Royal wrestlers face a week of tough competition

The Watertown-Mayer wrestling team suffered a duals loss and finished in sixth place at the Hutchinson Tournament last week in what might have been the most challenging stretch for the Royals all year.

Logan Cooper wrestles in the Paynesville Tournament earlier this season.
Logan Cooper wrestles in the Paynesville Tournament earlier this season.

On Friday, Jan. 17, the Royals faced Scott West, ranked No. 6 in Class AA. On Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Hutchinson Tournament, the Royals once again faced some of the state’s top-ranked teams from all three classes.

Despite the tough matchup with Scott West on Friday, the Royals held their own, battling all night long in an eventual 40-25 loss. At one point, though, after an impressive pin from Jon Vouk at 160 pounds, the match was even tied at 19-19. However, Scott West rattled off two pins and a decision in the next three matches to seal the win.

“I thought we wrestled and competed fairly well,” Watertown-Mayer coach Joe Traen said. “I was pretty happy with our performance. It was a good effort on our part.”

After Scott West opened up an 8-0 win with major decisions in each of the first two matches, Jackson Sweeney got the Royals on the board and cut the deficit in half with a major decision at 120 pounds. Bryce Duske followed that with a major decision at 126 pounds, and the Royals were back within 8-7.

However, Scott West followed with a tech fall and a pin to surge ahead once again, 19-7. That’s when the Royals put together a run of their own, starting with a decision from Aaron Sweeney at 145 pounds. Andy Traen followed with another decision at 152 to bring the Royals back within 19-13, setting up Vouk for his huge win at 160 in a rematch of last year’s sectional match, which last time was won by Scott West’s Logan Storley.

However, Scott West took control from there, until Troy Scheuble scored an exciting win for the Royals at 220, when he was behind in the match but ended up earning a pin.

“That was one of the highlights right there,” Traen said.

In the Hutchinson Tournament, which was one by the state’s third-ranked Class AAA team, Prior Lake (235), the Royals finished tied for sixth with 110.5 points. All five teams that finished ahead of the Royal in the standings are ranked in the top 10 in their respective class, including the top three ranked teams in Class AA.

After first-place Prior Lake, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (No. 2, AA) finished in second place, Jackson County Central (No. 1, AA) finished in third place, Willmar (No. 8, AAA) finished in fourth place and Hutchinson (No. 3, AAA) finished in fifth place.

“It was a good eight-team tournament — real good,” Traen said. “But I think nearly everyone won a match.”

Three Watertown-Mayer wrestlers reached the finals, but the Royals did not produce any champions on the day. Kendall Nowlan made the finals at 106 pounds after scoring 5-4 and 7-3 wins in the first two rounds, but he did not wrestle in the finals because of a suspected concussion.

Jackson Sweeney also reached the finals at 120 pounds. He earned a pin in the first round and a 12-2 major decision in the second round, but lost a hard-fought 3-1 decision in the finals.

At 145 pounds, Aaron Sweeney also finished in second place for the Royals. He won by technical fall in the first round and by default in the second before losing in the finals.

Other Royals to place at the tournament included Jon Vouk (4th, 160), Logan Cooper (4th, 195) Bryce Duske (5th, 126), Corey Jobe (5th, 132), Andy Traen (5th, 152), Jesse Heck (6th, 170), and Zach Larson (6th, 285).

The Royals also hosted Dassel-Cokato and Big Lake on Tuesday, Jan. 21, after this edition went to press. The Royals will return to action at home on Friday, Jan. 24, when they host Sibley East at 7 p.m.

Logan Cooper wrestles in the Paynesville Tournament earlier this season. Jon Vouk wrestles during the Hutchinson Tournament last weekend.
Logan Cooper wrestles in the Paynesville Tournament earlier this season.