Wrestling: Irish show they belong
All five Rosemount wrestlers won their opening matches, four made it to the second day of competition and one made it all the way to the finals at last weekend's Class 3A State Wrestling Meet at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Senior standout Adam Jackson, state runner-up last year at 160 pounds, found himself in the same position this year at 152 pounds. Jackson trailed TJ O'Hara of Tartan 1-0 in the second period of the 152 finals when O'Hara countered a takedown attempt by Jackson and rolled him over for a two-point takedown and a three-point near fall. O'Hara won the match 6-1 to cap off his sophomore season with a 40-2 record and a state title.
"Adam got caught in a funky maneuver. People asked me afterwards what it was and I didn't know. It's probably 1 in 100 that it happens like that. It was a five-point move and it's difficult to come back from that in a state tournament," Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. "He did everything he could to win a state title, it just didn't work out. I'm proud of him for being a two-time state finalist. That's just the ups and downs of sports."
Jackson avenged an earlier loss to Cody Skog of Cambridge-Isanti in the first round, and then won a pair of decisions 3-1 and 5-2 to advance to the finals. He finished with a record of 41-4.
Jackson's classmate Steve Levine also capped off his career with a place-winning performance, going 3-2 to earn fifth place at 126 pounds.
Levine advanced to the semifinals courtesy of a 17-1 opening-round technical fall and a 7-0 decision in the quarterfinals. He was bounced to the consolation bracket after being pinned by eventual runner-up Mitch Bengtson of St. Cloud Apollo, but came back to earn fifth with a 6-3 decision over Evan Caldon of Elk River.
Levine finished with a record of 41-6.
"It was a great way for him to finish his high school career, being an all-state wrestler," Larson said. "He's been a very talented wrestler for us for years, but has had to overcome our tough section and some injuries. He had an outstanding senior year."
Senior Stefan Sauer capped off his career by splitting four matches at heavyweight. He opened with a 5-2 decision before being pinned by eventual state champion Bryce DeBoer of Albert Lea in the second round. He won his first match via pin in wrestle-backs, and then lost a close 5-3 decision on Saturday to finish with a record of 31-15.
Juniors Dan Rosa and Sam Moeller each went 1-2 in their first appearances at the state meet.
Rosa was pinned by eventual 113-pound undefeated state champion Tommy Thorn of St. Michael-Albertville in the opening round, and then won a 4-3 decision before falling in his third match, 4-2. He finished with a record of 34-11.
Moeller won his opening-round match 10-3 before being pinned in the second round by the eventual fifth-place finisher at 170 pounds. A 9-3 loss in wrestle-backs left Moeller with a record of 32-13.
"It was a great experience for both of them," Larson said. "Hopefully a taste of the state tournament fuels them for next year and they can return and do well."