Huskies send five individuals to Class A finals

ST. PAUL -- The Jackson County Central wrestling team has a goal of winning the Class A team competition and winning five individual titles at the Minnesota State High School wrestling tournament.

ST. PAUL -- The Jackson County Central wrestling team has a goal of winning the Class A team competition and winning five individual titles at the Minnesota State High School wrestling tournament.

Half of that goal has nearly come to fruition, as the Huskies secured five berths in the individual finals Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Bronson Steuber (103 pounds), Cole Von Ohlen (130), Torey Stewart (145), Travis Rutt (171) and Caleb Lines (189) each won their championship semifinals Friday to advance to the championship match in their respective weight classes.

"Everybody looked good and we are almost to our goal individually," Von Ohlen said. "We thought it probable to send five to the finals, and we got it done."

Steuber was the first to earn a berth in the finals, as the lanky freshman defeated Keynon-Wanamingo's Mitchel Lexvold, 8-3, in the 103-pound semifinals. Lexvold was a grappler he defeated less than 24 hours before in the Class A team competition.


Steuber (40-5) will face Christian Skillings (40-3) of Minneota in the finals.

Von Ohlen, who won an individual title at 119 pounds last year, earned his spot in the finals with an easy 17-1 technical fall against Trinity School at River Ridge's Micah Olson. Von Ohlen was in complete control throughout the match, nearly pinning Olson several times. Von Ohlen (43-1) will go for his second straight individual championship when he battles Minneota's Sam Derynck (40-4) in the finals.

Stewart (41-3), who won a state title two years ago and was runner-up last season, had his hands full with Badger/Greenbush-Middle River's Tanner Pierce in the semifinals. Stewart's superior footwork aided him in claiming a 9-5 decision and a berth in the finals. He will tangle with Staples-Motley's Jordan Bendson (36-8) in the title bout.

Rutt, who won a state title at 160 pounds last year, has cruised through the tournament. He won his first two matches by fall and easily defeated his semifinal opponent, Aitkin's Matt Christensen, 12-4, to earn a title shot. Rutt (44-1) will have to get past Ortonville's Eric Croatt (41-0) to earn his second consecutive title.

"We're in a very good position to win five titles," Rutt said. "Steuber has already beaten his finals opponent, Cole beat his class' toughest kid in the quarterfinals and Torey is Torey. Caleb will have the hardest match. He's lost to the kids he's wrestling twice this year, so it's time for a little payback."

Lines made his way to the finals with sheer determination. The senior had a tough quarterfinal bout with ACGC's Nic Leither, and bounced back to defeat Redwood Valley's Brady Myers, 6-4, with a last-second takedown in the semifinals. Lines (43-3) will have to get Maple River's Aaron Norgren (39-0) off his game if he's to win a state title.

In his bid to become the sixth JCC wrestler to place, Taylor Menke lost a 10-0 decision to River Valley's Luke Amsden in the 125-pound consolation quarterfinals.

Class AA


No area wrestlers will be crowned champion in this class, as title hopes for Fulda/Murray County Central's Justin Reinsma (125) and Adrian's Zach Reker were dashed Friday morning.

Reinsma fell to defending state champion David Thorn of St. Michaels-Albertville, 16-8, in the semifinals. Reinsma squared off against New London-Spicer's Shawn Hatlestad in the consolation semifinals, where a late no-call cost him the match, 3-2.

Reinsma appeared to have a two-point takedown as time ran out, but the referee chose not to award Reinsma for his efforts -- giving the match to Hatlestad. Reinsma (40-6) will have to settle for a shot at fifth place today against Orono's Ryan Arne (34-5).

"The fact of the matter is, we've seen points awarded up here for the same move Justin made," F/MCC head coach Dan Blankenship said. "If these two referees can't figure out what's going on, they shouldn't be officiating at the state wrestling tournament."

Adrian's Zach Reker (215) came up against a bulldog in Mahtomedi's Matt Groff in the semifinals. Groff had Reker's number all match and pulled away for a 10-6 victory. Reker, however, rebounded to edge New Ulm's Pat Brinkman, 3-1, with a third-period takedown in the consolation semifinals to earn a shot at third place.

"I knew he wasn't going to do much, so I waited until the third period and made my move," said Reker, who will tangle with STMA's Kyle Schumm for third place today. "We were tied up near the end of the period, so I stayed as low as I could and got the takedown in the middle of the mat right at the end."

Also wrestling for third place is F/MCC's Kody Kramer (189), who has battled back through the wrestlebacks after falling in the championship quarterfinals. Kramer (35-6) shutout Dassel-Cokato's Tony Larson, 5-0, to advance to today's third-place match against Zimmerman's Jeff Nielsen (26-3).

"When Kody's focused and ready, he does a nice job," Blankenship said. "We'll go see if we can get him a third-place medal and Justin a fifth-place medal."


The rest of the area grapplers still alive on Friday morning didn't fare as well as Reker or the pair from F/MCC. Windom/Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin's Bill Hochstein (135) and A.J. Stevens (140) are still alive, and both wrestlers will battle for fifth-place medals.

Hochstein won his consolation quarterfinal bout against Sartell's Travis Lewellyn (7-5), but lost a 5-0 decision to Becker's Brady Schrupp in the semis. Hochstein (42-5) will tangle with Plainview/Elgin/Millville's Cody Dillinger (24-5) in the fifth-place match today.

Stevens (38-8) also won his consolation quarterfinal match, defeating Meadow Creek Christian's David Pinewski, 12-2, to advance to the semis against St. Paul Highland Park's Dan Merth. Merth was better on his feet and won an 8-3 decision, setting up a fifth-place match for Stevens against Perham's Dwight Jenne (30-9).

The remainder of the area's Class AA wrestlers still alive Friday morning bowed out in the consolation quarterfinals.

At 112 pounds, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Zach Campbell exited after falling 5-1 to Perham's Isaac Werner. W/ML/B-O's Josh Falk lost his bid to medal with a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Simley's Tommy Glenn.

Cobra teammates Sam Fischenich (130) and Jared Peterson (152) also lost their consolation quarterfinal matches. Fischenich was defeated by Mora's Andrew Youngblom, 9-5, while Peterson fell to STMA's Jordan Campa, in overtime, 3-1.

The lone entrant from Worthington, Jordan Schroeder, ended his tournament with a 7-3 consolation quarterfinal loss to St. Paul Johnson's Brett Murphy.

The individual championship, third and fifth-place matches for all classes will begin at noon today at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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