Six Makes Eight for Owatonna Wrestlers Going to State [Audio]
Owatonna will be well represented at the state wrestling tournament at Xcel Energy Center March 4-5. The Huskies will be part of the history-making aspect of the event as well. Eight OHS wrestlers qualified for state, including two for the first-ever Minnesota State High School League girls wrestling tournament.
Senior Rian Grunwald and freshman Isabelle Townley are the trailblazers for the girls tournament, which will have a session on Saturday, March 5. They punched their tickets to state on February 19. Six of their teammates did the same thing on Friday, February 25. Seniors Kanin Hable, Landen Johnson, Jacob Reinardy and Andrew Nirk, junior Cael Robb and freshman Lane Karsten qualified for the traditional individual tournament beginning Friday.
Hear a full interview with Owatonna High School wrestling coach Derek Johnson right below and read the quick-hitting remarks for each state qualifier as well.
OHS coach Johnson from the KRFO Coaches Show
Rian Grunwald, sr, section champ
"She wrestled what I would describe as a really solid college wrestling tournament, where it wasn't high scoring...She had opponents that were just trying to keep matches close...She walked away from all the matches only winning by a couple of points, but anybody could see that it was never in question."
Isabelle Townley, fr, section runner-up
"I think she proved a lot to herself. She belongs. She probably should have been section champ too. For her to come back to the true second match and go to state, that definitely opened her own eyes, I think."
Lane Karsten, fr, section champ, 113 pounds
"He pointed it out. This is the first individual tournament he has won all season. He did it when it counted. And was able to seal the deal against Harner from Northfield, who he finally got over the hump on at team sections."
Cael Robb, jr, section champ, 132 pounds
"Cael Robb did what Cael Robb does. He controlled every match. The finals were a little closer than he would have liked (a 1-0 win) but on the same token...it was never really in doubt."
Kanin Hable, sr, section runner-up, 145 pounds
"Kanin Hable had an electric finals match...(Hable) put him to his back with about thirty seconds left. I don't know how the guy wasn't pinned...A match that got the whole arena going."
Landen Johnson, sr, section champ with pins in 1:20 and :53, 160 pounds
"He's just on another level right now, just breezed through pretty easily. In fact, after every match, he was going to the side and getting a real workout in by himself."
Jacob Reinardy, sr, section champ, 170 pounds
"Reinardy avenged a loss to the older of the Kuyper brothers from Northfield in the finals. I've just been really proud of how he's coming as a wrestler...He's peaking at the right time as well."
Andrew Nirk, sr, section runner-up, 195 pounds
"Andrew Nirk had a great day. He took out the No. 1 seed to get to the finals...He ended up getting a fall for true second...We're just so happy for him."
Johnson said the girls state qualifiers were recognized during Friday's session at the Mayo Civic Center and he's thrilled to see them get the attention they deserve.
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