Wrestling: Goodhue, Z-M bow out in 1A semifinals
ROCHESTER - Both Goodhue and Zumbrota-Mazeppa saw their Section 1A title hopes end early on Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center as both teams lost in the semifinals. Goodhue kept up with top-seeded Chatfield before falling 38-34, while Z-M was derailed by seven wins in eight matches by Kenyon-Wanamingo on the way to a 36-27 loss.
But afterwards, the moods were completely different.
The Wildcats were celebratory after their first section semifinals appearance since 2005.
"We came out firing in our first four weights. I think some Chatfield people got nervous, and I'm OK with that," said Goodhue head coach Josh Grant. "The purple and white of Goodhue spent too much time away (from the section semifinals). We hope to get back here more often than every eight years."
Meanwhile the Cougars lamented over missing out on state for the first time since 2009.
"Kenyon won the close matches and that was the difference," said Z-M head coach Link Steffen. "They beat (Mitchell) Watkins, they beat Chase Steffen; those two wins were big for them."
In the 1A final, Chatfield punched its first ticket to state since 2000 with a 38-23 victory over K-W.
Trying to play tournament spoiler against Chatfield in the semifinals, the Wildcats got a big boost to open the dual when Bailee O'Reilly picked up a surprise 8-6 decision over 7th-ranked Jared Goldsmith, who defeated O'Reilly in an 8-2 decision back in December.
"I've been working hard all season, practicing hard, and it's good to get back at him at the end of the season," O'Reilly said.
In the next match, Goodhue's Joel Gadient secured an 11-2 major decision against Ty VanSickel to put the Wildcats up 7-0. Chatfield won the next two matches, albeit by close margins, forcing the Gophers' hand and keeping some of their top wrestlers down a weight to build a lead. After 138 pounds, Chatfield held a 20-7 lead.
On Thursday, the Wildcats earned a spot in the 1A semifinals after beating Lake City 36-30 in a dual that came down to the final match. Grant was pleased to see the momentum carry over on Saturday against the 7th-ranked Gophers.
"We came down here and we wanted to look tough in our first showing down here since 2005," Grant said.
At 152 pounds, Mitchell Breuer got Goodhue back in the win column with a pin at 5 minutes, 38 seconds. Following Breuer's win, the Wildcats cut the gap to 26-22, thanks to consecutive wins by Jacob Blattner and Charles Dahling at 160 and 170 pounds, respectively. Dahling won by pinfall at 1:47.
"It was a fun dual," O'Reilly said. "Everyone did well."
Chatfield gave itself a cushion with consecutive pinfalls at 182 and 195 pounds, assuring the Gophers a spot in the section finals. But Goodhue ended the dual on a high with pinfalls from Ryan Tipcke and Josh Dahling at 220 and 285, respectively.
Goodhue and Chatfield each had seven wins, with bonus points being the deciding factor for the eventual section champion Gophers.
"I told those guys that we can get five, six, seven wins. Eight wins, things are going really well," Grant said. "To go 7-7 split against a team with such strength is a huge boost for our program."
On the other end of the Mayo Civic Center, Z-M was in a rematch of last year's 1A finals against K-W, sitting in a 6-6 tie after Joey Majerus won via pinfall in 4:33 at 113 pounds. But the revenge-seeking Knights got on a roll after Ted Androli won by major decision at 120 pounds, netting five straight victories to go up 21-6.
At 138 pounds, the Cougars took a punch to the gut when Watkins, who was up 3-2, was called for a violation which tied the match with Trent Brossard with 24 seconds left in the third period. In overtime, Brossard got a takedown, earning a 5-3 decision.
Cody Heitman got Z-M back in the win column with a pin at 145 pounds, but by then, the damage had been done.
"The wind was kind of taken out of our sails at 138 when Mitchell lost," Link Steffen said. "That was a tough call and a tough match. We let one slip from us and you could feel it on the bench.
"That deflated us and we were never the same after that."
The Cougars managed just three more wins, by Andy Siems (182 pounds), Seth Tupper (195) and Shane Bode (285). Tupper and Bode's wins were both by pinfall.
Chatfield enters the Class 1A state tournament on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Joining the Gophers at state will be: Jackson County Central, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Sibley East, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Barnesville, Pierz and Frazee.