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ROCHESTER – The Mayo Civic Center locker room has been a dreaded place for Goodhue. In 2014 and 2015, the Wildcats were the ones with their dreams shattered in the Section 1A finals, trying to hold it together in the Civic Center locker room after consecutive title game losses. “Two years of heartbreak and we're always the ones that are in the locker room moping around after the game and hearing the other team cheering,” said Goodhue junior post Jacob McNamara. As Jacob McNamara finished that sentence, the smile on his face grew wider.
NORTHFIELD – Red Wing and Northfield had the same idea on Wednesday night: attack the hoop. The difference was, the Raiders managed to draw fouls and the Wingers weren't. And because of that, Red Wing's season came to a close in the Section 1AAA quarterfinals after a 50-39 loss in Northfield.
For a second straight year, Hunter Connelly has a little adversity to face at state.
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.