record five wrestlers for the state tournament at last Saturday's Section 3AAA Individual Tournament at Eastview High School.
Dan Rosa, Steve Levine, Adam Jackson, Sam Moeller and Stefan Sauer all punched tickets to this weekend's action at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with second-place finishes.
Jackson, a state runner-up last year at 160 pounds, scored a decision and a pin at 152 before falling 2-1 in a highly-anticipated match with Apple Valley's No. 1-ranked Mason Manville.
"A lot of people were looking forward to them meeting," Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. "Adam just came up one point short. We're hoping to meet him again and turn it around this weekend."
Like Jackson, Sauer didn't have to win a true-second match to advance on to state. He advanced through the bracket with a fall and a 3-2 decision that went to quadruple overtime before falling to Colin Fisher of Eastview 5-1 in the final.
"It was an outstanding, gutty performance through regulation and overtime," Larson said.
Rosa scored two pins in the 113-pound bracket before falling to Brock Morgan of Apple Valley, 6-4. He came back for another pin in the true-second match.
"He had a disappointing loss in the finals in a match that could have gone either way," Larson said. "He came back determined to get a pin and secure a spot at the state meet."
Levine had a similar road at 126 pounds, registering two pins before a 10-8 decision loss to Apple Valley's Shamar Williams in the finals. He came back to score a 5-1 decision to capture true second.
Moeller had what Larson considered the toughest road to the state tournament. He advanced with a pin and a 4-3 decision, then lost 5-2 in the championship match before holding on for a tight 4-3 decision in the true-second match.
"The second match was a win over a guy he lost to earlier in the year," Larson said. "He won three tight matches and wrestled well."
Just missing state berths for the Irish were Adam Hedin and Pat Massey, who each finished third in their respective divisions. Hedin finished behind the No. 1 and 2 120-pounders in the state and Massey behind the No. 1 and 4 160-pounders.
Grant Jackson and Alex Johnson each added fifth-place finishes, giving the Irish nine section place-winners.
"Since the Rumble on the Red tournament this team has had outstanding practices almost every day," Larson said. "They work hard. There's no joking around, it's all business in practice. That's been the key to this year's team. The focus has been outstanding."