Killer edge sends Mayo to first section championship dual since 2004

Thanks to pins from Andrew Trimble and Ethan Peper, the Mayo Spartans started fast and ended with a bang and will now wrestle for their first section title on Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center.

Section 1AAA wrestling
Mayo's Andrew Trimble looks to collect the pin during a Section 1AAA semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 at Mayo High School.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER — It was no secret, the top-seeded Mayo wrestling team knew what was on the line in Thursday night's Section 1AAA team wrestling semifinal.

In fact, it could be sensed before the Spartans even walked onto the mat.

"You could cut the tension in the air with a knife tonight," junior Ethan Peper said. "We knew, if we lose, we're done."

Peper admits, though, it was a different feeling from last year when the Spartans found themselves in a similar spot.

The then-No. 2 seeded Spartans hosted Faribault in a Section 1AAA semifinal, but were upset by the Falcons. The season full of postseason aspirations was over before it felt like it had even truly begun.


It gave this year's team a major chip on its shoulder.

"Last year, we knew we could beat them, we just weren't there mentally," Peper said. "Not mentally tough enough. But as soon as this year, we just clicked. We're going. No fun about it, we're going to kick some (butt). It's going to happen."

The Spartans proved that on Thursday, using a key pin from Andrew Trimble at 106 pounds and a pin from Peper at heavyweight to advance to the Section 1AAA championship dual for the first time since 2004. They advanced thanks to a 36-27 victory against fourth-seeded Owatonna in a Section 1AAA semifinal at Mayo High School.

Mayo will now wrestle for the program's first section team title when it takes on No. 3 seed Faribault — which beat defending section champion Northfield 55-16 in the other semifinal — at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center.

"Everybody did their job," coach Art Trimble said. "Guys that needed to stay off their backs, stayed off their back. I thought we could still have won a couple of those matches in there. But they got the job done. They knew what to do. A good, sound performance. One step closer to the next goal."

Section 1AAA wrestling
Mayo's Calder Sheehan reacts after collecting a first period pin during a Section 1AAA semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 at Mayo High School.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

The Spartans received a jolt right away at 106 from seventh-grader Andrew Trimble.

It was almost like he was shot of a cannon, hitting his shot, before landing a big takedown that eventually turned into a quick first-period pin for six big points. It was a 12-point swing from the last time these two teams met, which was a 37-33 win for Owatonna — Mayo's only loss against a Section 1AAA opponent.

"That was a big win for him," Art Trimble said. "Super proud, obviously and being his dad. But that's so huge. Without that, it goes the other way, they win. But I believe other guys would have stepped up if they had to."


Freshman Juan Cobarruvais followed with a win by an 8-4 decision, before Adam Buenger picked up five points with a technical fall to put the Spartans up 14-0 after three matches.

Owatonna won the next three matches to trim Mayo's lead to 14-12, before Calder Sheehan — ranked No. 4 in Class AAA at 145 pounds — secured the first-period pin.

Yet, Owatonna would win three consecutive matches again, including a big 1-0 win at 160 pounds by RJ Reinardy that was followed by a pin from standout Cael Robb, to give the Huskies their first lead at 24-20.

But there was never a sense of panic from the Spartans entering the final four weights.

In fact, with seniors Logan Burger and Dylan Peper coming up, followed by juniors Lucas Peterson and Ethan Peper, the Spartans were more than confident.

"We have so much confidence in all four of those guys that we were like, hey let's close it out and put it in the hands of our experienced wrestlers," coach Trimble said. "Go out and let them do their job."

Burger — bumping up from 170 to 182 pounds — gave the Spartans the lead back with a second-period pin and Dylan Peper extended the lead with a win by an 8-0 major decision.

It then looked like Peterson, who normally wrestles at 182, was going to finish it off after he rallied from down 4-0 to take a late 6-5 lead with a reversal and little time left.


The third period buzzer sounded, but the officials ruled Owatonna's Blake Fitcher secured an escape before the timer went off. Fitcher then recorded a takedown in overtime for the 8-6 win by sudden victory. Owatonna still had life, trailing 30-27 entering the final weight.

But unfortunately for the Huskies, that's where Ethan Peper was waiting. He wasn't missing this opportunity.

"I knew I wasn't losing this one," he said. "First time in 18 years to have a chance to go to the finals. Kind of a big deal. Can't lose that."

Peper showed off his size and strength, quickly overpowering Owatonna's Grant Lower en route to the pin and sending the Spartans back to the Section 1AAA championship dual for the first time since 2004.

Now, it's Faribault that stands in the way of Mayo's next goal: The program's first section team championship. The two teams met on Feb. 3, with Mayo winning 32-25.

"Faribault is rock solid from top to bottom," Trimble said. "That last one went down to almost heavyweight before, but we know if we can wrestle the way we can wrestle, then we're going to take care of business."

Mayo 36, Owatonna 27

106 — Andrew Trimble (M) pinned Kaden Lindquist 0:45. 113 — Juan Cobarruvais (M) dec. Donoven Sorenson 8-4. 120 — Adam Buenger (M) tech. fall Jayden Jirele 15-0. 126 — Lane Karsten (O) maj. dec. Max Erickson 9-1. 132 — Trey Hiatt (O) maj. dec. Kellen Burger 11-0. 138 — Michael Reinardy (O) maj. dec. Kai Kobayashi 16-6. 145 — Calder Sheehan (M) pinned Parker Casas 1:43. 152 — Jack Sorenson (O) dec. Kamden Ernste 4-0. 160 — RJ Reinardy (O) dec. Carter Funk 1-0. 170 — Cael Robb (O) pinned James Nelson 1:38. 182 — Logan Burger (M) pinned Logan Risser 2:53. 195 — Dylan Peper (M) maj. dec. Max Flemke 8-0. 220 — Blake Fitcher (O) dec. Lucas Peterson 8-6 SV-1. 285 — Ethan Peper (M) pinned Grant Lower 0:48.

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at
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