Two Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran wrestlers qualified for the Class AA state individual tournament during the Section 2AA individual meet last weekend at Waconia.
Both Austin Torres and Davion Franklin will be making their second consecutive trips to the state tournament, which begins on Friday. Torres qualified last year for the Royals and Franklin qualified for Waconia.
“Those two did great,” Watertown-Mayer coach Joe Traen said. “They were ready and focused on what they needed to do.”
Torres will wrestle at 182 pounds at the state tournament after wrestling at 195 pounds a year ago, when he finished in fifth place at that weight. Torres won the section title at 182 pounds this year after winning an 11-4 decision over Waconia’s Max Bullock in the finals. Torres advanced to the finals after a first-round bye, a pin in the second round, and a 5-2 decision in the semifinals.
In winning the section title at heavyweight, Franklin received a first round bye, and then needed barely more than 2 ½ minutes to win his next three matches and the title. He pinned his first opponent in 38 seconds and his second opponent in just 32 seconds. He pinned Delano’s Kevin Kneisl in 1:20 in the championship match.
A number of Royals also came close to state qualifications, ultimately settling for third place finishes where the top two place winners advance to state. Jackson Sweeney (106), Adam Traen (120), Matt Elsenpeter (126) and Aaron Sweeney (132) all finished in third place, and Jon Ernst (220), finished fourth. Corey Jobe (113) and Joe Reinert (152) finished in fifth place, and Nate Hillman (138) and Jon Vouk (145) both finished sixth.
At 106 pounds, Jackson Sweeney won his first match, but fell in the semifinals. He won his first wrestleback match to finish third. Sweeney, who qualified for state last year, finished 32-7 this year.
At 120 pounds, Traen won his first match, but lost in the quarterfinals. However, he proceeded to win four consecutive wrestleback matches, but fell 6-2 to Hutchinson Riley Drew with second-place on the line. Traen finished 27-13 on the season.
At 126 pounds, Elsenpeter won his first two matches, but lost, 12-5, in the semifinals. Elsenpeter won both his wrestleback matches to finish in third place. Elsenpeter finished the year with a 32-8 record.
At 132 pounds, Aaron Sweeney won his first match, but dropped a 2-0 decision the semifinals. He won his two wrestleback matches to finish in third place. He ends the year with a 32-8 record.
At 220 pounds, Ernst won his first match, but lost in the semis. He won his first wrestleback match, but then lost a second time to finish in fourth place. He finished the year with a 21-10 record.
At 152, Reinert went 3-2 at the tournament, winning the fifth-place match over Scott West’s Jack Storlie, 5-1. At 113, Jobe went 3-2 and won the fifth-place match by pinning Hutchinson’s Logan Wadsworth. Hillman and Vouk both went 2-3 at the section tournament en route to placing sixth.
Torres, with a 31-3 record, will open on Friday on Mat 5 against Zimmerman’s Mitch Robinson (33-3). At heavyweight, Franklin, with a 28-4 record, will open competition on Mat 2 against James Huwe (33-11) of Detroit Lakes.
“They both need to not be happy to just be there,” Traen said. “Through all the excitement and buildup of sections, just trying to get to state, sometimes it’s easy to forget there’s still another tournament to wrestle in. I think it will be fine, because they’ve both been there before.”
First round matches in Class AA start at 9 a.m. On Friday, March 1 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. With wrestling on eight mats, Torres is Match No. 85 and Franklin is Match No. 106.
Championship quarterfinals for Class AA begin at 5 p.m., and semifinals began at 11:15 a.m. On Saturday, March 1. Third and fifth place matches start at 5 p.m. Saturday, and championship matches begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Contact Matt Bunke at email@example.com