STATE WRESTLING: Henning moves one step closer
ST. PAUL -- After spending the past two years at the state wrestling tournament nervously pacing the hallways while his fate was being decided by other wrestlers, Andy Henning has taken control of his own destiny this season.
A senior 160-pounder for Fulda/Murray County Central's wrestling team, Henning advanced to the semifinals of the Class AA individual tournament with an 8-6 victory Thursday night against Foley's Justin Bowland.
Henning, who will face Saint Michael-Albertville's Jordan Campa (37-7) today in the semifinals, is experiencing an unfamiliar feeling of security.
"Two years in a row, one and done," Henning said. "In my sophomore year, it was good to get up here and get the experience, and last year I had a tough draw."
Henning lost his first-round matches in each of his past two years at the state tournament. A wrestler who loses in the first round can participate in the consolation bracket only if their opponent wins his or her next match.
"It's horrific," Henning said. "You have to keep your weight down all through the night and all through the next day because you don't know if you get to wrestle again until six or seven o'clock. In my sophomore year, the kid was winning his whole match, and he lost right at the last second."
Not only did Henning eliminate any personal uncertainty in this year's tournament, but he also left little hope for his first-round opponent.
After a scoreless first period Thursday against Bowland, Henning allowed an escape and fell behind 1-0. But he quickly took Bowland down to his back, earning a three-point near-fall and a 5-1 lead. Bowland fought back, cutting the deficit to two points with nine seconds remaining in the third period, but he couldn't overcome Henning's sprawling defense.
With the victory, he moved one step closer toward achieving a feat he set his sights on three years ago after watching his older brother, Nick, win a state championship in his senior year.
Henning is hoping to turn winning into a family tradition.
"Ever since my brother won it in his senior year, it's been my goal ever since watching him win it; it's what I've been after," Henning said. "He started it; we're going for two titles in the family."
Henning isn't the only wrester on his team gunning for a championship.
Justin Reinsma, a senior 130-pounder for the Warriors, earned a 3-1 victory against Foley's Cory Foss to advance to the semifinals. He will face Simley's Tommy Glenn (39-5), who is ranked No. 1 at 130 pounds -- the only wrestler ranked higher than Reinsma.
Reinsma's younger sister, Elissa Reinsma, who on Wednesday became the first female participant at the state tournament, received another opportunity to become the first female wrestler to win a match at the state meet. But the sophomore 103-pounder, who lost a 9-2 decision on Wednesday, suffered a 10-1 loss to Cloquet/Esko's Jordan Land.
Trailing 7-1, Elissa Reinsma was put on her back with nearly a minute remaining in the third period. But she refused to be pinned, jostling, turning and bridging to the end.
Adrian freshman Nate Lynn, who defeated Elissa Reinsma in the Section 3AA finals, earned a 7-2 victory against Hutchinson's Nick Clobes, the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 103 pounds in Class AA, to advance to the semifinals in his first trip to the state meet. Lynn will face Dassel-Cokato's Max Anderson (36-1), who is ranked No. 1.
Windom/Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin's Spencer Johnson and Jackson County Central's Bronson Steuber also punched tickets to the semifinals.
Johnson, a junior 171-pounder, earned an 8-3 decision against Perham's Nate Schmitz, who is ranked No. 2 in Class AA, and will face Scott West's Connor Fogarty today. Steuber, a sophomore 119-pounder who is ranked No. 1 in Class A, cruised to a 15-9 victory over Border West's Will McCarthy and will face Yellow Medicine East's Austen Cole today in the semifinals.
Numerous wrestlers from the area are still alive in the consolation bracket and will wrestle again today. Others suffered a disheartening fate and were eliminated.
W/ML/B-O's Sam Fischenich (135 pounds) lost a 5-2 decision to Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus' Nic Harrison in the quarterfinals but bounced back to earn a 5-3 victory in overtime against Saint Thomas Academy's Ruben Hidalgo in the consolation bracket.
Adrian's Neal Mulder and Stephen Loosbrock, who each lost in the first round, both received second matches. Mulder, a senior 152 pounder, was eliminated after losing a 5-0 decision against Watertown-Mayer/Mayer-Lutheran's Max Poikonen. Loosbrock, a junior 171-pounder, was eliminated after losing a 3-2 decision against Waseca's Brandon Pederson.
Adrian's Shea Klooster also received a second match, but he advanced to wrestle today. The senior 189-pounder earned an 8-3 victory against Milaca/Faith Christian's Rip Baker in the consolation bracket.
Luverne senior Sam Dooyema (215 pounds) suffered a 5-3 loss to Waconia's Brian Bell in the quarterfinals. Dooyema then was eliminated from the tournament after suffering a 7-2 loss against Simley's Alex LaShomb in the consolation bracket.
Worthington heavyweight Jordan Schroeder received a second match after losing in the first round but was eliminated from the tournament by North Branch's John Morrison, who recorded a fall in 4:00. F/MCC's Travis Radke (215) also received a second match after losing in the first round but was eliminated by Totino-Grace's Mason Perry, who won a 1-0 decision.
W/ML/B-O's Drake Borsgard (112), F/MCC's Scott Beech (145), Adrian's Brock Bullerman (145), and Worthington's Tony Thier (152) were eliminated from the Class AA tournament without receiving second matches, and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Colton Evans (189) was eliminated from the consolation bracket by injury default.
Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove 103-pounder Ryan Schroepfer lost 12-2 in the Class A quarterfinals but won by injury default to stay alive in the consolation bracket.
Four JCC wrestlers also will wrestle today in the Class A consolation bracket.
Jessie Regalado (130) bounced back from a first-round loss and pinned Royalton/Upsala's Odin Guerard in 2:21. Taylor Menke (135) lost a 13-3 major decision against Paynesville Area's Jon Kerzman in the quarterfinals, but he recovered to earn a 6-3 victory against Mille Lacs' Zack Olson in the consolation bracket. Cooper Moore (140) suffered a 9-1 loss to YME's Casey Field in the quarterfinals before defeating Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther's Alex Cooling 9-0 in the consolation bracket.
Pipestone Area's Brandan Alfson (160) was eliminated from the tournament after suffering a 9-7 defeat against Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Colby Mehrkens.
JCC's Darick Vancura (112) and RRC/W-WG's Taylor Mattison (215) were eliminated from the Class A tournament without receiving a second match.