Caledonia/Houston heading to Class A final; Kasson-Mantorville places fourth

No. 2-seeded Caledonia shook off early nerves before settling down, while Kasson-Mantorville fell in a grinder to New Prague in the state wrestling tournament.

State wrestling
The Caledonia/Houston bench reacts after Cory Scanlan secured a pin during the Class A state semifinal against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

ST. PAUL — No. 2-seeded Caledonia/Houston knew there was an opportunity to be had as it entered the MSHSL Class A state wrestling team tournament.

After surviving the gauntlet that is Section 1A, the path was certainly there for the Warriors to reach the program's first state final since 1984 — when then Caledonia finished runner-up.

That's what made the start to Thursday's tournament a bit frustrating for coach Shay Mahoney and company.

In the program's first state apparance, the Mayo wrestling team held its own against No. 2 Waconia, before falling to Willmar in the consolations.

Whether it was nerves or the early 9 a.m. start, Mahoney felt his team wasn't ready to go in its quarterfinal dual with United North Central.

It showed as the two teams split the first four matches.


"In our minds, we came out pretty flat," Mahoney said. "We didn't feel like we wrestled like we were capable of."

Mahoney let his team know that during the quarterfinal, before watching the Warriors regain their composure by rattling off 26 of the next 31 points across the next seven matches to advance to the Class A semifinals with a 35-23 win.

Yet, after the victory, Mahoney once again reminded his team that he needed more from them as it readied to take on No. 3 Belrade-Brooten-Elrosa later on Thursday.

"It's these guys' last times together," Mahoney said. "I want them just to go out and wrestle their best and I will live with those results."

It seemed the Warriors took those words to heart.

After dropping the first match, Caledonia/Houston won the next eight to take a 33-3 lead and effectively ended the dual with Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa after just nine weight classes.

The Warriors, who ultimately won 33-27, will now face off against defending Class A state champion and top-seeded Jackson County Central in Thursday's 7 p.m. final.

"It feels good," Mahoney said. "But we have one more left. One more to go."


Hunter Frank (113), Braxton Lange (120) and Tanner Ginther (126) got the Warriors on the board with 15 points, before Owen Denstad delivered the result of the dual with a 5-4 decision over two-time state runner-up Ryan Jensen.

Denstad trailed 4-2 entering the third period before an escape and a takedown with 1 second remaining gave the Warriors an impressive three points.

Cory Scanlan continued his terrific postseason with a third-period pin and Tucker Ginther was able to ride out an early lead for a 3-2 win.

State wrestling
Caledonia/Houston's Tucker Ginther takes down his opponent during the Class A state semifinals on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten/ Post Bulletin

A 13-7 win by Isaac Blocker at 152 and a 1-0 decision win at 160 by Simon Seymour then allowed Mahoney to rest some of his upperweights for the championship.

"They responded really well," Mahoney said.

Next up is Jackson County Central.

"They have a lot of big ranked guys that are studs," Mahoney said. "We are going to have to wrestle the best that we have ever wrestled to beat these guys."


Kasson-Mantorville falls in the semifinals

The Kasson-Mantorville wrestling team's quest for a second consecutive Class AA state championship appearance officially came to an end in Thursday morning's semifinals.

The third-seeded KoMets were right there against No. 2-seed New Prague, but in the end, the Trojans were simply too strong, knocking off K-M 34-32 in the semis.

"New Prague has a really good team," K-M coach Ryan Hill said. "They showed up ready to win this dual. We weren't firing on all cylinders and doing our jobs the way we needed to. But we had guys out there wrestle hard. We were wrestling a good team and it didn't go our way."

The KoMets will take home some hardware after placing fourth with a 34-27 loss to Becker in the third place dual. The KoMets reached the semifinals by defeating Dawson-Boyd/Lac Qui Parle/Montevideo 47-18 in the quarterfinals.

State wrestling
Kasson-Mantorville's Owen Friedrich fights off a bloody nose after winning his match during the Class AA state semifinal against New Prague on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

In the semifinals, Aiden and Owen Friedrich put K-M ahead 12-9 after securing nine points at 126 and 132, respectively. But New Prague secured a victory at 138, before its hammers came up in Koy Buesgens and Colton Bornholdt. Both are ranked No. 1 by The Guillotine in their respective weight classes.

Those two did their jobs with a pair of pins.

New Prague then received another big win at 160 with Evan Farley beating Luke Swanson 3-1 in a battle of ranked wrestlers.

It was then time for the K-M standouts to step up.


Cole Glazier wanted six points but settled for five with a technical fall, before Dominic Mann bumped all the way up from 160 to 182 and secured a 3-1 win by decision. Section champion Eli Richardson then gave K-M hope with a pin at 195 to trim the lead to 28-26 with two weights left.

State wrestling
Kasson-Mantorville fans celebrate after a victory during the Class AA semifinals against New Prague on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

But that hope was quickly dashed when top-ranked and last year's state runner-up Joey Novak collected a pin in 14 seconds to send the Trojans into the Class AA championship.

K-M's Heath Parrish ended things on a positive note for his team with a pin.

Against No. 2 seeded Becker, Broc Vaughan (113), Jonah Coleman (120), Kennedy (145), Swanson (152), Glazier (170) and Parrish (285) all won to pace the KoMets.

Although disappointed they didn't reach another Class AA final, there was still much to be proud of this season for the KoMets. Plus, they have eight individuals competing on Friday at the individual state meet.

"When you look at week one, I don't know if there were many people that would think we would be wrestling right here in the state semifinals," Hill said. "But these guys, they had goals. They worked to put themselves in position to get here."

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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