Early season spotlight shines on Section 7AAA

With three teams ranked among the top 10 in the first Class AAA rankings of the season, anticipation for the 2014-15 season is high.

Section 7AAA should be one of the toughest if not the toughest sections in the state with No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville, No. 5 Anoka, No. 8 Coon Rapids and No. 10 St. Francis each making a very compelling case to be among the best collections of wrestlers in Minnesota.

Saints, Tornadoes find success at Turkey Burn

St. Francis captured the season-opening Mound Westonka Turkey Burn ahead of section foe Anoka by 7.5 points (223-215.5 points) for the team title.

Individually, Anoka had five weight class champions, one runner-up and four third-place finishers.

Andover’s Hunter Wathen, top, controls Monticello’s Matt Balboun in the 160-pound opener, winning by a 15-0 tech fall at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo Nov. 29. Wathen lost to Wayzata’s Evan Kluck in the title match 5-3.    Photo by Bill Jones
Andover’s Hunter Wathen, top, controls Monticello’s Matt Balboun in the 160-pound opener, winning by a 15-0 tech fall at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo Nov. 29. Wathen lost to Wayzata’s Evan Kluck in the title match 5-3. Photo by Bill Jones

Tyler Eischens (120), Cal Germinaro (132), Preston Flaherty (160), Matt Njos (170) and Jeremy Rodman (220) each won their respective brackets for the Tornadoes.

St. Francis’ Aaron Wilson (145) and Blaine Nordin (285) won their respective brackets while six Saints were runner-up.

Eischens downed St. Francis’ Daniel Worthington by a 10-0 major in the 120 championship match.

Germinaro scored a 16-3 major in the final against Hibbing’s Morgan Fuenffinger at 132 pounds.

Wilson scored a 7-3 decision over Mounds’ Ryan Reid for the 145-pound title.

Flaherty added a 13-2 major of St. Cloud Tech’s Alex Van Heel in the 160-pound final and Njos pinned Tech’s Cole Schreder in 3:05 for the 170 title.

Rodman scored a 9-0 major against St. Francis’ Bo Blanske in the 220 final and Saints teammate Blaine Nordin added a 6-5 decision over Mound’s Kyle Johnson for the heavyweight title.

Blaine’s Carter Newman, back, pins Minnetonka’s Kyle Finken in 26 seconds of their consolation semifinal match at 132 pounds at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo, Nov. 29. Newman finished 2-2, losing to Andover’s Gibson Board by a 17-6 major in the third place match.   Photo by Bill Jones
Blaine’s Carter Newman, back, pins Minnetonka’s Kyle Finken in 26 seconds of their consolation semifinal match at 132 pounds at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo, Nov. 29. Newman finished 2-2, losing to Andover’s Gibson Board by a 17-6 major in the third place match. Photo by Bill Jones

Cardinals go 3-1 at Hastings Duals

Coon Rapids opened the season with a 64-12 Black Friday romp winning 11-of-14 matches aginst Blaine in front of the Cardinal faithful inside Carlson Fieldhouse.

Zach Thomas highlighted the opening dual of the season becoming only the second Coon Rapids seventh grader to wrestle with the varsity team. He lost 5-0 at 106 pounds but joins 2008 state champion Cater Adams as the other seventh-grader to compete with the varsity squad.

Coon Rapids scored eight pins and two technical falls in the Northwest Suburban Conference match.

Nine hours later, Coon Rapids faced stiff competition in Hastings with No. 3 Prior Lake and No. 6 Hastings plus Stillwater.

Blaine’s Tim Janisch, top, tries to roll Osseo’s Dominic Smith during a 126-pound first round match at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo Nov. 29. Janisch scored a 4-2 decision over Smith and finished with a 2-2 record.    Photo by Bill Jones
Blaine’s Tim Janisch, top, tries to roll Osseo’s Dominic Smith during a 126-pound first round match at the Ken Droegemueller Invitational in Osseo Nov. 29. Janisch scored a 4-2 decision over Smith and finished with a 2-2 record. Photo by Bill Jones

Coon Rapids opened with a 54-16 win against Stillwater as some starters rested.

The Cardinals continued that momentum through a 35-27 win over the defending state finalist, Prior Lake. David Wiser scored a fall at 113 pounds after trailing 2-1 going into the third period. Jarod Julkowski picked up a hard-fought 6-5 decision after recovering from a head butt that left him cut and dripping blood on the mat.

Justin May sparked the Cardinals rally with a 5-3 win at 152 pounds to win six straight matches and defeat the Lakers. Baker, a senior captain added a second-period pin and Alex Calderilla added a 12-3 major at 182 pounds. Nick Halseth secured the win at 220 pounds with a 17-5 major, turning his opponent three times in the second period.

Coon Rapids couldn’t climb out of an early hole against the tourney host Hastings in a 39-26 loss. Mike Jones (113) scored the lone pin for the Cardinals while the Raiders recorded pins in three of the opening four weights and Julkowski scored a 3-1 decision.

Captain Mike Bothwell, ranked ninth in the state at 182 pounds, remained undefeated with a 6-4 decision over the Raiders No. 2 ranked wrestler.

Andover, Blaine compete at Droegemueller Invite

Blaine had nine place winners including 138-pound champion Joe Carlson with a 9-0 major against Monticello’s Andrew Mergen in the final after two pins to reach the championship match in the Nov. 29 tourney hosted by Osseo High School.

Andover had seven place winners including runner-ups Hunter Wathen (160) and Zack Steckman (182); third-place winners Luke Harman (285) and Gibson Board (132).

Minnetonka won the team title, five points ahead of runner-up Wayzata. Andover edged Blaine by 1.5 points to place seventh in the nine-team field.

Nearly each weight class has at least one wrestler from the four area- teams represented, in addition to Blaine, on the first rankings.

113 pounds: 3. Tyler Eischens (Anoka)

126 pounds: 5. Malik Stewart (Blaine); 9. Cal Germinaro (Anoka)

132 pounds: 8. Jarod Julkowski (Coon Rapids); 9. Joe Carlson (Blaine)

138 pounds: 8. Aaron Wilson (St. Francis)

152 pounds: 9. Preston Flaherty (Anoka)

160 pounds: 5. Matt Njos (Anoka); 9. Kiyanu Baker (Coon Rapids)

182 pounds: 9. Michael Bothwell (Coon Rapids)

195 pounds: 3. Tyler Berdahl (Coon Rapids)

220 pounds: 8. Jeremy Rodman (Anoka)

285 pounds: 10. Jesse Heifort (Anoka)

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