Wrestling: East Ridge's Cavallaro makes state run at 220
Marco Cavallaro joined the East Ridge wrestling team on a whim last season.
The decision paid off Saturday when the sophomore finished the Class 3A tournament on the podium.
Cavallaro described his decision to join the team during a practice with the East Ridge football team in his freshman year. Wrestling coach Matt Everson came to a football practice to deliver a presentation about wrestling. At the end, he asked if any of the football players wanted to join the team.
"Nobody raised their hand," Cavallaro said. "I felt bad, so I raised my hand. That's how it started."
The second-year wrestler finished sixth among the state's Class 3A 220-pound wrestlers in just his second year in the sport. After winning by forfeit in his first match, Cavallaro fell to Sartell-St. Stephen wrestler Cole Fibranz in the quarterfinals. But he stayed alive in the wrestlebacks with a pin against Johnny Terault of Mounds View and a decision over Will Flemister of Cambridge-Isanti.
Cavallaro said he was able to feed off the energy at the Xcel Energy Center during the state tournament.
"I just like the crowd watching," he said. "It felt really good when I was wrestling."
His state tournament run ended with a 7-1 loss to Tanyi Besong of Apple Valley in the 220-pound fifth place match.
East Ridge head coach Matt Everson has enjoyed watching the sophomore rise to the level of state placewinner over the past two seasons. He said work ethic has been a key to Cavallaro's improvement.
"He's only going to get better from here," Everson said. "He's got a lot to work on, but he's just improving rapidly. He's picking up on things rapidly. That's what we want, that's what we ask from our kids is keep working hard. That's what Marco does."