Wrestling | Section One kicks off Thursday night

Of the three Section One team tournaments taking place this weekend, Class A will once again provide fans with the most wide-open field, tough Class AAA may give it a run for its money.

Chatfield claimed the No. 1 in seed in Section 1A after rolling to a 27-1 regular-season record. The Gophers also knocked off all of their closest competition, including wins over the top seven seeds in the section. Their lone loss this season was a one-point setback against New Prague, the No. 4-ranked team in Class AA.

Chatfield also rolled through many of the top teams in Section 1AA, including No. 2 Cannon Falls, No. 3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville, No. 4 Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson and No. 5 Caledonia.

The Gophers' two most important wins, though, came over No. 2 Kenyon-Wanamingo (16-5) and No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa (18-14).

Both wins were by nine points.


"Nine points isn't a lot, and that can get flipped around quickly," Chatfield coach Joel Viss said. "Both those guys (K-W's Matt Ryan and Z-M's Link Steffen) are great coaches, so I'm sure they're doing all the right things to find ways to beat us. Everyone is so good in Section One."

The Gophers lineup certainly is scary. There aren't many holes, especially in the lighter weights with studs like Jared Goldsmith (33-3 at 106), Hank Friederichs (35-1 at 120), A.J. Riley (33-2 at 126), Harvey Friederichs (34-2 at 132) and Alex Haffner (33-1 at 138).

The Knights and Cougars figure to offer the most resistance, though.

K-W's young lineup improved quickly this season. The Knights' only losses are to Chatfield, nationally ranked Kasson-Mantorville, No. 4 ranked AAA team Cambridge-Isanti, Class AA Byron and Class AAA Rochester John Marshall.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa is battle tested and is the defending section champion. The Cougars were the No. 5 seed last season but claimed the title, upsetting Chatfield and K-W along the way.

The Cougars competed in The Clash National Duals again this season, and they're led by standouts like Joey Majerus (25-4 at 113), Mitchell Watkins (26-2 at 138), Cody Heitman (25-6 at 145) and Chase Steffen (25-5 at 16).

"Whoever makes it, it's going to be a battle," Viss said.

Chatfield, K-W, Z-M and No. 4 Goodhue are the host sites for Thursday's Section 1A action. All first-round duals start at 6 p.m., with quarterfinals starting 20 minutes after the first round is complete.


Chatfield wrestles the winner between No. 8 Pine Island (5-10) and No. 9 Triton (7-13), while K-W faces the winner between No. 10 Dover-Eyota (9-13) and No. 7 St. Charles (7-8).

Zumbrota-Mazeppa gets the winner between No. 11 Fillmore Central/Lanesboro/Mabel-Canton (4-12) and No. 6 Wabasha-Kellogg (12-12). Finally, Goodhue will face either No. 12 Hayfield or No. 5 Lake City (7-13).

The 1A semifinals start at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the finals scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Who will join K-M?

Kasson-Mantorville, which is nationally ranked and the state's No. 1 team in Class AA, is once again the clear-cut favorite in Section 1AA.

The KoMets lost to only one Minnesota team this season — Apple Valley — and pounded their closest Class AA competition — Simley — during the Swalla Duals in January.

How much have the KoMets separated themselves from the rest of the competition in Section 1AA? They downed the section's No. 2 seed — Cannon Falls — 60-10 early in the season, and that included the Bombers receiving a stunning win when Clay Broze knocked off Iowa recruit and two-time defending state champion Broc Berge.

While the section champion appears to be clear, who will join the KoMets at Mayo Civic Center on Saturday is not.


As many as eight teams probably could make an argument for their place in the 1AA semifinals.

The Bombers surprised many by earning the No. 2 seed, but their regular-season resume made them a clear choice, especially with the rest of the contenders all beating up on each other.

Cannon Falls enters with an 18-6 record, and its only loss to a Section 1AA foe came against K-M.

The Bombers have a great 1-2 punch to start every dual with Paul Fitterer (35-0 at 106) and Ryan Epps (27-2 at 113). Broze also remains one of the area's only unbeaten wrestlers with a 36-0 mark at 220. The Bombers have a total of nine wrestlers with 24 or more victories.

They will be a host site Thursday, along with K-M, No. 3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville (15-10) and No. 4 Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson (19-8).

If the Bombers are to earn a spot in the semifinals, they'll be forced to earn it. They'll face the winner between No. 10 Waseca (1-14) and No. 7 Stewartville (10-8).

Stewartville's 10-8 record is deceiving. The Tigers struggled mightily with injuries during the regular season, but they're nearly healthy now and could present problems for most of the top seeds.

PEM will face the winner between No. 11 Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrader/Kingsland (3-10) and No. 6 Byron (15-10) in the quarterfinals.


The Bears started the season extremely well, but struggled late. If they return to form, they'll give P-E-M a test.

LARP will face the winner between No. 13 La Crescent (2-16) and No. 5 Caledonia (6-8).

On Jan. 31, Caledonia claimed a 42-28 victory over LARP, so it will be tested Thursday.

K-M will face either No. 9 Austin (6-9) or No. 8 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (12-9) in the quarterfinals.

The 1AA semifinals are at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with the finals scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Huskies top dog

With a late-season drubbing of their rivals from Albert Lea, Owatonna separated itself from the Section 1AAA field.

The Tigers spent the bulk of the season ranked ahead of the Huskies in the Class AAA polls. Prior to the late-season loss, Albert Lea (18-2) was No. 4. After the win, Owatonna (19-6) moved up to No. 5, while Albert Lea dropped to No. 6.


While there's much room for Albert Lea to make up after the 34-21 setback from Jan. 26, the heated rivals rarely fail to surprise when they square off at Mayo Civic Center.

Hastings (19-9) was an easy pick for the No. 3 seed, and Faribault (8-5) grabbed the No. 4 seed after a late-season win over No. 5 Rochester Mayo (12-8).

The Spartans will get another crack at the Falcons, and a trip to Mayo Civic Center is on the line. They'll square off at 7 p.m. Thursday during the quarterfinals in Faribault.

No. 9 Winona (1-16) and No. 8 Rochester Century (1-12) meet in the only first-round matchup at 6 p.m. Thursday in Owatonna. The winner faces the top-seeded Huskies at 7.

Albert Lea has a quarterfinals date against No. 7 Northfield (8-13), and Hastings squares off against No. 6 Rochester John Marshall (11-11) in the quarterfinals.

The 1AAA semifinals are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with the finals set for 2:30 p.m.

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