Wrestling: Irish face uphill battle in 3AANo. 1 Apple Valley cruised to the team title
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
The Rosemount wrestling team entered last week’s Class 3A, Section 3 tournament with a realistic outlook.
The Irish were in the same section as the top two teams in Class 3A, Apple Valley and Hastings.
Rosemount faced Eagan in the first round of the section tournament. A win would have matched the Irish up with perennial state champion Apple Valley.
“We’re in the same boat as a lot of teams,” Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. “There are two teams in the state tournament that we beat by about 20 points. You hope to win and get out of the first round. There is some disparity in the strength of sections. Guys see that and are aware of it. It’s a small consolation and doesn’t make up for having a tough section.”
The Irish’s team season ended with a 35-28 loss to Eagan in the first round of the team section tournament.
Rosemount’s individuals will take center stage now as part of the individual section tournament. With two state qualifying bids in each weight class up for grabs, the Irish hope to make their mark in section competition.
The Class 3A, Section 3 individual wrestling tournament is Friday and Saturday at Park High School in Cottage Grove. The first round begins at 4:30 on Friday.
However, the team season is over and Eagan flipped the results from the regular season finale.
Rosemount beat Eagan 33-30 two weeks ago to finish the regular season, but the Wildcats came back with the 35-28 win last week.
“We knew it probably could have gone that way since we still didn’t have our full lineup,” Larson said. “We didn’t score bonus points where we needed to and gave up three pins. That’s tough to do. We lost two matches that we won earlier. They turned around two matches and we turned around one.
“We wrestled hard. I guess we got them for the conference and they got us for the section match.”
The Irish were again missing Steve Levine, who is ranked No. 6 at 125 pounds. Levine hopes to return for the individual section tournament.
Danny Rosa started with a forfeit victory and Adam Hedin added a major decision to give Rosemount an early lead.
Nick Paxson added a pin for the Irish. Adam Jackson won by technical fall and Josh Francois won a major decision. Pat Massey also won.
“It would have been nice to get to 20 wins,” Larson said of his team’s final record. “Getting 19 for us isn’t bad. We would have been done in the next round against Apple Valley. It’s frustrating. We wanted to win that Eagan match.
“I told the guys after that, ‘We had a great year team-wise, now we focus on the individuals.’”
Apple Valley won the section title 62-3 over No. 2 Hastings.
Of course, a tough section in team competition means the same for the individual tournament this weekend.
“All that’s in the past and now we focus on the 14 guys we will take to the section tournament,” Larson said. “We should have six guys with top four seeds.
“If guys have a good day we could qualify a number of wrestlers. If we don’t have a good day, we could get blacked out again. That’s the fun thing about it. It’s a big unknown. We’ll see who is ready to compete Friday and Saturday.”