Owatonna, Medford, Westfield, NRHEG Wrestlers at State
A Medford senior won his first state wrestling title in his fifth appearance at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. His teammate, a freshman, captured his second. The still brand new Westfield program has its first champ. An Owatonna wrestler came up seconds short of winning a title as well.
Cael Robb, fr (fourth place) won 10-1 over Alex Torres of Waconia at 106 pounds in Robb's individual state meet debut then lost a 1-0 match to Koy Buesgens of New Prague. The only point was an escape early in the third period. Robb won 7-2 in wrestle backs. Robb won 2-1 in the ultimate tie breaker over Tyson Charmoli of St. Francis early Saturday.
Robb advanced to third place match due to an injury default. In a rematch from the quarterfinals, Buesgens again defeated Robb, winning 5-0 leaving Robb in fourth place.
YJ Evillard, so, dominated in his individual debut at state with a 15-0 tech fall win over Isaiah Jillson from Brainerd. Evillard lost to No. 3 ranked Matt Hogue in the quarterfinals. Evillard lost 18-8 to Colton Bornholdt in the consolation round and did not place.
Top-rated Landen Johnson, so (second place) pinned Sebastian Zamorano of Woodbury at 1:17 in the first round and won a 5-2 decision over Jimmy Brown from Cambridge-Isanti in the quarterfinals. Johnson sailed by Chase Bloomquist of Prior Lake 13-4 in the semifinals.
In the finals, Johnson gave up a first period take down to Hunter Lyden of Stillwater. Johnson got an escape in the second and took the lead early in the third on a take down. Lyden broke free to tie the match at 3-3 and got the title clinching take down with about 20 seconds remaining.
Isaiah Noeldner, sr, earned a second-period pin over Cameron Olsen of Hastings in the first round and lost 14-4 to a much larger Aaron Voigt from St. Cloud Tech in the quarterfinals. Noeldner closed the day with a 6-4 overtime win over Marvin Lamin from Irondale to advance to Saturday. Noeldner fell to Seth Hopkins 5-2 in consolation to end his season. Hopkins led 1-nothing entering the third period. Noeldner, who went 3-0 during the team tournament did not place in the individual event.
Charley Elwood, fr, (repeat state champ) blanked his first opponent 7-0 at 132 pounds. Elwood beat Ramzee Molinaro from ACGC in the quarterfinals 6-1. Elwood won 1-0 in the semifinals over Kade Sammons of Windom/Mountain Lake to reach the championship match for the third straight year.
Elwood earned his second straight state title with a reversal in the closing moments of the title bout against Landon Gode of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Elwood got a second period escape for a 1-0 lead entering the third. Gode scored a take down with 37 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the thrilling finish.
Elwood won the title in 2019 and was the runner up in 2018.
Freshman Tate Hermes, fr, lost to top-seed Canon Swanson of BBE 16-1 at 145 pounds. Swanson got upset in the next round, knocking Hermes from the tournament.
In his fifth appearance at state, senior Willie Von Ruden (state champ) crushed Sam Nistler of Eden Valley Watkins 17-2 to open the tournament. Von Ruden won his quarterfinal bout 12-2 over Andy Dostal from Badger Green Bush Middle River. Von Ruden won his semifinal match 3-2 over Tallin Johnson of St. James Area. Von Ruden scored a first period take down and got an escape in the second.
Von Ruden got control early in the finals match with a take down and two back points against Jordan Lohse of West Central Area for a 4-0 lead after the first period. Von Ruden won the championship 5-1, his third straight top three finish at state. It is his first title after a second last year and a third as a sophomore.
Elwood and Von Ruden's titles bring Medford's overall state wrestling individual championship total to 13. The Tigers have a pair of three time state champs with Mitch Kuhlman and Curt Maas.
Josiah Hedensten, jr (fifth place) lost a tough match at 160 pounds, giving up back points in the closing seconds after leading most of the match. He bounced back with an 8-0 victory over Austin Donnay from Kimball Area to advance to Saturday's consolation quarterfinals. Hedensten beat Ethan Waage from BGM 6-1 then lost to Max Ehrich from Blue Earth Area 5-2 in the consolation round. Hedensten got a pin to capture fifth place over Daniel Smith of GMLOS. Hedensten caught Smith in a headlock almost halfway through the second period and squeezed him for the fall.
Junior Brennon Hoffman lost to top-seed and top-rated Dominik Vacura of Badger Green Bush Middle River by pin. Hoffman lost 3-2 in the ultimate tie breaker to No. 6 ranked Mason Rummel from Springfield. Each wrestler got an escape point in regulation before working through four overtime periods. That ends the season for the Medford junior.
Junior Gavin Hermes lost be pin to Jakob Swalla of Minnewaska Area then was knocked out of the tournament when Swalla lost in overtime in the quarterfinals.
Colton Krell, sr (champ) a senior and now a four-time state place winner, opened the tournament with a pin at 3:34 of Cameron Sneed from Grand Meadow Leroy Ostrander Southland. Krell whipped Josh Steffen of Canby 16-1 in the quarterfinals. Krell pinned unbeaten and No. 1 rated Tyler Van Luik of Minnewaska Area in the semifinals. The pin came midway through the second period.
Krell wrestled a strong title match, grabbing a 2-1 lead after one period and 4-2 advantage after two against top seed Luke Tweeton from Frazee. It the third Krell got an escape and a take down to close out the title. It is the first title for Krell and for Westfield.
Dylan Nirk, sr (fourth place) pinned his first opponent in one minute then faced a much larger challenger in the quarterfinals. Nirk pinned Cian Buehler from Ottertail County early in the third period of the quarterfinals. The match was scoreless until Nirk got an escape late in second round. Nirk faced nationally ranked Craig Orlando of Bertha Hewitt Verndale and lost 1-0 on an escape in the third. Orlando got a stall warning against him late in the period but held on for ppthe win.
In the consolation round Nirk beat Alec Francis 3-1. Nirk got an escape in the second and a take down in the third. It was a rematch with Buehler in the third place match. Buehler got an early take down and that stood as enough as he won 3-1, leaving Nirk in fourth.
Ralph Roesler, so, lost to Rick Jones of KMS 8-1. Jones lost in the next round, eliminating Roesler from the consolation round.
Saturday's schedule begins with wrestle back consolation quarterfinals at 9 am. That's followed by the championship semifinals and consolation semifinals. The final session of the state tournament starts at 4 pm with the third and fifth places matches running concurrently. The championship matches get their own spotlight afterward.