Royals’ Franklin takes third at state

Two members of the Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran wrestling team competed at the Class AA state individual tournament last week at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, with Davion Franklin earning a third-place finish at heavyweight.

For both Franklin and Austin Torres, it was the second consecutive year that they qualified for the individual state meet. After Torres’ fifth-place finish at 195 pounds last year, this also marks the second consecutive year that the Royals have had a state placewinner.

Last year, wrestling for Waconia, Franklin lost in the first round of the state tournament, but this year, he breezed through that round with a pin of Detroit Lakes’ James Huwe. However, Franklin was defeated in the second round when he was pinned by Dawson-Boyd/Lac Qui Parle’s Brandon Schmitt, the state’s second-ranked heavyweight, forcing Franklin to wrestle his way back to claim third place.

Franklin got back on track by pinning St. Croix Lutheran’s Wyatt Quilling, and then he pinned Milaca/Faith Lutheran’s Brandon Merten as well.

Next up for Franklin was Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson’s Evan Bain, who had just lost his first match in the state semifinals. However, Franklin pinned Bain as well to advance to the third-place match.

In the third-place match, Franklin once again matched up against Schmitt, the same wrestler who had beaten him in the state quarterfinals. This time, however, Franklin turned the tables by pinning Schmitt to claim third.

“This time we changed his approach and caught him off guard, and pinned him,” Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran coach Joe Traen said. “Davion wrestled well and had great support from the crowd.”

After claiming fifth place at 195 pounds last year, things didn’t go as well for Torres this year at 182 pounds. Torres lost both his matches at the tournament.

In the first round, Torres was beaten by Zimmerman’s Mitch Robinson, 9-2. Robinson went on to finish in fifth place. In Torres’ first wrestleback match, Torres was pinned by Mora’s Jordan Tober.

“Austin wrestled well against both of his opponents, but just couldn’t figure out how to score more points than them,” Traen said. “In his first match he was caught off guard a little and wasn’t quite ready, and as a result got behind early and couldn’t catch up. In his second match it seemed as though he was ready, but ran into a very good wrestler and was beat fair and square. He wrestled well, but didn’t score early and then lost a little bit of confidence.”

Look for a wrestling season wrap-up story in the coming weeks.

Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]

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