Five Royals place at huge Rochester wrestling tournament

The Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran wrestling team competed at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament at the Rochester Regional Sports Center on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, finishing in 17th place out of 36 teams.

St. Michael-Albertville won the meet with 256.5 points, ahead of Apple Valley, which finished with 247.5. Watertown-Mayer had 102.5 points.

The Royals had five individual place-winners at the event, led by Jackson Sweeney at 106 pounds and Austin Torres at 195 pounds. Both wrestlers finished in fifth place. Aaron Sweeney took seventh at 132 points, Jon Ernst took seventh at 220 pounds and Matt Elsenpeter took eighth at 126 pounds.

At 106 pounds, Jackson Sweeney beat Kenny O’Neil of Prior Lake via a 6-5 decision in the fifth-place match. Sweeney started the meet with three straight decisions — 5-0, 3-0 and 3-1 — before being pinned in the semifinals. Sweeney also lost his first match in wrestlebacks before going on to win fifth place. Sweeney, who went 4-2 at the tournament overall, is now 11-3 this year.

At 195 pounds, Torres beat Apple Valley’s Trom Peterson, 5-3, in the fifth place match. Torres won his first two matches by pin and a 9-1 major decision before losing in the quarterfinals. However, he went on to win his next two matches, but ultimately fell one step short of reaching the third-place match. Torres, who went 5-2 during the course of the tournament, is now 9-2 on the season.

At 132 pounds, Aaron Sweeney defeated Bismarck’s Lane Kaseman, 3-0, in the seventh place match. Sweeney won his fist two matches by a 7-0 decision and a 16-1 technical fall, but then lost in the semifinals to the eventual champion. Sweeney won his next match, but another loss sent him to the seventh-place match. Sweeney, who went 4-2 in the tournament, is now 10-4 on the year.

At 220 pounds, Ernst pinned St. Francis’ Conan Sandberg at 7:13 in the seventh-place match. Ernst actually lost his first match of the day, but proceeded through wrestlebacks all the way to seventh place. He earned pins in his first two wrestleback matches, then a major decision, and then a 6-4 decision before finally losing again and being bumped to the seventh place match. Ernst, who went 5-2 in the tournament, is now 9-3 on the year.

Elsenpeter also lost his first match of the tournament, but then won four consecutive wrestleback matches via 8-0, 8-2, 4-0 and 5-3 decisions to move to the seventh-place match. That’s when his second loss ultimately sent him to the seventh-place match. Elsenpeter, who went 4-3 at the tournament, is now 11-4 on the year.

The Royals were also in action Tuesday with a home dual against Delano. They will be back in action Thursday, Dec. 20, when they take on Sibley East on the road at 7 p.m. in a Minnesota River Conference dual.