Caledonia/Houston wrestling, ranked #2, finished up its season where any team wants to, on the floor of the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center. They even finished in the state title match. But they came one team win short of a state title, falling to powerful #1 Jackson County Central, the tourney’s 1-seed. It was an excellent season for Shay Mahoney’s group. The Warriors very much controlled things in their other two state duals.
Versus #12 in A United North Central (Section 8A Champ, 19-5) in the quarters, the #2 Warriors (2-seed 32-6) entered with six ranked wrestlers and UNC (also the Warriors) with just two (one did not wrestle). Team Cal never trailed and won six of seven weights from 132 to 182 to lead insurmountably at 32-11. Aden Kulas’ 6-2 decision win (182) clinched the win. The final was 35-23. Third-ranked Owen Denstad (132) and #3 at 152 Isaac Blocker had pins. The latter wrestled 160. Cory Scanlan (138) and #2 Tucker Ginther (145) won 9-1 and 17-4 majors. Scanlan had a seven-point third period. The Warriors four other victories were by decision. Aiden Burns (106) started things with a 7-2 win. Third-ranked Braxton Lange (120) eked out a 6-5 decision over Conrad Koll courtesy of late (0:16) third period takedown. Simon Seymour (#6 at 160) built a 5-0 first period lead and prevailed 5-2 at 170. Ayden Goetzinger (#2 at 195) won 7-4, notching the only takedowns in his match at 220. Blocker, Seymour, and Goetzinger all won wrestling up. The Warriors had two decision losses. Hunter Frank (113) fell 9-8 to Rhett Anderson, suffering a reversal and back-points late in the third. Tanner Ginther (126) lost 5-0 to Zach Hendrickson. Cal/Hou dropped 195 and 285 to fall, 152 to 21-4 tech fall to UNC’s Hank Tellers (#7 at 145).
In the semifinals, #2 Caledonia/Houston (2-seed, 33-6) took on #3 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (3-seed, Section 5A champ, 21-5). The Jaguars entered with five ranked wrestlers. B-B-E took 106 when Aiden Mueller went over Burns by 6-2 decision.
Cal/Hou then won eight straight matches. The biggest wins came at 132 and 138. Owen Denstad (#3) got a take-down of Ryan Jensen (#2) with 0:01 in the third period to notch a 5-4 decision victory at 132! Cory Scanlan (138) then was leading #5 Wyatt Engen 11-3 before pulling off a third period pin. The two matches and preceded that were #3 Braxton Lange (120) winning by 17-0 tech fall and Tanner Ginther (126) winning by first period fall. The three matches after were all decision wins: #2 Tucker Ginther (145) by 3-2 tally, #3 Isaac Blocker (152) by 13-7 score, and #6
Simon Seymour (160) by a 1-0 verdict courtesy of a third period escape. With five weights left, Cal/Hou led 33-3. BBE had to pin-out. When #3 Maximum Hanson (170) beat Bronson Knutson just by 20-5 tech fall, the Warriors were in the finals. BBE won the next four matches too, two by fall (195, 220), one by 8-0 major decision (182), and Harley Weber (285) beat Grant Ness by 5-1 decision. The Jaguars had ranked guys win at 182 and 220. Ayden Goetzinger did not wrestle. The final was 33-27.
In the finals, the #2 Warriors (2-seed, 34-6) met up with defending state champ #1 Jackson County Central (1-seed, 20-7). The Huskies surrendered nine total points in three Section 3A wins, and posted a 48-17 win over #7 West Central-Ashby/B-E (19-6) in the quarters, a 54-18 win over #8 Howard Lake-Waverly (27-7) in the semis. JCC entered with seven ranked guys (all after 132) and a Class A high 11 individual state entrants. The Warriors found all points tough to get. JCC notched a pin in the first 20 seconds at 106. Cal/Hou’s Hunter Frank (113) then notched eight takedowns in registering a 18-6 major. Two weights later (126), Braxton Lange (#3 at 120) notched two takedowns before winning by medical forfeit. The score was tied 10-10. But Cal/Hou had just three takedowns the rest of the match. They were on the losing end of three ranked/ranked bouts. Nolan Ambrose (#4) beat Owen Denstad (#3) by 5-1 decision at 132. Logan Butzon (#3) beat Tucker Ginther (#2) by 2-1 decision at 145. The winning points were by penalty in the third. Matthew Haley (#5) beat Ayden Goetzinger (#2) by 6-0 decision at 195. All told, JCC won four straight key decisions through the middle weights, a strong point in Cal/Hou’s line-up. Cory Scanlan also fell 7-3 to Thomas Freking (#3) at 138 and Isaac Blocker (#3) fell to Isaiah Rodriguez by 4-3 decision at 152. Heading to the upper weights, the Warriors trailed 22-10. Simon Seymour (#6) stopped the bleeding with a 3-2 decision at 160, notching a third period takedown (0:56) for the winning points. The Warriors even got fortunate, as Eric Mauss took 182 by medical forfeit over #5 at 170 Dylan Withers (who was leading 5-0). Said win made the score 28-19 JCC. But the Huskies have ranked guys at 195, 220, and 285. All three won, the last two by fall. JCC grabbed the Class A state team title 43-19. It is their ninth title since 2008. The Warriors exceptional season ends at 34-7. They brought home trophies for their TRC and 1A titles and taking second at state. Sophomore Braxton Lange made the All-Tourney team. Coach Shay Mahoney had a big senior 10-man class; Tuck. Ginther, Goetzinger, Seymour, Scanlan, Mauss, Ness, Tyler Jennings, Bronson Knutson, Jacob Francis, and Alec Weinbender. It was a memorable year they will not soon forget.