Tyler Eischens dropped to his knees in the tunnels of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, filled with emotion after his state championship match on Saturday. This time, though, was different. The Anoka junior let it all out after a physical and emotional Class 3A wrestling tournament. Taking runner-up finishes in lower weight classes the last two years, Eischens finally won gold at 138 pounds with a 2-1 win against Centennial’s Jakob Bergeland.
Eischens came into the tournament ranked No. 1 and finishes his season undefeated.
“It’s insane,” he said moments after the victory. “I mean, undefeated season ending with a spot I’ve never been in. The last two years, coming home losing in the finals, it’s so much of a difference. It’s just insane.”
Eischens won by fall in his first-round match, then by technical fall in the quarterfinals. A forfeit in the semifinals advanced him to the championship match.
Against Bergeland, a takedown in the first period turned out to be all Eischens needed. He carried his 2-1 lead into the second period, then into the third period. Eischens kept Bergeland grounded in the third and held on for his first career state title.
“The takedown off the whistle early in the first period set me up and gave me confidence,” Eischens said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match. I had to keep my head in it and keep wrestling no matter what happened.”
The championship capped off a memorable season for Anoka, who finished second at the team tournament on Thursday. Six Tornadoes placed in the individual tournament that went all day Friday and Saturday.
Brandon Frankfurth took second at 285 pounds. Finishing third was Colby Njos at 120 pounds, Dylan Droegemueller at 126 pounds and Dalton Miller at 182 pounds.
Calvin Germinaro-Nahring won his fifth place match at 160 pounds.
Eischens, Dylan Droegemueller and Calvin Germinaro-Nahring earned Class AAA Minnesota State Wrestling All-Tournament team, selected by a panel of coaches attending the tournament.
“I felt like I was ready to go,” Eischens said. “It kind of threw me off that I didn’t wrestle a semifinal match in the morning. But I warmed up like I always do and wrestled like I should’ve and came out on top.”