|2/27/2020 2:41:00 PM|
A haul of Chisago County wrestlers go to state
Southern Chisago County will be well represent at this weekend’s state high school wrestling tournament, with four wrestlers from each school heading to the Xcel Center in St. Paul. In last weekend’s Section 4AA individual tournament, the Vikings dominated the middle weights as junior Josh Logan (132), sophomore Brandt Bombard (138) and sophomore Ashton LaBelle (145) won section championships. For the Wildcats, junior Austin Siefert (182) and senior Connor Bleymeyer (285) won section championships. One Viking finished second – senior Austin Sonnek (152). Two Wildcats had second place finishes – freshman Andrew Novack (126) and junior Nolan Huffman (145).
The state individual tournament will begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow and run through Saturday evening. Class AA opening round matches will get underway starting at about 11 a.m. tomorrow. If you are not able to make it down to the Xcel and want to keep track of any or all of our local wrestlers, visit theguillotine.com and pick Tournament Time from the High School dropdown menu.
Logan won the championship at 132 by beating Roman Cortez of South St. Paul 6-5 in Ultimate Overtime, in what Viking assistant coach Kyle Kahl described as “the best match of the tournament.” Logan was ahead 3-2 late in the third period and escaped with 13 seconds left to go up 4-2. Cortez threw Logan for a takedown with two seconds left to tie the match at 4-4. The referee also awarded a two-point near-fall as time expired, which appeared to give Cortez the win. But the two referees discussed it and ruled that the near fall came after the final buzzer, so the match remained tied at 4-4 and went to overtime.
In the first one-minute overtime, neither wrestler got a takedown that would have given him a sudden victory. Logan chose down in the next 30 second overtime and got an escape that put him up 5-4. In the next 30-second overtime, Logan got a hold of Cortez’s ankle and hung onto it for about ten seconds, which is well past the five seconds allowed without finishing a move. Since Logan had already been given a stalling warning earlier in the match, he was penalized a point for stalling with the ankle grab, tying the match at 5-5. That led to the 30-second Ultimate Overtime. Logan started on the bottom. If he escaped, he would win the match. If Cortez rode him out for 30 seconds, Cortez would win the match. Logan escaped 15 seconds into the period and emerged victorious.
In order to reach the championship match, Logan had pinned Hayden Trupe of Chisago Lakes at 1:47 in the quarterfinals and major-decisioned Soni Soukchaleun of St. Paul Johnson 11-0 in the semifinals.
At 138, Bombard opened with a quarterfinal pin over Emmanuel Chea of St Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning). He then pinned Stone Frasl of St. Paul Como Park at 3:30. Bombard dominated the championship match, winning by a 10-0 major decision over Aedon Oberdorfer of St. Paul Highland Park.
LaBelle also dominated at 145, with three technical falls. He started with a 16-1 win at 5:23 over Lazaro Carrera-Perez of Cretin-Derham Hall. In the semifinals, he won by the same score over Nixon Stroud of South Saint Paul, and it only took him 4:09. LaBelle faced Huffman, of Chisago Lakes, in the championship match and it took him just 2:58 to complete a 15-0 win to claim the championship. Kahl said “We knew Brandt and Ashton were going to win the section championships and they did their jobs.”
Senior captain Austin Sonnek’s second place finish was the most satisfying for the Viking faithful, and he did it in dramatic fashion. After Sonnek dispatched Simon Heck of St. Paul Como Park in 41 seconds in the quarterfinals, he faced James Johnson of South St. Paul in the semifinals. Johnson is the wrestler Sonnek beat to go to state last year. For both wrestlers, this semifinal match was the most likely path to the state tournament, since the winner would be facing seventh-ranked Reid Lawrence of Mahtomedi in the championship match.
Midway through the second period of the match, Johnson put Sonnek on his back and looked like he was going to complete the pin. But Sonnek reversed course, flipping Johnson onto his back for a pin and the win at 3:07. Kahl said “Austin just didn’t want his senior season to be over. When he got put on his back, he was thinking ‘not here, not now, not in my senior year’, flipped Johnson onto his back and boom! It was over.” Sonnek did lose the championship match to Lawrence, by a 16-0 technical fall at 2:43. Sonnek didn’t have to wrestle a True Second match because he had already beaten Johnson, so Sonnek was on his way to state. Kahl said “The cool thing is that Austin has been on varsity since he was a seventh-grader and he weighed about 100 pounds. He is our only senior and it’s great to see how much he has grown and matured as a wrestler and as a person.”
Jackson Marcussen was one of the most pleasant surprises of the tournament, finishing third at 285. After pinning Jaylin Grasty of St. Paul Washington Technology Magnet in 1:11, Marcussen lost to Bleymeyer in 42 seconds in the semifinals. In his next match, Marcussen pinned Max Rice of Mahtomedi in 1:08. Marcussen then faced Grasty for the second time that day, now with third place on the line. Marcussen pinned Grasty again, this time in 1:28. The win earned Marcussen the right to face Caleb Johnson of South St. Paul in a True Second match. Johnson pinned Marcussen in 47 seconds, leaving Marcussen with a third place finish. Kahl said “Jackson was hurt during football and didn’t practice with us until after Christmas because of the knee injury. He only wrestled a quarter of the season, but we knew he could be good. He just needed to believe in himself. After this tournament, he knows he can do it. He will need to put in some work in the offseason to better his chance of qualifying for state next season.” Junior Caleb Norwig also performed well in the tough 220-pound class, finishing fourth. “Caleb was with us as a freshman and took last year off. Now that he’s back, hopefully his recent success will propel him to continue to work hard in the offseason.”
According to Kahl, the four Viking wrestlers going to state aren’t just happy to be there. They have loftier goals. He said “All four of our guys are heading to the state with the mindset of placing.”
At 182, Siefert upset one of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state to in the championship match to win the section. Siefert opened with a tough quarterfinal match against Cage Linton of Cretin-Derham Hall and won 9-5. In the semifinals, Siefert pinned Caleb Binman of South Saint Paul at 4:25. And in the championship match, the unranked Siefert faced Nate Kujawa of Mahtomedi, ranked sixth in the state at 182. Siefert pulled out a 9-6 win and will head to state as the section champ.
With only six wrestlers at 285 in the section, the dominant Bleymeyer needed to wrestle just twice to win the section. In the semifinals, he pinned Marcussen in just 42 seconds. And in the match for first place, he won by a 15-0 technical fall at 3:12 over Caleb Johnson of South St. Paul to win the section. “Connor wasn’t out there very long,” said Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon. “And you don’t see heavyweights win by tech fall too often. Connor had the guy pretty much pinned in the first period, but the referee stopped the match because he thought the guy was injured.” And as for Bleymeyer’s state tournament prospects? Frederixon said “Connor got the fifth seed. Winning that first match is huge. He is going to have to wrestle the best he has all year in order to place. And he has a winnable first match. He is facing Ryan Fitz from Mound Westonka, who Connor beat 8-5 earlier this year. So I am sure that kid will be highly motivated to beat Connor.”
At 126, Novack pinned Tusun Lee of St. Paul Como Park at 1:30 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he beat Hunter Wilsey of Mahtomedi at 4:41, setting up what turned out to be a wild championship match with Yim-Leej Yang of St. Paul Johnson. Frederixon said “Yang is a tough kid who has been to state a few times. Andrew really had the crowd up on his feet when he was doing some of his throws. He fell behind 11-3 and it seemed like Andrew tied it up 11-11 in no time.” Yang eventually won the match 27-17. Since Novack had already beaten Wilsey, he did not have to wrestle a True Second match and was on his way to state. Frederixon said “Andrew left it l out there and really gave Yang a run for his money. And Andrew had lost to Wilsey the week before, so it was fun for him to beat him in sections.”
Nolan Huffman completes the list of state tournament entrants with a second place finish at 145, and he did it with a flourish. He opened with a 6-0 decision in the quarterfinals over Laquan Burks of St. Paul Como Park. In the semifinals, he squeaked by Will Altman of St. Paul Highland Park 4-3. In the championship match, Huffman lost by a 15-0 technical fall to North Branch’s LaBelle. In order to earn a berth at state, Huffman had to beat Crown Htoo of St. Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning. Huffman was leading late in the match when he put Htoo on his back and pinned him with nine seconds to go.