Prep wrestling: Section team tournaments are about to begin
The Worthington Trojans and the Pipestone Area Arrows, Minnesota state high school wrestling qualifiers in 2017, are the underdogs in 2018.
Team Section 3A and Section 3AA tournaments get under way Thursday at various locations. Pipestone Area is the No. 6 seed in Section 3A. Worthington is the No. 2 seed in Section 3AA.
First-round 3A action has Adrian (seeded eighth) wrestling St. James Area (9) at 6 p.m. in Minneota, with top-seeded Minneota facing the winner at 7:15 in Minneota. Other duals feature Jackson County Central (5) against Wabasso/Red Rock Central (4) at 7 p.m. in Lamberton, Windom Area/Mountain Lake (7) versus Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (2) at 7 p.m. in Tracy, and Pipestone Area versus Canby (3) at 7 p.m. in Canby.
Semifinals and finals are Saturday in Windom at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
In Section 3AA North, MAHACA (4) wrestles New London-Spicer (5) in Marshall at 6 p.m., with the winner of that match facing top-seeded Marshall at 7:15 p.m. in Marshall. Redwood River Valley (3) takes on Dawson-Boyd/LQPV/Montevideo United (2) at 7:15 p.m. in Marshall in the other North semifinal.
In Section 3AA South, Luverne (4) faces Fulda/Murray County Central (5) at 6 p.m. in Fairmont, with the winner wrestling top-seeded Fairmont/Martin County West at 7:15 p.m. in Fairmont. Worthington (2) contends with New Ulm Area (3) at 7:15 p.m. in Fairmont in the other South semifinal.
Finals are Saturday in Marshall at 12:30 p.m. North and South winners square off at 2 p.m. in Marshall for state tournament berths.Fairmont/MCW is deep
With eight wrestlers ranked among the top 10 in their weight classes according to The Guillotine, Fairmont/Martin County West is obviously the team to beat in Section 3AA.
The Guillotine ranks F/MCW No. 6 in the state Class AA field.
Jaxson Rohman (No. 1 at 113), Connor Simmonds (9, 120), Jordan Wolter (10, 132), Payton Anderson (4, 138), Miles Fitzgerald (9, 145), Nate Simmonds (9, 152), Triston Lange (8, 170) and Collin Steuber (2, 182) pace the Red Bulls.
The Trojans are the team to beat Thursday in their first-round section match against New Ulm, having beaten the Eagles 40-23 already this season, on Dec. 19. Barring a major upset, Fairmont/Martin County Central awaits for the South finals on Saturday.
Fairmont/MCW defeated Worthington 62-6 in a Jan. 18 dual, but a few key Trojans were missing for that match.Pick your poison in 3A
Pipestone Area still has some very strong wrestlers to send into the fray. Two-time defending state individual champion Michael Suda is ranked No.1 in state Class A at 126 pounds, and another two-time defending state champion, Hunter Burnett, is ranked No. 2 at 132. Garrett Ploeger is ranked No. 4 at 170.
The Arrows will be hard-pressed to get past not one, but two state-ranked Section 3A teams this year.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove is rated No. 3 in Minnesota Class A and is seeded No. 2 in the section. The top-seeded section seed, Minneota, is ranked No. 8 in Class A. Two other teams in Section 3A, Canby and Wabasso/Red Rock Central, received votes in The Guillotine rankings.
T-M-B/W-WG has four state-ranked wrestlers. They are Ayden Horner (3, 106), Dereck Ellingson (7, 126), Anthony Axford (8, 145) and Trevor Eisfield (5, 170).
Minneota also has four state-ranked matmen: Teddy Pesch (6, 132), Cole Van Overbeke (5, 145), Shawn Buysse (7, 182) and Trent Esping (2, 285).