East Ridge wrestling: Raptors start New Year winning two of threeThe East Ridge wrestling team rang in the New Year winning two of its three matches at a home quadrangular on Thursday, Jan. 5.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
The East Ridge wrestling team rang in the New Year winning two of its three matches at a home quadrangular on Thursday, Jan. 5.
The Raptors started the night with a 72-6 drubbing of St Agnes. - the second time East Ridge has defeated the Aggies this season.
Getting points for the Raptors were senior John Chatterton (138 pounds) with a fall, junior David Kroger (160) with a major, senior Jon Balagot (170) with a fall, sophomore Nate Tigges (182) with a fall, senior Kyle Siemers (195) with a decision, and sophomore Jake Pittman (220) with a fall. Freshmen Emilio Huerta (132) wrestled an explosive match finishing with a technical fall against his opponent.
“Emilio looked very slick against St Agnes. He is quick, has good technique, and is aggressive,” East Ridge head coach Hans Horning said. “I was impressed with him tonight.”
Also, receiving forfeits for the Raptors were eighth grader MJ Okada (106), sophomore Reid Lyden (113), sophomore Jake Trevis (120), freshmen Bodie Sheehan (126), sophomore Mitch Hobot (145), and senior Sean Kallevig (heavyweight).
In the second bout of the evening, East Ridge blanked a depleted Minneapolis Roosevelt lineup 81-0. Roosevelt only put four wrestlers on the mat with a dozen team members out with injuries or other issues. Winning by fall for the Raptors, in their first-ever shutout, were Okada (106), Hobot (145), and Balagot (170). Sophomore David Kroger (160) earned a 6-0 decision in the only match to go the distance.
The final match of the night was a barn-burner as Nicollet/GFW squeaked out a 39-34 win over the Raptors. Unable to pick up the one win they needed in the final eight bouts to secure the victory, East Ridge’s 7-match winning streak came to an end. Okada was the lone victor in the dual as all other points for the Raptors came via forfeits. Nicollet intentionally forfeited to Lyden (113) and Balagot (182) in order to get the match-ups they were looking for. The strategy worked as the Raiders pulled out the win.
Following the quad, the Raptors earned 12th place in a very tough 16-team Tom Keating Invitational in Foley on Saturday, Jan. 7.
The tournament featured a mix of top programs in the state and others on their way up. Foley (ranked third in Class AA), Monticello (eight in AA), Dassel-Cokato (lean and mean ranking in AA), and Holdingford (11th in Class A) were the ranked teams to appear along with many top-ranked individuals.
The Raptors finished with five place winners, garnering 12th place with 59 points, up three spots from last season’s finish at the tournament. Foley walked away with the trophy earning 303 team points followed by second place Chanhassen/Chaska at 138.5.
Placing for the Raptors were: Lyden, who took third place at 113 pounds, Kroger, who earned eighth place at 160 pounds, Balagot, who took seventh place at 170 pounds, senior Kyle Siemers, who was sixth place at 182 pounds and Kallevig, who earned second place at heavyweight.
Lyden finished third at the same tournament last season where he lost to Erik Olson from Sauk Rapids-Rice (ranked 5th at 113 in AAA) in the semifinals. Lyden couldn’t turn the tables thiw year as he again faced Olson in the semis, losing 9-2.
“Reid should be happy with that match. Olson is a strong kid and Reid pushed him to the limit,” Horning said. “Each time he wrestles him he gets closer and closer which should be encouraging.”
In his third-place match, Lyden beat Alex Bapp (ranked ninth at 113 in AA) from Dassel-Coka 8-5.
“That was a fantastic finish to a fantastic match,” said Horning. “That was pure guts at the end and Reid was not going to give it up. We need more of that from our entire team.”
The Raptors wrestler of the tournament, though, was Kallevig. It was his first competition back on varsity after being knocked down to junior varsity by sophomore teammate JC Hassenauer. Hassenauer posted an impressive 7-1 varsity record in December. However, Kallevig was able to defeat him in the wrestle-offs last week, taking back the varsity position he has held the past two seasons. After receiving three forfeits in Thursday night’s home quad he was bursting to get back on the mat and he took full advantage of Saturday’s competition, Horning said.
After receiving a bye in the first round, Kallevig pinned the No. 2-seeded Reid Johnson (10-4) from Chanhassen/Chaska. Kallevig then continued his quest by defeating the third seed, Seamus Hunter of North Branch, by a 4-3 decision and earning a spot in the finals.
“Sean came out very aggressive. He worked a great snapdown, he wore his opponents out and he really wanted these wins,” said Horning. “I really liked watching him wrestle today. He is going to be tough to beat if he keeps it up.”
In the finals, Kallevig faced undefeated and sixth ranked (Class AA) Brient Pokornowski of Dassel-Cokato. Kallevig continued his aggressive style and pushed led 2-1, before Pokornowski countered and won with a pin. Though the result was disappointing, Horning was very encouraged.
“Sean was toe-to-toe with one of the top heavyweights in the state,” he said. “One mistake cost him but he will learn from that. I am looking forward to the battles that will be in our room between our two good heavyweights. It will make them both much better.”