2 Tigers punch ticket to St. Paul

REDWOOD FALLS – The Marshall/Lakeview wrestling team will be sending twice as many wrestlers to the state meet than last year, as both Riley Roth and Campbell Hofstetter punched their tickets to St. Paul by claiming top honors in their weight classes at the Section 3AA meet on Saturday.

Hofstetter was the lone Tiger to qualify for state a season ago and head coach Justin Bouwman noted that the improvement, though subtle, is encouraging for the direction of the program.

“It’s exciting. It shows me and our coaching staff that everything is going in the right direction,” Bouwman said. “We’re doing the right things to improve and we’ve got to keep going.”

Hofstetter ground out a 5-2 decision over Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley’s Jordan Staab to claim first place at 182 pounds, while Roth met all comers at 132 pounds, scoring a 10-3 decision over Montevideo’s Logan Knoshal in the championship bout.

The undefeated weekend for Roth continued a streak at peak form for the Marshall senior.

“It really started during the Parker (S.D.) tournament,” Bouwman said. “He was wrestling just amazing, everything was there. He had no issues, no problems, everything was coming to him. It clicked for him, he got that groove and he didn’t let go of it.”

The Tigers had seven other individuals place in the top six of their divisions.

Senior heavyweight Austin Nath, who set the school record for pins in a season and pins in a career on Saturday, just missed out on a state berth claiming third place at 285. Kesmond Willert, Nick Erbes and Ramzi Gregoire each took fourth place in their divisions, while Toby Semler and Justin Varpness picked up fifth-place finishes. Jared Holland finished in sixth place at 195 for the Tigers as well.

“All those guys, they all wrestled really well and they all came up short in just one match,” Bouwman said. “A little bit here or a little bit there and who knows. But they all wrestled really well and to see that out of our young guys, to see them guys place as eighth graders, it means that the program is coming and we’ve just got to keep building for the future.

“Austin, it’s hard to see him go,” Bouwman said of Nath. “We sat and we game-planned, but it just didn’t work for us that day.”

Eight other grapplers from the area also qualified for the individual state meet, which begins on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley led area schools with six individual qualifiers, including five division champions.

Jordan Bothun was the first United wrestler to earn a spot at state, taking top honors at 113. Keith Abraham and Garth Ochsendorf followed up with championships at 145 and 160 respectively. JD Struxness and Brandon Schmitt both mauled their way through the 220-pound and 285-pound divisions respectively while cementing their places in St. Paul.

Jordan Staab, who finished second to Hofstetter at 182, will also represent the United at state this week.

Quad County and Fulda/Murray County Central each sent one wrestler to state. Kirby Winson battled through wrestle backs to take second place at 138, while also becoming the first ever Quad County state representative. The 2012-13 season marked the first season that Yellow Medicine East, Renville County West and MACCRAY had combined to form one team.

Ben Loosbrock was bested by Ochsendorf at 160, but still wound up in second place and will represent the Warriors in St. Paul.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove had four wrestlers place in the top six in their divisions, including two third place finishes, but did not see any individuals qualify for state on Saturday.

Quad County had the most individuals place in the top six with 11 medalists, while Redwood Valley had just one.

Adrian and Dawson-Boyd/LQPV tied for the most individual qualifiers with six apiece.