Wrestling: Three move on to Xcel
There was good news and bad news for the Rosemount wrestling team at Saturday's Section 3AAA individual tournament in Burnsville.
The good news was the Irish entered 13 wrestlers and -- for the first time ever -- all 13 placed in the top six in their respective weight classes. Of those 13, senior Sam Moeller, junior Payton Otterdahl and freshman Adam Hedin qualified for the Class 2AAA state meet, which gets under way tomorrow morning at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
"Everyone wrestled on Saturday and everyone medaled, which is phenomenal," Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. "It was great to have those three qualify. They all had great tournaments. We had hoped to qualify a few more, but our section is always very competitive."
That's where the bad news came in. Perennial powerhouse Apple Valley ended up crowning 11 section champions and qualifying wrestlers at each of the 14 weights, leaving just 14 additional state spots available to the other eight teams in the section.
"You have to take what you can get with this section being so competitive," Larson said. "We had hoped to get a couple other guys to state, but that makes it tough."
Hedin worked his way through the bracket at 126 pounds with a 17-2 technical fall and a 3-2 decision in the semifinals before falling to Brock Morgan of Apple Valley 5-0 in the finals. Hedin will take a 15-3 record into his first state meet.
Moeller had a similar road to state at 182 pounds. He breezed to the finals with a pair of pins, but was edged 2-1 by Apple Valley's David Johnson in the finals. Moeller takes a 36-6 mark into his second straight appearance at Xcel Energy Center.
Otterdahl used a pin and a 7-0 decision to advance to the finals at 220 pounds, and then had to win a true-second match after falling in the first period of the finals to Paul Cheney of Apple Valley. In the true-second match, Otterdahl used a first-period pin of his own to improve to 32-10 and advance to his first state meet.
"All three of them have the goal to place at state. If you make it out of our section, you're good enough to place," Larson said. "There's no individual seeding, so sometimes it's the luck of the draw of who you go up against in the first couple rounds. All three are good enough to medal, they just have to bring their 'A' game."
Jake Baker, Kwame Owusu, Austin Swanson and Dan Rosa just missed state berths for the Irish, all placing third at the section meet. Rosa qualified for state last year, but ended up in a section bracket that featured three of the top five 126-pounders in the state. The senior lost a 9-2 decision in the finals and then a 12-4 decision in the true-second match.
Baker finished with a 30-9 mark, Swanson went 21-10 and Owusu closed out his senior season with a record of 26-17.
"That's the heartbreak of sports," Larson said.
Placing fourth for the Irish were Grant Jackson and Craig Syzmanski. Noah Buck, Connor Busho and Kouti Sugii placed fifth and Kamal Hassan came in sixth.
The Irish will return nine of their 13 section place-winners next winter.
"That's real encouraging for next year," Larson said.
Burns wins section award
Rosemount assistant wrestling coach Derek Burns was named Section 3AAA Assistant Coach of the Year.