The 2022 state wrestling tournament saw 12 kids from Caledonia/Houston, Chatfield, and GMLOS in action. Included was the first girls Minnesota state wrestling tournament. Chatfield’s Grady Schott was the highlight. A foursome from Caledonia/Houston placed. A gal from Grand Meadow got to be a part of history.
Gopher senior Grady Schott entered the meet having finished state runner-up at 182 last season. Expectations were high. Schott, ranked #2, lived up to the hype, grandiosely. He authored two second period pins in his first two matches. In the semifinals, Schott beat Badger/Greenbush-Middle River’s #4 Caleb Vacura (42-4) by 4-1 decision. Schott had two first period takedowns for his points. He beat Vacura in the semis last season, too (9-4). In the finals, it was a match-up of #2 Schott versus #1 Carter Holtz (47-4) of Kimball Area. Holtz scored a reversal and near-falls points in the second period to lead 6-1. In the third, Schott got a dramatic pin 21 seconds in to grab a state title, his second of the year (football). He finishes at 41-1. He was 31-1 last year. It’s the second straight year Chatfield has had a state champion, as Seth Goetzinger did so last season. Chatfield’s three other entrants didn’t place. Freshman Javier Berg (#2 at 106) went 2-2. Berg (30-10) alternated wins and losses by decision (won 6-3, lost 4-3, won 5-4 by TB-1, lost 8-3). He faced just one ranked wrestler, beating Tracy-Milroy et al’s #9 Linkoln Carlson (36-16) in wrestle-backs. Sophomore Kail Schott (#7 at 170) also went 2-2. He alternated wins and losses (won 9-6, lost 8-0 major, won 7-5, lost 3-1). His defeats were to #1 Ashton Hanan of Kimball Area (33-6) and #4 Caden Johnson (43-4) of Tracy-Milroy et al. Schott (37-6) beat Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s #9 Jake Mortensen (34-10) and Jackson County Central’s #8 Matthew Haley (40-12), as all four of his foes entered ranked. Sophomore Gage Bartels (#6 at 113) went 1-2 (lost 4-1, won 9-3, lost 9-7). Bartels (31-10) fell to Border West’s #4 Cole Sykora (40-6) while beating St. Clair/Mankato-Loyola’s #7 Simon Kruse (45-6).
Caledonia/Houston had the most overall success of the area squads. Four of five Warriors to compete placed. Owen Denstad (132) and Tucker Ginther (145) each took third to lead the way. Denstad used a fall and a 3-2 decision over NRHEG’s #10 Nikolas Petsinger (39-9) to make the semifinals. There he fell to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s #1 Walker Bents (46-1), the eventual champ, by 4-0 decision. Said match was 0-0 heading to the third. Denstad then beat ACGC’s #8 Cole Holien (42-11) by 5-1 decision and JCC’s #3 Logan Butzon (46-9) by 10-5 decision. The match with Holien was 1-1 in the third before Denstad got a takedown and back points. Entering the tourney unranked, the sophomore Denstad (46-5) beat three ranked guys to claim third place. Ginther also was impressive. The junior fell in his first match by 5-1 decision to Kimball Area’s #10 Gavin Winter (25-4). Ginther then ran off four straight close decision wins in wrestlebacks to take third. He used a 5-0 first period to beat Crosby-Ironton’s #6 John Paul Fitzpatrick (44-7) by 5-3 final. Ginther then won 6-4 over ACGC’s #7 Brady Holien (47-5) and 5-4 over D-E’s #3 Brodie Kellen (38-8), a 1A finals re-match. The match versus Kellen was tied 2-2 heading the third; Ginther started with an escape, then got a takedown for a 5-2 lead. Finally, Minneota’s #9 Zack Fier (21-7) fell by 4-2 decision in SV-1. Ginther trailed Fier 1-0 in the third before getting a takedown. Fier escaped for a 2-2 tie. Ginther recorded a takedown in overtime. He finishes at 35-9, placing for the first time in his fourth state appearance. Braxton Lange (106) went 3-2 to take fourth. He opened with two decision wins, 5-0 over Crookston’s #8 Evin Trudeau (41-11) and 3-0 over Osakis’ #4 Reggie George (39-10). In the semis, Lange fell to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg’s #1 Trey Gunderson (48-1), the eventual champ, by 8-1 decision. Lange then won by 7-2 decision before losing by 6-2 to Holdingford’s #5 Wyatt Novitzki (37-4). Lange (33-17) entered unranked but beat two ranked foes. Brandon Ross entered the tourney looking to defend his 2021 120-pound state title. The senior (#1 at 126) opened with 9-4 and 5-0 decision wins. In the semis, Ross fell to Royalton/Upsala’s #4 Alex Diederich (45-4) by 5-2 decision. Ross (19-4), having missed most of the year to knee injury, then medically forfeited his last two matches. He took sixth. Finally, Ayden Goetzinger (#8 at 195) went 1-2. The junior (32-9) won his opening bout by 7-2 decision before falling to Benson’s #1 Thomas Dineen (47-0) by fall and Holdingford’s #6 Sam Herren (32-9) by 10-2 major. Dineen won the state title.
GMLOS’ top finisher was a part of the MSHSL’s first ever girls state wrestling tournament. Diann Smith (138) had taken second at the Section 1-4 meet to Eastview’s Riley Meyers. There is only one section for girls wrestling. Smith went on to the state “Final Four,” where she won her first match over Bemidji’s Jaydyn Kelly by first period fall. Smith then faced off against Meyers again, falling by 2-0 decision. Meyers (17-11) scored a takedown with 0:42 left in the third period to earn victory. Smith (11-3), a sophomore, finishes as 138-pound runner-up. She is the daughter of GMLOS wrestling coach Randy Smith. Brother Daniel Smith was a state entrant last season. Cohen Wiste took on his fourth state meet. Like his previous experiences, this was shorter than hoped. He went 1-2. Wiste (#1 at 138) won his first match by 6-4 decision over Canby’s #9 at 132 Lane Fink (40-8). The junior then fell to Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Kelliher’s #10 Christian Pater (32-3) by 12-2 major, then to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead’s unranked Mitchell Malak by 6-2 decision. Wiste finishes at 41-6. Christian Luthe (285) opened with a win by fall but then lost by 8-3 decision to Royalton/Upsala’s #3 Jeremy Mugg (45-6) and then by fall to United North Central’s unranked Marcus Peterson (29-18). Luthe, a senior, finishes at 26-11. Older brother Clayton was also a state entrant.
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