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Grapplers fourth at Blaine Duals

Listening as Rosemount wrestling coach Brett Larson recounts the past week, the Irish's efforts sounded a bit familiar.

Larson will tell you the past week is a perfect example of what his team has been through this season. The Irish have wrestled well. They have wrestled, most times, to their capability. But too many times a lack of entrants in some weights, a lack of depth and injuries have kept them from truly breaking through.

"Again, they just had a little bit more depth than we did," Larson said of Rosemount's 37-25 loss to Eagan last week. "We were shorthanded. We lost a match or two we didn't think we would lose and we came up 12 points short. It's really indicative of our whole season. It's nothing we haven't seen before. It's been pretty steady for us. It's just the way things have gone."

The Irish still receive honorable mention rankings, but in the end are short of a true breakthrough.

After the 37-25 loss to Eagan, Rosemount finished fourth at the Blaine Bengal Duals. The Irish beat the host Blaine squad 52-21 in the opener. They lost 62-7 to Class 2A, No. 9-ranked Milaca in the semifinals and then took a 39-32 loss against Class 3A, No. 9-ranked Elk River in the final round.

Keeping the shortfalls in perspective, Larson was happy to walk away with the fourth-place finish.

"We beat Blaine pretty handily and it was a good dual for us," Larson said. "We were really shorthanded there. We had three or four guys out of the lineup that we would normally have in there. We were very shorthanded so we went in without a lot of expectations and finished fourth."

Competing for third place against No. 9 Elk River, the Irish had the match come down to the final weight class.

"Elk River on paper probably looked a lot better than us," Larson said. "We got it down to the last match. We thought there was a match or two that could have gone the other way and we could have possible beat them. Without some key people it was a tough duel to win. We felt good about the day."

Rosemount's Adam Jackson and Josh Francois each went 3-0 on the day.

Tyler Sandoz, Steve Levine, Paul Domeier and Alex Johnson each went 2-1 for the Irish. Johnson won his first varsity match while filling one of the open spots in the lineup. Pat Massey added his second varsity win during the day.

"We were just a little shorthanded," Larson said. "All year, it's been a recurring theme."

Against Eagan, the Irish suffered another tough injury. Garrett Bothun, who is ranked No. 5 in Class 3A at 145 pounds, left his match with an injury. Not only did Rosemount sustain a nine-point swing in the dual against Eagan after having to surrender Bothun's match, but Bothun was unavailable at Blaine.

Sandoz won a match that went into quadruple overtime.

Levine, Domeier, Jackson, Francois and Abbott each earned points for the Irish.

"We're just in that mix of schools right there," Larson said. "We just came up a little bit short. We thought we could beat them and had a good chance to win. We lose some points because of the injury and another match we thought we could win and that's a 15-point swing. It's a 12-point difference. Two matches in wrestling can make that big of difference."

As it has all season for Rosemount.