Young wrestlers showing promise for future

Freshman Michael Raatz, countering a shot in the photo above, picked up some varsity experience during a recent dual against Rockford. Raatz took fourth place at the 9th grade regional tournament last week. Central wrestlers Zeke Dodge, Davis Colley and Caleb Wickenhauser each qualified for the state tournament. (Times staff photo by Paul Downer)

Freshman Michael Raatz, countering a shot in the photo above, picked up some varsity experience during a recent dual against Rockford. Raatz took fourth place at the 9th grade regional tournament last week. Central wrestlers Zeke Dodge, Davis Colley and Caleb Wickenhauser each qualified for the state tournament. (Times staff photo by Paul Downer)

Central wrestlers took a breather last week, with no competitions scheduled outside of the regional 9th grade tournament on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The results of that tournament show that the future of Central’s wrestling program is in good hands.

Three Raiders qualified for the 9th grade individual state tournament. Zeke Dodge, who has been a spark plug for the varsity team at 106 pounds, took second place in his division to qualify for state. Varsity regular Davis Colley (126) has been injured for a significant portion of the season, but didn’t show much rust as he claimed the individual championship at his weight. And Caleb Wickenhauser (160) also took second place to earn a state tournament berth.

Including the state entrants, 11 of Central’s 15 individuals earned a place in the regional tournament, which featured wrestlers in grades 7-9.

“It was a good weekend. We did some good things,” said Raiders head coach Darrin Fox, noting that 2013 marks the fourth year in a row that individuals from Central have qualified for state.

Of those placewinners, Peter Barth (88) took second in his division. He would have qualified for state, but that weight division is not yet a sanctioned class.

Michael Raatz (189) was Central’s next highest finisher, taking fourth place.
Anthony Hennen (94), Justin Carlson (138) and Anthony Rice (152) all took fifth place, and Brett Kleindl (100), Ben Barth (120) and Nick Magee (170) took sixth place in their respective classes.

As a team, Central finished in third place behind Prior Lake and New Prague, and Fox noted that the Raiders finished ahead of big name programs such as Apple Valley and Scott West.

“That 7-9 group is showing a lot of promise for us,” he said, adding that a lot of the individuals weren’t satisfied with their performance.

The 9th grade state tournament will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Champlin starting at 8:30 a.m.

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