Spartans send three to state wrestling meet
By Ben Pherson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
For Rochester Mayo wrestling coach Dwight Gingerich, Saturday was bittersweet.
Gingerich watched as three of his wrestlers navigated their way through the Section One, Class AAA tournament at Mayo Civic Center to earn their place at the state meet. He also watched several others who had legitimate chances to advance miss out.
"I’m happy for the guys who went, and I feel for the guys who didn’t make it who worked really hard," Gingerich said.
Gingerich was talking about wrestlers like Warren Brink and Zach Hanson, two guys who had true second-place matches Saturday with a state berth on the line.
"I really wanted those two guys to make it," Gingerich said. "But Zach, I mean, 160 is the toughest weight here. Those guys were all separated by about one point. And Warren, he was so close there in the true second match, and he worked really hard this season."
Now for the positive — three of Gingerich’s wrestlers did advance to state.
First up was Marcus Wolf, who won a true second-place match over John Marshall’s Luke Robison to claim his spot at state. The 135-pounder had lost a tough one-point decision to Albert Lea’s Carter Kortan in the championship match.
The other two wrestlers to advance to state from Mayo are brothers — Jake and Mike Minske.
Mike Minske, the No. 2 seed at 152 pounds, lost twice this season to Century’s Chad Zastrow. But Minske won the match that counted most, topping Zastrow 7-1 in the championship match at 152.
"This is a whole new season, and you can just erase what happened before," Gingerich said. "Maybe he used those past losses as motivation. Had he not been beaten earlier, maybe he doesn’t wrestle this well here."
Mike Minske will be making his fourth trip to the state meet, but it will be his first as the section champion.
Zastrow went on to lose a heart-breaker in the true second-place match, falling 4-2 to Tyler Thomas of Owatonna. Thomas rode Zastrow for all of the final period. At third place, Zastrow was the highest finisher for Century.
Jake Minske was a No. 2 seed, behind Austin’s Mike Hirsch at 189. But for the second consecutive season, Jake Minske topped Hirsch in the title match to earn the section crown.
It was an impressive performance, especially since he had suffered a back injury earlier in the week.
"I joked with him after that we were going to injure him again this week because he wrestled better with the injury," Gingerich said.
John Marshall is sending two wrestlers to state — heavyweight Pen Maclin and 119-pounder Garrett Steiger.
Maclin defeated Cole Wilson of Faribault in the semifinals and lost to Casey Dehn in the title match. But he advanced to state as the second-place finisher at 285.
Steiger entered the title match at 119 having wrestled a total of 44 seconds in the section tournament. He received byes in the first two rounds, then pinned Owatonna’s Bowen Schultz in 44 seconds during the semifinals.
Steiger was perfect in the finals, too, winning 7-0 over No. 2-seeded Dalton Westerlund of Albert Lea.
"That’s the kind of performance Garrett needed; he was pretty much mistake-free," JM coach Brian Parlin said.
Parlin also was pleased with the performance of several other wrestlers, who placed in the top 4 at their respective weights. Carter Williamson was fourth at 103, Jacob Bosshart was fourth at 130, Robison was third at 135, Taylor Giordano was fourth at 171 and Tyler Lande was fourth at 189.
"Carter, he wrestled well. I hope he comes back next year as a (103-pounder) again and puts on a little weight, because he’ll be really solid there," Parlin said. "And I really thought Luke Robison finished well. He finished the season with 30 wins, and he’s really come a long way.
"For the most part, up and down our lineup, we wrestled to our seed or better."
Larry Goodnature of Albert Lea was named the Section 1AAA coach of the year, and his son Brian Goodnature was named the assistant coach of the year.