East Ridge wrestling: Raptors season ends with loss to No. 1 Apple Valley
The East Ridge wrestling team earned its first-ever postseason win with a 72-9 thumping of Minneapolis South in the "play-in" round of the Section 3AAA tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at East Ridge High School.
The home-gym victory was the first section win for the Raptors in three seasons. Their reward? A date with No.1-ranked, and seven-time defending state champion Apple Valley on Friday, Feb. 17, at Apple Valley.
Apple Valley was the top seed in Section 3AAA with East Ridge being the eight seed in the nine-team section. Minneapolis Southwest was the nine seed.
In the Section 3AAA quarterfinals, Apple Valley didn't disappoint, beating the Raptors 84-0.
"I told our kids there are two ways to end the season: with a state championship or losing to the eventual state champs," East Ridge head coach Hans Horning said. "That is the way it is going to be so let's go out there Friday and see what we've got."
In the loss to the Eagles, East Ridge forfeited seven of 14 matches. Eagle wrestlers scored falls in the remaining seven matches.
"We have some young kids and some injuries so we forfeited where we thought it was best" Horning said. "We also held out (Reid) Lyden for next's week individual tournament." Lyden, a standout sophomore, is ranked 10th in the state at 106 pounds. He will have to face Maolu Woiwor of Apple Valley who is ranked second and Billie Underhill of Burnsville who is ranked third. The top two individuals qualify for state out of this week's individual section tournament.
"Reid knows what he needs to do, he knows Woiwor, so putting him out against a different Valley wrestler would only have allowed the Valley coaches to get a close look at Reid. We will wait for our opportunity next week," Horning said.
After beating East Ridge, Apple Valley cruised to the section title with a 68-9 win in the semifinals against Burnsville and a 65-2 win over Rosemount in the finals. Apple Valley returns to state as a team for the 13th year in a row.
In Wednesdays win, East Ridge won by fall or forfeit at 12 of 14 weights with the Lakers winning two matches, one by pin the other by decision. Earning pins for the Raptors were sophomore Jake Trevis (120), sophomore Ryan Thompson (126), freshmen Emilio Huerta (138), senior Jon Balagot (160), sophomore Nate Tigges (170), senior Kyle Siemers (195), and sophomore Jake Pittman (220). Picking up forfeits were 8th grader MJ Okada (106), Lyden (113), junior Kiry Koy (132), senior Isaiah Harder (182), and senior Sean Kallevig (285).
The individual section tournament takes place this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25 at Eastview High School with the top two placewinners at each weight advancing to the state tournament the following weekend.