by ADAM GRUENEWALD
As expected, the Central wrestling team will get to host a first round Section 4A match tonight, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Seeded #4, Central (11-9) faces off against #5 Spectrum (9-7).
The Raiders previously beat Spectrum on Dec. 12, 49-18.
Head coach Darrin Fox expects to see a closer match though as both teams’ lineups have changed.
“I think they are going to have to move a few of their better kids around to match our better kids,” said Fox. “If that’s the case, our better kids have to wrestle well.”
Fox added other wrestlers have to step up as well.
“In this type of match, it’s going to be the kids who are not your studs that are going to have to wrestle really well,” he said. “They are going to have to get you wins.”
All four advancing teams will compete in matches on Saturday in NYA.
Semifinal matches begin at 2 p.m. with the final match at 4 p.m. for a trip to state.
Should Central advance, they would face the winner of #1 Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (21-1) and either #8 River Valley (2-15) or #9 Trinity School at River Ridge (3-11).
Other teams in the section include #3 St. James (9-5), #11 Minneapolis North (0-10), #6 Madelia (5-11), #7 LeSueur-Henderson (4-19), #10 St. Agnes (2-17) and #2 Sibley East (19-7).
“Anything can happen on that Saturday,” said Fox. “At the same time it would be a big step for our program to get to that Saturday. For us to get there and have all of our kids see the atmosphere and be able to wrestle in that atmosphere and learn how fun that can be.”
Fox added that just wrestling Saturday is not the ultimate goal.
“We’re also not going in with that mindset of just being happy to be there,” he said. “We want to wrestle in our home gym and we want to try to go 2-0.”
Heading into the section tournament, Central lost a pair of matches in a triangular with Farmington and Stillwater last Thursday, 64-6 and 50-12.
Farmington 64, Central 6
Central faced off against 3A Farmington last Thursday, losing 64-6.
Fox said he was happy with the way his team wrestled, despite the final score.
“We wrestled hard against them,” he said. “They are very good and are under the radar… they’ve got a lot of kids who have a very good chance to be in the state tournament.”
The Raiders lone win came from Ben Barth at 120, but others were in close matches.
Josh Hendel and Zeke Dodge wrestled well against a returning state place winner.
“We wanted to compete and I thought we did a good job competing,” said Fox.
Davis Collie also lost a 6-2 decision.
“I thought he wrestled one of his best matches of the year,” said Fox. “I think that was good signs for Davis that he is making strides and all this competition we put him up against is helping him.”
In the upper weights,Alex Meeker lost a 4-3 decision, Jordan Kohls lost 1-0 and Steeven Smith lost 9-7.
Stillwater 50, Central 12
Central fared better scorewise against Stillwater on Thursday, 50-12.
“I went into it thinking we could be competitive in it,” said Fox. “I thought we would be able to win a good amount of matches in the lower weights.”
Anthony Hennen picked up a fall at 108 and Barth and Collie at 132 both added wins.
“After that we got into matches where we lost,” said Fox.
Bennett Hatterschide lost 19-10, Meeker lost 12-7, Kohls lost 10-4 and Smith lost 4-1.
“When you wrestle teams like that, you want competition and that’s what we got,” said Fox. “I thought our kids answered the bell for the most part in most matches of competing hard and going out and get some offensive points going.”
Fox said his wrestlers did well to limit pins.
“If we lose those matches, we lose those matches,” said Fox, “but if we’re close, that’s a good thing… We’re getting that concept down there.”
In addition to Section 4A team play, the individual Section 4A tournament will take place on Feb. 21 and 22 at LeSueur-Henderson High School. The Class A state team matches are held at the Xcel Energy Center on Feb. 27.
For schedules, visit http://mshsl.org/mshsl/activitypage.asp?actnum=424.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.