Wrestling: Matson, Ryan clinch titles for K-W
ST. PAUL – A consolation team champion. Six state entrants. A third-place finish and two state champions. A 7-0 day on Saturday.
It was a good three-day stretch for Kenyon-Wanamingo wrestling.
“It was awesome to have two (champions), and Seth (Brossard) brought home third,” said Knights head coach Matt Ryan. “Our team went 2-1 and we had a great today. I feel pretty good about it.”
It all began with sophomore Jeron Matson, who was vying to become a state champion once again. In the 113-pound bracket, he pulled out a 5-2 decision against third-ranked and fourth-seeded Spencer Miller of Staples-Motley.
That put Matson in the championship versus second-ranked and second-seeded Dayne Morton of Sibley East. And in the first period, both Matson and Morton felt each other out.
Starting down on the second period, Matson was confident in his ability to get on the board.
“I was fine with it being scoreless after the first period. I knew if I went down, I would get out and go from there,” Matson said.
Matson's acumen on the mat is obvious as he finished the year at 46-1. Physically, he's one of the toughest match-ups in the state. And mentally, the K-W lightweight won't beat himself.
“He respected his opponent here and wrestled smart. He's tough to score on,” Matt said. “You still have to score a point to beat him. You have to either take him down or got to get away, and both are very hard to do. He just wrestled within himself and did what he needed to do to secure another title.”
Near the edge of the mat in the third, Matson scored a take-down to secure a 3-0 decision, becoming the fourth Knight to win two titles.
“I knew I could get the take-down,” Matson said. “I just had to get his mind off thinking he was all right by thinking I didn't have any opportunities right on the edge.
“I just had to go get it and hope for the best. Then I kept trying to pull him in and waste as much as I can.”
Matson joins Mitchel Lexvold, Oakley McLain and Drew Lexvold at K-W's two-time winners. And he has two more chances.
“He's got a chance to do some really special things. He already has,” Matt said. “You got to continue to have that desire and fire because everyone else is going to be working hard, too. Jeron has prepared himself the right way and I would assume he'll continue to do that the next two years.”
Another K-W sophomore, Tyler Ryan, pulled off an improbable win in the 152-pound semifinals to seal his finals spot. Wrestling Goodhue's Kelby O'Reilly in the semifinals, Tyler, ranked third and seeded first, trailed until late in the third period where he scored a three-point near-fall for a 7-6 decision over O'Reilly, who was ranked first and seeded fifth.
“In the individual (tournament), you got nothing to lose,” Tyler said. “You're not worried about team points so you can go out and let it fly and try something that could make you win the match, and that's what happened.”
Against sixth-seeded and sixth-ranked Keaton Long of West Central Area, Tyler trailed 3-1 in the second period before scoring a take-down to tie the match. Another take-down and a near-fall later, Tyler led 8-3 with two minutes to go.
“He just loosened up and opened things up,” Matt said. “The faster-paced match he can wrestle with somebody, the better I like his chances just because he's got a lot of options and can score a lot of ways and does pretty well in some scramble situations.”
The five-point cushion was more than enough for Tyler (39-3) to secure his first state title with an eventual 10-6 decision.
“(Long) gave me an opportunity to put him on his back and I always like to do that when you get that opportunity to score some points,” Tyler said. “It ended up working out.”
The Matson/Tyler champion combo is the first time K-W has had two champions at a state meet since Mitchel Lexvold and Oakley McLain did it in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012.