WOODBURY — East Ridge, Park and Woodbury each crowned two champions Saturday in the 2018 Class AAA, Section 3 individual wrestling tournament Saturday at East Ridge.
Heading to state as section champions are Woodbury's Cole West at 113 pounds and sophomore Brock Rinehart at 145, Park senior Garrett Whitehead at 160 pounds and sophomore Antonio Davis at 220 pounds and East Ridge eighth-grader Hunter Lyden at 120 pounds and freshman Roman Rogotzke at 132 pounds.
Also earning tips to this week's state meet were second-place finishers East Ridge's Tanner Holt at 106, Ryder Rogotzke at 113 and Marco Cavallaro at 220, Park's Peter Oyebanji at 145 and Woodbury's Donald Nde at 195.
East Ridge will have five wrestlers at state, while Park and Woodbury qualified three apiece.
There were three District 833 crosstown finals Saturday, starting with the best of the bunch, a showdown between Woodbury's West (16-2) and East Ridge's second-ranked seventh-grader Ryder Rogotzke (43-5). West, sixth at state last season at 113, scored somewhat of an upset in a thrilling 4-3 decision.
At 145 pounds, fourth-ranked Rinehart of Woodbury (38-5) looked impressive in fashioning a 15-8 decision over Park's Oyebanji (31-10).
Then at 220 pounds, ninth-ranked Davis scored a 23-7 win over East Ridge's Cavallaro (23-7).
Also winning titles were seventh-ranked Lyden of East Ridge, eighth-ranked Roman Rogotzke of East Ridge and sixth-ranked Whitehead of Park.
Lyden dispatched Paul Kendall of Hastings 14-9 in the 120-pound championship. Roman Rogotzke ran his record to 42-8 with a 3-2 decision against Eagan's Ty Gage at 132 pounds. In the 160-pounds finals, Whitehead dominated Isaac Grams of Bloomington Kennedy, winning 12-5 in a match that wasn't that close.
"I look up and down the lineup and Roman Rogotzke, running out and pivoting and wrestling smart in the finals," said East Ridge coach Matt Everson. "Hunter Lyden, kind of that style of wrestling that's very college related, always forward pressure, looking for points. Those two are champions and they've champions because they wrestled hard and they were aware of every situation they were wrestling in. I'd say those two are our key, pivotal performances today."
Holt, Oyebanji and Cavallaro qualified for state by winning second-place wrestlebacks. Holt (26-16) edged Henry Sibley’s 17-15 to advance. Oyebanji won a close 9-7 decision over Andrew Wick in the 145-pound second-place wrestleback. Cavallaro, sixth at state last season, bounced back from his loss to Davis to score a tough 12-11 decision over Drake Guck of Hastings in the second-place wrestleback.
"We brought 10 to the tournament and all 10 placed so as a team I was really happy about that," said Park coach Jim LaBrosse. "These younger guys, not making it to state, getting some great experience here today, get put in some tight situations and able to come back next year and get better — that's how you learn."
"But obviously Garrett having two section champions today — Garrett and Antonio both looked really well so they should get a nice seed at state," LaBrosse added. "Peter going for the first time is pretty exciting for the whole program."
Six of the 11 area wrestlers will be returning to the state wrestling tournament again. The tournament is set for Thursday, March 1 through Saturday, March 3 in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, beginning Thursday with the team competition.
"Obviously our three guys who are making it to the state tournament wrestled well," said Woodbury coach Justin Smith. "Probably out of the three Cole West had one of the better matches. It had been burning on him for a while because he hadn't wrestled him well the last time he wrestled, he was a little sick. Things are better now and so it was a little bit of a redemption tour."
"It was nice to see that Brock picked up a section championship," Smith added. "Last year he was a runner-up. He probably didn't wrestle the cleanest match and he'll be the first one to tell you that. But his mistakes are easily correctable. Donald has taken third the last two years and so it's nice to get finally over the hump and he's got ideas of it not being over yet as far as the number of wins that he's got."
Individual completion for Class AAA wrestlers starts at 9 a.m. Friday with the first rounds, championship quarterfinals and all wrestlebacks. Consolation, semifinals and championship matches will be held Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
Editor's note: An earlier version of the story incorrectly identified Hastings wrestler Drake Guck.