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Wrestling: Raptors send four wrestlers to state

Carson Lesher wrestles Joshua Goldberg of Cretin-Derham Hall during the 170-pound first place match on Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)

The East Ridge wrestling team had its best showing in program history at the Class 3A, Section 3 individual tournament at Park High School on Saturday.

Before this year, East Ridge had only sent a maximum of one wrestler in any season to the state individual meet. But on Saturday the Raptors qualified four wrestlers, led by a first-place finish by eighth-grader Roman Rogotzke at 113 pounds.

"During the history of our high school, we've only had three kids ever go to state," head coach Matt Everson said. "And this year we have four. So we've doubled the number of kids that have gone to state."

Rogotzke took third in the section tournament last season, but this year he wrapped up a first-place finish with a pin of Hastings wrestler Paul Kendall. The eighth-grader said repetition in practice helped him get the right position for the pin in the 113-pound championship match.

"I just had a really lucky move," Rogotzke said. "Over practice, it just helps."

Three other wrestlers earned second-place finishes to qualify for state. Hunter Lyden finished second at 106 pounds, as did Carson Lesher at 170 and Marco Cavallaro at 220.

Besides the senior Lesher, the other three state qualifiers will be eligible to return next season. Lyden is in seventh grade, Rogotzke in eighth grade and Cavallaro is a sophomore.

With a roster of young wrestlers, Everson is excited about the talent the Raptors will have coming back next season.

"It kind of establishes the direction we are heading in having our kids keep working through adversity and fight through tough spots," Everson said. "We're excited. We broke a lot of records this year as a program for as young as our school is. And we've got a lot of young talent."

The state individual tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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