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Wrestling: Plakut, Donnelly, Bachmann qualify for state

Woodbury wrestlers Ben Donnelly, left, and Justin Plakut earned Section 4AAA championships and trips to the state tournament over the weekend.1 / 2
East Ridge senior Nick Bachmann became the Raptors' first-ever wrestler to reach the state tournament last week by taking runner up at the section meet.2 / 2

Three wrestlers from Woodbury schools -- two Royals and a Raptor -- moved on to the state tournament Saturday during the Section 4AAA individual championships.

Justin Plakut and Ben Donnelly, both Royals, earned section championship titles. The victories mark the second trip to state for both wrestlers, who both earned trips last year to the St. Paul tournament.

They will be joined by East Ridge's Nick Bachmann, who punched his ticket to state by taking runner-up honors at the section match.

Woodbury coach Justin Smith said he can already sense his two young wrestlers - Donnelly, an eighth-grader, and Plakut, a ninth-grader - are better prepared for state than they were a year ago.

Last year the wrestlers decided to cut their hair into Mohawks for state, a move that Smith said signaled they weren't emotionally prepared for the tournament. This year, "they're more on a business trip," he said.

"Now they expect to be there and expect to place," Smith said.

Plakut (38-2), who wrestles at 112 pounds, will face Buffalo High School sophomore Cedric Jimenez (25-13) in the first round. Donnelly (33-7) will square off in the first round against Bloomington Kennedy High School junior Hugo Felix (17-14) in the 130-pound bracket.

Bachmann, a 30-7 senior for East Ridge, will face Lakeville South senior Eric Hensel, who has a 37-0 record.

The tournament's first round gets under way on Friday.

Plakut earned his trip to state by first defeating South High School's Negawa Ansha before beating Stillwater's Dillan Nelson 15-0 on a technical fall in the championship round.

Donnelly defeated Stillwater's Sam Rippe in section semifinals before beating South High's Brett Peterson 9-0 in the final round.

"It was nice seeing Justin and Ben wrestling as well as they did when it mattered most," Smith said.

Bachmann lost in the championship round to White Bear Lake's Beau Bibeau, but earned his state berth by winning the true-second bout over Stillwater's Jack Baglio at 171 pounds.

Woodbury's Ryan Dickhausen also made the championship round in the 145-pound class -- and jumped out to a 2-0 lead --but ultimately lost to Tartan High School's Alex Johnson.

See additional photos in the March 2 issue of the Bulletin