Fifteen total guys from Caledonia/Houston (9), Chatfield (5), and FCLMC (1) took on the state individual wrestling tourney. Six placed with three state champions. For a first time ever, Chatfield got two titlists, sophomore Javier Berg (106) and junior Kail Schott (182). Caledonia/Houston also got state champion in senior Tucker Ginther (145). All were impressive. Berg (#1) made the finals by posting an 11-0 major and two falls. The pins were of West Central Area/Ashby/B-E’s #4 Owen Gruckow (37-10) in the quarters and Minnewaska’s #5 Miles Wildman (40-4) in the semis. Berg out-scored his first three foes 24-0. In the finals, Berg (44-2) topped Pipestone’s #8 Miklo Hernandez (29-5) by 7-3 decision to whip to a state title. Kail Schott (38-4) followed in his brother Grady’s footsteps. Ranked #2, Schott beat four ranked opponents, taking down Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s #7 Carson Gilbert (30-15) by 5-3 decision in the first round, Lake Crystal-Wellcome-Memorial’s #10 Nick Slater (37-12) by 4-2 decision in the quarters, and Maple River/USC’s #4 Cooper Ochsendorf (40-6) by 11-2 major in the semis. Schott led early and never trailed in each match. In the finals versus WCAA/B-E’s #1 Anthony Sykora (48-2), last year’s 170-pound state champ, Schott trailed 6-3 with less than 0:30 to go but got an escape and a takedown (0:08) to force OT. Brother Grady, in last year’s 182-pound final, trailed 6-1 only to author a second period pin for his title. Kail made it two straight dramatic Schott titles by recording a takedown in the first OT, beating Sykora 8-6 in SV-1! Both Berg and Schott did not place last year. It is the third straight year Chatfield has had a state champ (Seth Goetzinger 2021, G-Schott 2022, K-Schott/Berg 2023), a never-before Gopher feat. Harvey and Hank Friederichs most recently won titles back-to-back years (2014, 2015). Gage Bartels (126) gave Chatfield three placers. The #6-ranked junior (34-10) won his first two matches, the first by forfeit, the second by 4-0 decision over Medford’s #2 Tommy Elwood (43-7). Bartels then fell to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/W/WG’s #3 Devin Carter (48-2) by 9-6 decision. Bartels medically forfeited his last two matches. He took sixth. Kaisen Johnson (113) and Carson Rowland (145) also competed. Johnson (28-13) won a 4-1 decision over Medford’s #9 Luis Lopez (29-7), lost a 1-0 decision to Minneota’s #3 Adam DeVlaemink (38-7) courtesy of a second period escape, won by fall, and lost by 5-2 decision. He did not place. Rowland (37-7), ranked #6, lost to Medford’s #1 Charley Elwood (21-3) by 3-2 decision. Elwood then lost, leaving the sophomore Rowland with just one match.
On the Caledonia/Houston front, Tucker Ginther was the man. Of the nine Warrior state entrants (a group of guys who wrestled a lot over a three-day period), he finished his career beaming. Ginther (#2 at 145) beat four ranked guys, downing Bertha-Hewitt/V/PP’s #8 David Revering (40-9) in the first round by 8-1 decision, and then Royalton/Upsala’s #10 Will Gorecki (31-9) by 5-0 decision. In the semis, Ginther redeemed a 2-1 loss in the state team dual to Jackson County Central’s #3 Logan Butzon (42-4) via a 6-4 decision. Ginther led 3-1 heading to third. Butzon went ahead 4-3 early but Ginther got an escape and a takedown for the win. In the finals, Ginther topped WCAA/B-E’s #4 Hunter Gruchow by 3-1 decision, keyed by a second period takedown and a third period escape. The senior (37-2) beat five total ranked guys to get his title (including sections). He goes out a five-time state entrant, two-time placer (third, first). Owen Denstad (132) and Cory Scanlan (138) also placed. Denstad notched a fall and an 8-3 decision over Pipestone’s #7 Hudson Burnett (41-8) to make the semis, matching up with familiar foe, #4 Nolan Ambrose (38-3) of JCC. Ambrose won 5-1 in their state team dual, and 1-0 (courtesy of a third period escape) in the re-match. Denstad (48-5) then beat BBE’s #2 Ryan Jensen (43-5) by 5-3 decision and D-E’s #5 Bolton Thesing (47-7) by 13-3 major to take third place. Denstad beat Jensen 5-4 in Cal/Hou’s team semifinal win and Thesing 9-3 for the 1A title. Denstad took third at 132 last year too. Scanlan (37-13) posted a fall and a 4-2 decision in SV-1 over BBE’s #5 Wyatt Engen (37-8) to make the semis. Said match was tied 2-2 after one period, and Scanlan won in OT courtesy of a takedown. He then fell by 7-1 decision to Staples-Motley’s #2 Colby Tappe (43-4). WCAA/B-E’s #6 Solomon Wales (39-13) and Canby’s #8 Lane Fink (42-12) then downed Scanlan by 4-2 decision and 13-2 major decision in the consolation bracket, leaving the senior in sixth place. None of the other six Warriors made the podium. Braxton Lange (120), Isaac Blocker (152), Eric Mauss (182), and Ayden Goetzinger (195) each went 1-2. The third-ranked Lange (40-8) won his first match by fall, but then fell to St. Clair/Mankato-Loyola’s #5 Simon Kruse (37-2) by 11-5 decision and to Minnewaska’s #8 Chase Smith (36-6) by 8-0 major. The third-ranked Blocker (14-7) lost his first match to BOLD’s Austin Kiecker (34-2) by fall, won his second match by 6-4 decision over Medford’s #5 Garron Hoffman (35-8), then lost by 5-4 decision to JCC’s Isaiah Rodriguez (32-19). Mauss (33-8) won his first match 3-1 in SV-1 over Kimball Area’s #8 Hank Meyer (35-10), then fell by 15-0 tech fall to state runner-up #1 Sykora (4-2) and by 8-3 decision to Wabasso’s #9 at 170 Chase Irlbeck (33-16). The second-ranked Goetzinger (41-8) won his opening match by 5-3 decision, then lost to Red Rock Central’s #3 Vander Mathiowetz (41-5) by fall and Medford’s Dylan Heiderscheidt (30-15) by 4-3 decision. Hunter Frank (113 > 27-22) went 0-2, losing by fall and 9-2 decision. Grant Ness (285 > 14-6) went 0-2, losing twice by fall. The Warriors guys wrestled three state team duals Thursday, then individuals Friday/Saturday, a hefty task.
Finally, FCLMC’s Orion Sass (160 > 22-8) also wrestled just one match, losing by 13-2 major.