Wrestling: Second in a tough section
For the second time in three years, Rosemount beat out six other teams in the battle for second place at the Section 3AAA team tournament.
The Irish, ranked 11th in Class 3A, defeated East Ridge and rival Eastview en route to runner-up honors on their home mat Friday night in Rosemount. Top-ranked Apple Valley, the eight-time defending state champions, lost just three matches while advancing by scores of 79-0, 62-3 and 60-9.
“In our section, the reality is the goal is to get to the finals. They’re not just the top team in Minnesota, they’re a top-five team in the entire country. I think people lose perspective of how dominant they are,” Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. “We felt pretty good about getting there, even though everyone in the gym already knows the outcome.”
Rosemount’s lone wins in the 60-9 finals loss came from Adam Hedin (decision) and Payton Otterdahl (pin).
The second-seeded Irish opened the day with a 74-6 rout of No. 7-seeded East Ridge. The Raptors forfeited six of the 14 matches and five of Rosemount’s other seven wins came courtesy of pins by Hedin, Jake Baker, Grant Jackson, Connor Busho and Craig Szymanski.
In the semifinals, the Irish jumped out to a 13-0 lead and defeated the Lightning for the second time this season, 39-26.
“It was an anticipated match for both schools. We beat them earlier in the year, but both teams’ lineups are different. We wrestled extremely well,” Larson said.Reuben Cephas got the Irish started with a major decision. Baker followed with a tech fall and Diondre Lodge won a major decision to make it 13-0. Another tech fall, this time by Hedin, pushed the Irish lead to 18-6.
The match really turned in Rosemount’s favor when Jackson and Busho scored pins over wrestlers that had beaten them in the past.
“Those were big momentum swings,” Larson said. “When we got those two falls we felt good about the dual knowing what the rest of the lineup looked like.”
Kouta Sugii then returned from injury to secure a 9-4 decision and Otterdahl closed out the dual with a pin at heavyweight.
The Irish now turn their attention to this weekend’s Section 3AAA individual tournament at Eagan High School where they will try to advance several wrestlers through to the state meet. Hedin and Otterdahl represented the team at Xcel Energy Center last season.
“It’s a whole different mindset this week,” Larson said. “We have a lot of guys who have a chance to do well and six or seven who are quality enough to be a top-four seed. If you can be in that range you’re in the ballpark and you just need to have one good day or one great match. It’s an all-or-nothing tournament, which is why it’s great.”