The Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran wrestling team had another strong showing last weekend, placing second at the seven-team Delano Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 8. Only Apple Valley, the top-ranked team in the state in Class AAA, finished ahead of the Royals.
Apple Valley finished with 260 points, winning eight of the 14 weight classes. However, the Royals finished with 201.5 points, had two champions, and had seven wrestlers advance to the finals. Waconia was a distant third with 150.5 points.
Considering the level of competition at the top, Watertown-Mayer coach Joe Traen said it was about the best his team could have hoped placing wise.
“You have to be realistic,” he said. “Apple Valley is still pretty tough, and they showed it.”
The Royals’ two champions on the day came in the highest and lowest weight classes. At 285 pounds, Davion Franklin went 3-0 on the day to take home first place for the Royals, pinning Apple Valley’s Lord Hyeamang in the first period in the finals. At 106 pounds, the Royals’ Jackson Sweeney finished in first place, also going 3-0 and winning a 4-0 decision over St. Peter’s Joey More in the finals.
At 285 pounds, Franklin won all three of his matches by fall. He pinned Foley’s Dylan Stang in the first round in 3:48, needed just 1:29 to pin St. Peter’s Travis Brock in the second round, and earned his pin in the finals in 1:48. Franklin is currently ranked seventh in the state at 285 pounds in Class AA.
“It was his first time on the mat this year,” Traen said. “He didn’t have the toughest competition, but it was a great way for him to start. He did have the Apple Valley guy in the finals.”
At 106 pounds, Sweeney won his first-round match, 10-3, over Justin Schultz of Waconia. He earned a 10-2 major decision over Apple Valley’s Kyle Rathman in the second round to advance to the finals. Sweeney is also ranked seventh in the state in Class AA.
“I think that was Jackson’s first career varsity tournament win,” Traen said. “He’s been in the finals a lot, but he hasn’t been able to win. This time he did, so that was good.”
Five Royals finished in second place on the day. Those wrestlers included Bryce Duske (113 pounds), Adam Traen (120), Matt Elsenpeter (126), Aaron Sweeney (138) and Joe Jobe (145).
At 113 pounds, Duske went 2-1 on the day. He beat St. Peter’s Shaun Timmerman 2-1, lost 8-4 to Apple Valley’s Gannon Volk, but pinned Waconia’s Spencer Neu in 1:21.
Traen also went 2-1 on the day, starting with a pin of Delano’s Cole Paskach in 1:28 in the first round. Traen advanced to the finals with a 10-6 decision over Apple Valley’s Zach Chytka, but fell in the finals to St. Peter’s Chris Pettis via a close 5-3 decision.
“He was ahead by 1 in the last period and he got turned with 6 seconds to go,” Joe Traen said.
At 126 pounds, Elsenpeter won each of his first two matches by fall, the first in just 48 seconds over St. Peter’s Brayden Hauser, and the second in 4:37 over Dassel-Cokato’s Tom Keskey. However, Apple Vallely’s Brock Morgan, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, was too much in the finals, emerging with a 12-1 win.
At 138 pounds, Aaron Sweeney went 1-1 for the Royals. After a first-round bye, he earned a 15-0 technical fall over Waconia’s Owen Hemze in the semifinals. However, Apple Valley’s Seth Gross emerged as the eventual champion with a 10-2 decision in the finals.
At 145 pounds, Jobe finished 1-1 on the day to take second place. After a first-round bye, he defeated Foley’s Brandon Jackson to advance to the finals. He ultimately was defeated by Apple Valley’s Scott Mattison, 7-6, in the finals.
Earning a third-place finish for the Royals was Joe Reinert at 152 pounds. Reinert went 3-1 on the day, bouncing back after a loss in the second round to win his final two matches. He started with a 12-1 major decision over Dassel-Cokato’s Cole Schmidt, but lost 3-1 to Waconia’s Mason Hemze in the second round. In wrestlebacks. Reinert held on for a 3-2 decision against St. Peter’s Bailey Kurth, and clinched third-place with a 5-3 overtime decision against Apple Valley’s Davionte Young.
Jon Ernst also earned a third-place finish for the Royals at 220 pounds. He pinned his first-round opponent, St. Peter’s Anthony Putz, in 3:49, but was pinned by Waconia’s Riley Trnka in the second round. Ernst rebounded to win a 9-1 major decision over Delano’s Kevin Kneisl in the third-place match.
Also for the Royals, Nate Hillmann finished in fourth place at 145 pounds by going 2-2 on the day. Hillman lost his first-round match to the eventual champion, but won two in a row in wrestlebacks to advance to the third-place match. Bryce Kallenbach (170) and Nick Burns (195) also finished in fourth place for the Royals, each going 1-2 on the day.
Jon Vouk finished in fifth place, but actually went 2-2 for the Royals at 160 pounds. He earned a pin over Waconia’s Jed Waligowski in the first round, but lost to the eventual champion in the semifinals. He then lost in the wrestlebacks as well, but rebounded with a pin in the fifth place match.
The Royals will return to action this weekend for a large tournament on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, at the Rochester Regional Sports Complex. The Royals will be back in their home gym on Tuesday, Dec. 18, when they host Delano at 7 p.m.