Anoka qualifies five, Coon Rapids four to state tourney

Seven area wrestlers win Section 7AAA titles in one of the toughest section in the state.

Andover

Andover senior Corey Parsons captured the 170-pound title with a 7-0 win against STMA’s Evan Foster. Parsons placed third at state last year and returns as the No. 2 ranked wrestler behind defending state champion Mark Hall at Apple Valley.

Andover senior John Reynolds pinned STMA’s Ryan Jones in 2:48 to place third at 182 pounds. Reynolds’ 34th win of the season was the final of his high school career.

Heavyweight Luke Harmon also finished fourth after Cambridge’s Spencer Simon pinned the Huskies junior in 3:11.

Anoka

Among the 11 section placewinners were two champions and three runners-up, giving one of the most storied programs in the state six individuals in the Class AAA state field.

“That’s a heck of a feat,” Anoka Co-coach Todd Springer said on the Coon Rapids Fieldhouse floor Feb. 22. “It says we wrestled better as individuals because we didn’t meet our ultimate team goal [of reaching state as a team.]”

Anoka was the No. 3 seed in the section team tournament but was upset by No. 6 St. Francis 36-26 in the quarterfinals. The Saints lost to No. 2 Cambridge-Isanti 61-9 in the semifinals.

“We were pretty motivated to turn that around,” Springer said. “As coaches we questioned ourselves because we felt we mentally and physically prepared the kids.

“The kids took it rough, they’re a real tight group. So after that loss they rebounded and worked their tails off in the room, like they did all season, to take as many kids to the big show as possible.”

Brandon Krone punched his return ticket to the state meet by winning the 152-pound title with a 31-1 record. He scored a 10-3 major against Cambridge’s David Kent in the final. Krone placed fifth at state last season and one of two medalists to return at that weight class.

Krone comes into state with a 31-1 record with the lone loss against Apple Valley’s Dayton Racer.

Anoka’s two lightweights also qualified for state, starting with 113-pound section champ Calvin Germinaro.

The eighth-grader won a 7-5 decision against Elk River’s Garrett Caldon

The two Tornado lightweights continued to dominate the competition to reach the state tournament.

Freshman Calvin Germinaro continued his impressive season by winning a 7-5 decision in the 113-pound title match against Elk River’s Garrett Caldon. The win was Germinaro’s 27th of of the season.

Eighth-grader Tyler Eischens reached state after a runner-up finish at 106 pounds. Eischens, ranked third in the state, lost a 4-2 decision to St. Michael’s Aaron Dick who was ranked fifth in the final poll.

Junior Preston Flaherty earned his place at state with a dramatic tournament at 145 pounds.

Flaherty pinned Coon Rapids’ Justin May with two seconds left their third-place bout. The win forced a true-second place match against St. Francis junior Alex Wilson. Flaherty won by an 8-2 score to secure his place at state.

Junior Matt Njos (32-6) returns to state after a runner-up finish at 160 pounds. Njos, ranked No. 2 in the state, lost in the final to multiple-state entrant Cody Skog (37-5) of Cambridge by a 9-2 decision.

Njos made it to state at 182-pounds last year.

Senior Sam Begin came up one win short of a state spot at 170 pounds. Begin (24-12) scored a 12-5 decision against Blaine’s Jimmy Kittleson in the third place bout before losing a true second place match to STMA’s Evan Foster, 4-2.

Junior Liam Strong (21-14) placed third at 132 pounds with a 9-5 win over Elk River’s Kyle Ziemer.

Senior Jake Olson (20-13) scored a fourth place finish at 195 pounds after losing by fall to Blaine’s Glenn Meyers in the third-place match.

Sophomore Jeremy Rodman (25-10) also finished fourth after being pinned in the third place match by Robert Schmitz of Elk River at 220 pounds.

Sophomore heavyweight Jesse Heifort (18-13) won his fifth place match against STMA’s Randy Anderson by a 2-1 score.

Blaine

A football injury could have spelled the end of one of the brightest wrestling careers in Bengals history. That was before senior captain Caleb Butler weighed the opportunity to do something special on the wrestling mat against further injury that would jeopardize a college football career at North Dakota State.

Instead of ending his season after reaching the 100-career win milestone, Butler surged through sections to enter state with a 29-0 record and No. 4 ranking in the final state poll.

Butler downed Cambridge’s Kyle Chromy by a 5-2 decision in the championship bout.

Sophomore Malik Stewart (28-2) will join Butler at state after finishing second at 120 pounds. Stewart, ranked sixth in the final poll, lost to STMA’s top-ranked Mitch McKee by fall (1:50) in the final. The loss forced Stewart into a true second match against Coon Rapids senior Jordan Peterson. Stewart refocused his effort and scored an emphatic 16-7 major.

Junior Joe Carlson and senior Glenn Meyers placed third at 126 and 195 pounds, respectively.

Carlson (24-11) scored a 5-2 decision over Josh Bryant of Coon Rapids in the third place match.

Meyers pinned Anoka’s Jake Olson at 3:53 to end his prep career on a high note and his 30th win of the season.

Senior Jimmy Kittleson placed fourth at 170 pounds after fellow senior, Sam Begin, of Anoka, scored a 12-5 decision in their third place match.

Coon Rapids

Coon Rapids had 11 section placewinners, four state qualifiers and three section champions in Tyler Berdahl (182), Jarod Julkowski (132) and Shad Olson (285).

Berdahl pinned Elk River’s Aaron Hannan in 1:43 for the title and his 38th win of the season.

Julkowski scored a 3-1 win against St. Francis’ Aaron Wilson in the final for his 30th win.

Olson scored a 1-0 win against St. Francis senior Adam Blue in the final to win his first varsity tournament.

The decisive point was on a second period escape after starting on the bottom position.

Olson pinned Blue in a decisive match of a non-conference dual in December for a 37-30 team win.

The recent history of Cardinals heavyweights (Tanner Lowe and Michael Burkhardt) gave Olson a unique perspective as an underclassman.

“They always beat on me and it made me tougher for this year,” Olson said. “Filling in Burkhardt’s shoes this year, I knew I had to be the guy.”

Olson focused on football and weightlifting instead of refining his wrestling techniques.

Now he’s one of 16 wrestlers competing for a state title after being ranked 10th in the final poll.

Kiyanu Baker, a junior, became the Cardinals fourth state qualifier by a dramatic true-second place match at 138 pounds.

“He’s our captain and really worked his tail off and really deserves it,” Cardinals coach Bob Adams said. “You can’t say a negative thing about the kid. He’s a gentleman. I’m just proud of him.”

Baker lost to No. 2 ranked James Pleski of Forest Lake by a tech fall. In a true-second place match, Baker won an 8-6 decision at the buzzer to down Reegan Lane of Cambridge. Baker led 2-0 midway through the second period before a reversal led to being on his back twice and a 6-2 deficit. Baker scored a reversal before the buzzer to end the second period down 6-4. He scored a takedown in the final seconds to tie the match and added a two-point nearfall to break the tie and earn a place in the state meet.

St. Francis

St. Francis has two state entrants after Aaron Wilson (132) and Adam Blue (285) each placed second in their respective weight classes.

Wilson lost a 3-1 decision in the finals to Jarod Julkowski.

Blue came up one point short in a 1-0 final against Coon Rapids’ Shad Olson. The loss, which dropped Blue to 17-11 overall this season, forced him into a true-second place match against Cambridge’s Spencer Simon. Blue won the match 2-1 to earn the second state qualifying spot.

Junior Alex Wilson went from section finalist at 145 pounds to eliminated from state contention in two matches. Wilson was pinned by STMA’s top-ranked Mark Voss in the finals then lost an 8-2 decision to Anoka’s Preston Flaherty in the true-second place match.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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