LC-WM Area nabs 9, Sibley East 7 bids to state in Section 4A

LE SUEUR, Minn. – Much to the surprise of no one, Sibley East’s Nathan Rose will be returning the state tournament.

The two-time undefeated state champion punched his ticket to next weekend’s big dance by placing first at 195 pounds in the Section 4A wrestling tournament that concluded Saturday at Le Sueur-Henderson High School.

Top-ranked Rose pinned No. 6 Jake Denn of Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther with 10 seconds remaining in the match after garnering a 14-4 lead.

“He was pretty strong, but I know what to do in situations,” Rose said. “I’m pretty comfortable.”

Denn, who lost to Rose in last year’s Section 4A finals, was only one of two returning state qualifiers who did not win a section title. Sibley East’s Mitch Wentzlaff (152 pounds) was the other.

“We made a decision early on – he was talking about going up to 220 and try to win the section,” said M/T/ML coach Darren Gifferson. “But at his caliber, we thought [if] he’d stay at 195 he’d probably place better at state. … We’re staying at 195, he wrestles better at 195 and we’ll see what happens at the state tournament.”

Rose took a modest 4-1 lead after the first period, where he hurried a takedown shortly after the match began and got another from an ankle pick. Denn kept himself grounded as Rose worked his stuff into a 9-2 advantage after two periods.

Denn notched a reversal from the down position in the third period, but an escape and takedown later put Rose in position for the pin at the 5:50 mark of the match.

“He went out pretty nervous and apprehensive,” Gifferson said of Denn. “But once the match started going, he got in his groove … he just ended up getting caught in a sloppy move and that ended up pinning him.”

Rose’s win capped off Sibley East’s 5-2 record in title matches in the tournament. All seven wrestlers qualified for the state, which is next Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Rose is one of three returning state champions from Section 4A that will be defending their crown on the big stage. The other two are Austin Anderly (113 pounds) of Le Sueur-Henderson and Louis Sanders (126) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area.

Sibley East freshman Tanner Pasvogel will be making his first trip to state after winning the 106-pound title. Pasvogel was the clear favorite to win the 106-pound title, but did not do so without a little surprise.

“I thought I was for sure going to have [Wallace] Michels from Lake Crystal,” Pasvogel said. “I’ve wrestled him twice this year and I think I beat him by four almost every time.”

The second-seeded Michels did not meet Pasvogel in the title match after getting upset in an 8-2 decision by Mario Garcia of St. James Area.

Pasvogel went on to beat Garcia in a 12-2 major decision. Garcia is St. James Area’s only state qualifier.

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area nabbed the most bids to state with nine, which ties a school record.

One of those bids went to Dalton Elliott, the Nicollet native whose athletic career was in doubt after breaking his neck during the 2012-13 wrestling season.

“That was my whole goal coming back from it,” Elliott said. “Last year, I felt like I got robbed of making a trip up to state, so all that hard work – rehabbing and getting back at it – paid off. The whole goal for me was getting back and being a champ.”

Elliott beat Sibley East’s Jake Wentzlaff in a 12-6 decision at 160 pounds to win the section title at that weight.

SWEET TASTE OF PAYBACK

One of the marquee title matches on the day was at 132 pounds, where Jason Meyer of Sibley East was finally able to shake LC-WM Area’s Levi Marsh.

Marsh had beaten Meyer twice in the season leading up to this match.

After notching an escape for a 1-0 lead in the second period, Meyer appeared to have the upper hand as he rode out Marsh for more than 1 minute in the third. Marsh escaped with 50 seconds remaining, however, to eventually send the match into sudden victory.

The sudden victory period yielded no progress after Marsh thwarted two shots from Meyer.

However, Meyer’s riding again helped him gain the upper hand as he rode out Marsh in the first tiebreaker period. Meyer then secured a reversal 2 seconds into the latter half of the tiebreaker period, later fighting off a reversal attempt by Marsh to win 3-1.

“They’re the two boys that wrestle each other so much that neither one of them makes mistakes,” said Sibley East coach Chad Johnson. “It was one move that decided the match. To be honest, the other two times they wrestled, it was one move that decided the match.

“Levi got the important move the first two times. This time, Jason got the important move. They’ve never been wide margins, it’s always been one point or two points every single time – they’re that equal.”

RIVER VALLEY REDEMPTION

Sam Baier and Tim Krueger both missed out on state berths at last year’s Section 4A tournament by each placing third.

Baier and Krueger were not denied this time as they both punched their tickets to state one season after Lance Briard won the heavyweight title as River Valley’s only wrestler at the tournament.

As the No. 1 seed at 182 pounds, Krueger pinned his way to the title match against LC-WM Area’s Ari Harnitz.

“That was the third time that they’ve wrestled,” said River Valley coach Todd Bertram. “It was a little bit closer this time. [Krueger was] a little nervous at first, a little more pressure, but once he got settled down, he wrestled a normal ‘Tim Krueger’-type of match.”

After a scoreless first period, Krueger connected on a single-leg midway through the second to take a 2-0 lead. From there, Krueger’s attempts at cradling Harnitz went for naught as the second period expired.

After an escape to go up 3-0, Krueger got in on a leg but Harnitz held him off into a stalemate that heightened the tensity. Harnitz nearly turned the tides with an attack on the edge of the mat, but was called out of bounds before he could connect.

Krueger ultimately connected on a double-leg with 10 seconds to go to take the 5-0 victory. Harnitz later beat Spectrum’s Shane Herrlin 11-6 in the true-second match to qualify for state.

Baier was not as fortunate, however, as he lost to No. 2 Austin Brockhoff of Sibley East in a 5-0 decision. But a previous victory against third-place finisher Devan Hagge of LC-WM Area negated the need for a true-second match, sending Baier to state.

“He had wrestled [Brockhoff] about a month ago and had gotten beat by eight,” Bertram said of Baier. “So he’s closing the gap on him and that’s nice. You always want to get better as the season goes on.”

FROM TITLE MATCH TO 3RD PLACE

Of the 28 wrestlers in the section’s title matches, only one did not qualify for state.

Trinity School’s Bryant Ridgway earned bonus-point victories en route to the 145-pound title match, where he met No. 2-ranked Hunter Retzlaff of Sibley East. Retzlaff won in a 9-0 major decision to bump Ridgway to a true-second match.

It was there where he met Damon Schmalzreidt of LC-WM Area, falling in a 6-4 decision in sudden victory to officially place third.

“That was the one we didn’t expect,” Elliott said. “[Schmalzreidt] came in as the No. 4 seed and he just had a great day of wrestling. He had a tough third-place match but he pulled it out and just kept going all the way to the end of his true-second match. Now he’s going up to St. Paul next week.”

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES

106 – No. 4 Tanner Pasvogel (SE) mdec. Mario Garcia (SJA), 12-2

113 – No. 1 Austin Anderly (LSH) pinned Esteban Teigen (Spect), 1:40

120 – Ryan Killeen (Spect) mdec. No. 7 Brandon Laborde (LC-WMA), 9-1

126 – No. 1 Louis Sanders (LC-WMA) pinned Luke Nolden (Spect), 5:43

132 – No. 3 Jason Meyer (SE) dec. No. 7 Levi Marsh (LC-WMA), 3-1 (TB1)

138 – No. 2 Austin Brockhoff (SE) dec. Sam Baier (RV), 5-0

145 – No. 2 Hunter Retzlaff (SE) mdec. Bryant Ridgway (TS), 9-0

152 – No. 9 Dietrich Balsbaugh (TS) dec. Mitch Wentzlaff (SE), 11-5

160 – Dalton Elliott (LC-WMA) dec. Jake Wentzlaff (SE), 12-6

170 – Sam Swanson (TS) pinned Sid Scott (LC-WMA), 3:03

182 – No. 6 Tim Krueger (RV) dec. Ari Harnitz (LC-WMA), 5-0

195 – No. 1 Nathan Rose (SE) pinned No. 6 Jake Denn (MTML), 5:50

220 – Shane Nelson (LC-WMA) dec. Clayton Colling (LSH), 6-5

Hwt – No. 6 Nick Meixell (LC-WMA) pinned Steeven Smith (NYA), 1:06

STATE QUALIFIERS BY SCHOOL

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area: No. 7 Brandon Laborde (120), No. 1 Louis Sanders (126), No. 7 Levi Marsh (132), Damon Schmalzreidt (145), Dalton Elliott (160), Sid Scott (170), Ari Harnitz (182), Shane Nelson (220), No. 6 Nick Meixell (Hwt).

Le Sueur-Henderson: No. 1 Austin Anderly (113), Clayton Colling (220).

Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther: No. 6 Jake Denn (195).

Minneapolis North: None.

Norwood-Young America: Steeven Smith (Hwt).

River Valley: Sam Baier (138), No. 6 Tim Krueger (182).

Sibley East: No. 4 Tanner Pasvogel (106), No. 3 Jason Meyer (132), No. 2 Austin Brockhoff (138), No. 2 Hunter Retzlaff (145), Mitch Wentzlaff (152), Jake Wentzlaff (160), No. 1 Nathan Rose (195).

Spectrum: Esteban Teigen (113), Ryan Killeen (120), Luke Nolden (126).

St. Agnes: None.

St. James Area: Mario Garcia (106).

Trinity School: No. 9 Dietrich Balsbaugh (152), Sam Swanson (170).

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