Four senior Saints wrestlers stepped onto the mats for the last time in their high school careers last week at the Individual State Wrestling Tournament in St. Paul.
All of the Saints, Cody Hanson at 113, Zack Gleiter at 152, Devin Wolle at 182 and Victor Torres at 285 were eliminated in the early rounds.
A contributing factor as to why the early eliminations might have happened was that the Saints drew tough brackets according to Head Coach Gene Hildebrandt. “In all the 30 years I’ve been coaching - we’ve never had worst draws for everybody.”
It was the bad luck of the draw for the Saints. If your coming in as a second place finisher out of a section, a wrestler will be pared against a first place winner in a bracket. More than just their first place matches, the Saints were up against tough wrestlers who ended up making it onto the podium at the Tournament. The Saints faced many of these wrestlers in the quarterfinal and semifinal sections of the brackets where they were placed.
Cody Hanson’s first match was against a wrestler who finished fourth in the tourney.
Cody lost 5-1 to Joey Majerus, but Cody just missed picking up a takedown at the end of the first period because time ran out.
Majerus also picked up a takedown later in the match where the two refs calling the match had to have a discussion as to whether Majerus got the takedown. The refs gave the Zumbrota-Mazeppa wrestler the two points. The match was closer than the score suggests.
Cody did not get another chance to wrestle because Majerus lost his second match. He got fourth through wrestle backs. The athlete who beat him was Spencer Jenninges of Wabasso, who ended up finishing second.
Zack Gleiter brought a surge of excitement to the Saints fans in attendance by winning his first round match. Zack was facing tenth ranked Nick Stafford who had a 5-0 lead on Zack when the Saint put Stafford on his back and pinned him at 1:42 of the first period.
Zack lost his second match to Sam McPhail of Pine Island who finished fifth at 152 in the Tourney. He then lost his first wrestle back match.
Devin Wolle at 182 got the toughest draw of all the Saints based on the fact he wrestled the athlete who won the State Championship.
Will Balow of Lake City beat Devin 6-1. That firve point loss ties for being the closest match Balow had for the Tourney. For the Championship, Balow beat the wrestler from the other side of the bracket, Chase Norton, 13-4.
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Devin lost his wrestle back 12-6. He got way behind early and was coming on at the end of the match, but he ran out of time to overcome the lead of the other wrestler.
At 285, Victor Torres faced a foe he’d faced twice earlier and had been pinned by him twice. Victor faced Alex Schroepfer from Wabasso who was one of the favorites to win the Championship.
Torres was pinned by Schroepfer. There was hope that Victor would do well in the wrestle back brackets, but Schroepfer was upset in his second match, so Victor was out. The Wabasso wrestler lost to a wrestler who finished second.
Some of the tough brackets extended back to the section considering Richy Soto was in a bracket that had the State Champion and the wrestler who finished fourth in the state. They were the wrestlers who blocked Soto from going to State.
This year there were six state champs out of Section 4A.
Coach Hildebrandt said that after the matches were over he got time to spend time with the kids he coached throughout their Saints careers. “We got a chance to talk about life,” Hildebrandt said.