Owatonna Powers to State with Bonus Points and Pins
The Owatonna High School wrestling team won the Section 1AAA title Saturday with a pair of 'upsets' in the team tournament at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. The Huskies were the No. 3 seed and beat No. 2 Farmington 42-24 and top-seed Northfield in a 28-27 spine-tingling finals to advance to Xcel Energy Center for the February 27 state meet.
OHS only won six of the 14 matches against the Raiders in the finals, but picked up bonus points in four of the victories. Senior heavyweight Isaiah Noeldner finished it off with a pin-to-win bout to close out the 28-27 section title. Anytime less than a pin would have propelled Northfield back to state. Noeldner, who missed most of his junior season with a knee injury, got the pin midway through the third period.
Cael Robb had opened the dual with a pin at the very end of the second period at 106 pounds. Broadcasters Wade Westphal and Tim Thorn spoke of the Huskies "bookends" of Robb and Noeldner in the Owatonna lineup.
Kaden Nelson got a forfeit at 170 for six team points. Landen Johnson picked up a major win for an extra team point at 160. Jerez Autridge and Quincey Price earned decisions.
Just as important as getting bonus points, was not giving them up. In the eight matches they lost, OHS wrestlers only surrendered bonus points one time. That came at 220 pounds and put Northfield ahead 27-22 going into heavyweight. Noeldner had to get the pin. Even a technical fall would leave the meet tied and criteria would go to Northfield.
The other class AAA teams reaching the state meet are Shakopee, St. Michael-Albertville, Stillwater Area, Forest Lake, Bemidji, Waconia, and Hastings.
Section individual wrestling is February 21-22 at the Mayo Civic Center.