PREP WRESTLING: Minneota/Lincoln HI, United both go 0-2 in duals at St. Paul

ST. PAUL – Expectations were high for the Minneota/Lincoln High wrestlers when they competed in the Class A State Team Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center Thursday. That’s why it was especially painful for the Vikings when they went 0-2 to end their day early.

As the No. 4 seed in the tournament and No. 3 ranked team in the latest Class A poll, Minneota hoped to be wrestling for at least a third-place medal, or better, but lost a 31-25 match to Jackson County Central in the quarterfinal.

After falling to the consolation semifinals, the Vikings lost another close match to Sibley East, 31-24, to be one of the first two teams eliminated.

“We had some opportunities in both matches but we fell short,” coach Joel Skillings said. “I know this sport is looked at as an individual sport, but this is the aspect where we all could have done a little more. This was disappointing because they expected a lot, but I’m not disappointed with the kids.”

The Vikings opened up their quarterfinal against JCC by winning the first two matches of the dual. Although they won five of the first seven matches, the Vikings hadn’t built up a very big lead. A lack of bonus points hurt them in both duals.

“We were certainly hoping for more bonus points, and we tried to get everyone to understand that you can’t give them up,” Skillings said. “Can you ever get enough?”

Minneota’s 19-6 lead didn’t hold up as the defending state champions won six straight matches, including eight bonus points, to go up 31-19 and seal the victory. Trent Esping finished the dual with a pin for the Vikings, but they were already out of reach.

That loss may have shaken the Vikings as they had to wrestle back-to-back matches in the consolation semifinal and couldn’t turn things around.

“It’s hard to say. Our expectations were definitely high, so I don’t know that we wanted to take steps backwards,” Skillings said. “But we were put in that situation and had to wrestle that match, and we came up a little short.”

Brock Buysse started the Vikings off with a pin at 106 pounds, and two more wins by Kyle Hennen (120) and Landyn VanOverbeke (126) put them up 12-3 after four matches. Sibley East overtook them with three straight wins, but a technical pin by Alec Engler at 152 pounds gave Minneota a 17-16 lead, its final lead of the dual.

The Wolverines took the lead back at 160 pounds with a crushing 2-1 decision in quadruple overtime, and then won another decision at 170 pounds. Grant Abraham earned three points with a win at 182 pounds to make it 22-20, but the Wolverines scored a pin at 195 to put the Vikings on the ropes.

Esping tried to get the pin at 220 pounds by had to settle for a 17-8 major decision, leaving them four points shy of the lead going into the final.

Ryan Twedt battled Sibley East’s Jaden Podratz in the heavyweight bout but came up short in an 8-7 decision to end Minneota’s season.

“I’m proud of the kids, but we just found out that the margin for error is slim (at state). They wrestled hard, but there were a few mistakes here and there,” Skillings said. “They are hurting, and they should. Their expectations were high. If you didn’t come down here to win it, what is the point.”

The Vikings still have seven individuals competing in the state individual tournament Friday and Saturday, so they will have to get over Thursday’s disappointment quickly to redeem themselves today.

“They will have to put themselves back together a little bit, because this is a tight group,” Skillings said.

Competing individually for the Vikings are Brock Buysse (106), Landyn VanOverbeke (126), Bryce Buner (138), Alec Engler (145), Nicholas Esping (152), Cole Hennen (160) and Trent Esping (285).

Jackson Co. Central 31, Minneota/Lincoln HI 25

106: Brock Buysse (M/LHI) decision over Jacob Tvinnereim, 7-1; 113: Eric Hauswedell (M/LHI) decision Dalton Wagner, 11-5; 120: Ryker VanderWoude (JCC) decision Kyle Hennen, 9-7; 126: Jordan Biehn (JCC) deicisionLandyn VanOverbeke, 7-3; 132: Leo Buysse (M/LHI) decision Dakota Rossow, 4-2; 138: Bryce Brunner (M/LHI) major decision Jared Bakalyar, 13-2; 145: Alec Engler (M/LHI) pinned Triston Peterson, 2:48; 152: Paden Moore (JCC) technical fall Nicholas Esping, 4:30; 160: Luke Norland (JCC) major decision Cole Hennen, 8-0; 170: Christopher Baker (JCC) decision Abraham, 6-1; 182: Keegan Moore (JCC) pinned Alec Bueltel, 2:23; 195: Jack Ziemer (JCC) decision Nathan Bueltel, 5-1; 220: Justin Tirevold (JCC) major decision Ryan Twedt, 13-1; 285: Trent Esping (M/LHI) pinned Matthew Schmit, 3:18.

Sibley East 31, Minneota/Lincoln HI 24

106: Brock Buysse (M/LHI) pinned Tommy Wentzlaff, 0:15; 113: Tanner Pasvogal (SE) decision Eric Hauswedell, 6-2; 120: Kyle Hennen (M/LHI) decision Mitch Heibel, 6-3; 126: Landyn VanOverbeke (M/LHI) decision Mason Voight, 8-6; 132: Jason Meyer (SE) major decision Leo Buysse, 13-4; 138: Austin Brockhoff (SE) pinned Kolin Drietz, 3:13; 145: Hunter Retzlaff (SE) decision Bryce Brunner, 7-3; 152: Alec Engler (M/LHI) technical fall Quinlan Riffenburg, 18-1; 160: Mitchell Wentzlaff (SE) decision over Nicholas Esping, 2-1, 4OT; 170: Jake Wentzlaff (SE) decision Cole Hennen, 9-4; 182: Grant Abraham (M/LHI) decision Cody Voight, 9-3; 195: Nathan Rose (SE) pinned Nathan Bueltel, 1:02; 220: Trent Esping (M/LHI) major decision Jon DeFrane, 17-8; 285: Jaden Podratz (SE) decision Ryan Twedt, 8-7.