Wrestling: Jackson battles through talented section to earn state berthTen Rosemount wrestlers finished in the top six at the Section 3AAA meet
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
Having to deal with likely the toughest section in the state repeatedly each year could bring down even the most optimistic of wrestling coaches.
Rosemount coach Brett Larson is certainly aware of the circumstances his Irish face while competing in Class 3A, Section 3. Larson accepts reality when it comes to team section tournament, when No.1 Apple Valley and No. 2 Hastings are in Rosemount’s section bracket.
The individual section tournament offers a bit more opportunity for the Irish. But with multiple top-10 ranked wrestlers in nearly every weight class, it doesn’t get much easier.
“It’s kind of like beating an old drum over and over,” Larson said. “Our section is incredibly tough with a lot of high-end talent. There are 10 No. 1 wrestlers and potentially other ranked wrestlers to get in the title match. You try to sneak in second, both state entrants will be high-end wrestlers.”
The Irish had 10 wrestlers earn top-six finishes in their respective weight class. Rosemount junior Adam Jackson placed second at 152 pounds to qualify for this week’s Class 3A state meet at the Xcel Energy Center.
“Overall it was a good day,” Larson said. “Ten out of the 13 guys we brought placed. That’s outstanding. You always wish to get more guys going down to St. Paul. We had chances. We knew going in it would be extremely difficult. I would not have been surprised if we had four going to state. I would not have been surprised if we had no one going to state. There are no guarantees in wrestling.”
Jackson entered the section tournament as the No. 3 ranked wrestler at 152 pounds and made it stand up with his march to the championship round in arguably one of the toughest section weight classes in the entire state. Four of the top seven wrestlers at 152 pounds were in Section 3.
Jackson won 14-6 in the opening round, setting up a match against Hastings’ Jeff Engstrom, ranked No. 6. Jackson earned a 5-3 win against Engstrom before losing to No. 1 ranked Destin McCauley of Apple Valley in the championship round.
“We knew Adam was one of the best shots to make it,” Larson said. “Four guys in his weight class in the top seven and two of them are staying home. There’s no reason Adam can’t do well in St. Paul. They’re all tough when you get to the state tournament, but we looked at the brackets and like his chances. He’s peaking at the right time.”
Jackson opens the state tournament with a match against No. 10 ranked Coty Milhausen of Willmar. The Class 3A individual tournament begins tomorrow at 1 p.m.
At 135 pounds, ninth-grader Nicholas Paxson had a chance at joining Jackson at the state tournament.
Unranked, Paxson lost to No. 1 Matt Kelliher of Apple Valley in the semifinals after earning a pin in the opening round. Paxson came back through the wrestle-backs for third place, but lost to Hastings Hunter Swenson in a match for true-second.
“He was the fifth seed coming in and he beat some guys he had lost to earlier,” Larson said of Paxson. “That true-second is bonus match for the state tournament. He had a chance. He was right in the mix. He probably had the best tournament of our guys. Third for a ninth-grader is pretty good.”
Danny Rosa took third at 103 pounds and Josh Francois was third at 160 pounds.
“Josh Francois was probably the biggest heartbreak, losing a 6-5 double-overtime match against a wrestler from Henry Sibley who is going to the state tournament,” Larson said. “He just came up a little bit short. He wrestled hard and left everything on the mat.”
Heavyweight Jon Bishop placed fourth.
Adam Hedin took fifth place at 112 pounds.
“For Adam, a seventh-grader, to be fifth in our section is phenomenal,” Larson said. “He is really ahead of the curve. Not many seventh-graders compete in our league or section. So that’s outstanding for him and really sets him up to be a guy we talk about for the next five years.”
Colin Busho was fifth at 140 pounds.
Kwame Owusu (119 pounds), Sam Moeller (145) and Jake Pruter (215) each placed sixth in their respective weight classes.
Rosemount was also missing another potential state entrant. Steve Levine was ranked No. 6 at 125 pounds, but was unable to compete due to injury. Levine was the third ranked wrestler in Section 3 at 125 pounds.