Joe Brown is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Prior to becoming regional editor, he was the sports editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle from 2012-2018. He also worked as the sports editor for the Marshall Independent (2010-2012) and as a sports/news clerk for the St. Cloud Times (2008-2009). He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.
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ROCHESTER -- With a 12 seed and a 13 seed squaring off in the Section 1AA quarterfinals Monday, someone’s days of bracket busting was coming to an end. Thirteenth-seeded Cannon Falls stayed within three points of No. 12 Rochester Lourdes at halftime, but the Bombers’ shooters went ice cold in the second half with just two field goals in a 48-33 loss at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
ST. PAUL -- Pine Island’s Noah Bauer was a defending state champion and the top seed in the Class 1A 120-pound bracket. Pipestone’s Michael Suda came in with an undefeated record. Something had to give in the 120 finals. Ultimately, Bauer was in too deep a hole, down 11-4 after two periods, to win his second title, falling in a 15-10 decision to Suda.
ST. PAUL -- His knees were aching. His nose struggled to stop bleeding during his final match. And his cauliflower ear needed to be drained. Cannon Falls’ Ryan Epps did not concern himself with the pain. His wounds would heal. All he was concerned with was a state title.
ST. PAUL -- Goodhue had gone 18 years without a state champion. After Saturday, the Wildcats are hopeful junior Bailee O’Reilly will be a trendsetter for the rest of the program. Thanks to a 3-1 decision over Aitkin’s Jerod Novak in the Class 1A 152-pound finals, O’Reilly became the first Goodhue wrestler to win a state title since Joel Schrimpf won the Class 1A 171 title in 1998.
ST. PAUL -- Jeron Matson had to catch his breath before talking to reporters after winning a state title. Facing Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis’ Dillon McGee, Matson, a freshman at Kenyon-Wanamingo, went three periods before winning the Class 1A 106-pound championship with a 17-3 major decision. After three first-period pins got him into the finals, the six-minute match against McGee was certainly a change of pace.
ST. PAUL – Wrestling in the final match of the Class 1A state wrestling championship match, Austin Jackson admitted he wanted to come out victorious. The 285-pounder for Kenyon-Wanamingo, Jackson was up against Frazee's 10th-ranked heavyweight, Tanner Tappe. Jackson had already proven he could beat Tappe with a 3-minute, 51-second pinfall back on Jan. 8. “I wanted to win that one,” Jackson said about his final state match against Tappe. “But, I decided I'd rather win it for the team than myself.”
ST. PAUL – Watching his team giving out hugs to family and teammates, with some tears and a lot of smiles, Kenyon-Wanamingo head wrestling coach Matt Ryan took a quick glance at the front row of the Xcel Energy Center. In the Knights' last trip to state in 2009, the kids who were in the front row that day were the same ones that helped the school to its first Class 1A state team championship on Thursday.
The two regular-season matchups between Red Wing and Albert Lea were radically different this winter. The first time the teams met back on Dec. 8, the Tigers stuck with the Wingers before ultimately falling 66-63. Then on Jan. 29, Red Wing wasted no time in disposing of Albert Lea with a 60-16 victory. Wednesday's Section 1AAA quarterfinal game felt more like the average of those two contests, but the results was the same as the top-seeded Wingers took out the Tigers with a 75-45 win at Sonju Gymnasium.
KENYON – After six years as a section runner-up, Kenyon-Wanamingo wrestlers eagerly anticipate taking the mat together on Thursday. The Knights have racked up plenty of accolades over the winter: The No. 2 ranking in Class 1A, a national ranking, the Section 2A championship and 11 individuals bound for the state tournament. But even with all that talent and attention, K-W is still starving for state success. “Oh yeah,” said senior 113-pounder Ethan Cota. “I can speak for that, definitely.”
ROCHESTER – His haircut says business in the front, party in the back. But make no mistake: Kyler Banks is all business on the basketball court. Rocking the mullet he has sported the last two basketball seasons, the Cannon Falls senior forward stepped out of his comfort zone on Monday in helping the fifth-seeded Bombers reach the Section 1AA semifinals with a 62-47 victory over fourth-seeded Rochester Lourdes.