The Cannon Falls Fieldhouse was as full as it could be on Wednesday afternoon and evening during the Section 1AA Individual Wrestling Tournament on March 17.
Cannon Falls and Lake City will have a number of representatives go through to the state prelims tournament on Saturday.
For the Bombers, sophomore Gavin Peterson, freshman Calvin Singewald, sophomore Preston Carlisle, and junior Riley Keenan.
For the Tigers, senior Luke Skifton, junior Jonathan Harvey, senior Joe Kozlowski, senior Dominic Goihl-Krier, and junior Max Balow.
If Peterson, Singewald, Skifton, and Harvey win, they advance to state on March 27. If they lose, there could be a “true second” match if they didn’t wrestle the kid who wins the third-place match.
Carlisle, Keenan, Kozlowski, Goihl-Krier, and Balow will only qualify for state if the person who loses the championship match isn’t someone they wrestled and lost to earlier in the tournament.
Tigers Coach Doug Vaith couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed by the tournament results. The Tigers recently finished second in sections as a team, Vaith felt they could move six wrestlers through to state individually.
Vaith said best case scenario, they would have seven wrestlers representing the Tigers at state. Worst case scenario, only three wrestlers would make it through.
“Overall, I’m satisfied,” Vaith said.
Bombers Coach Dudley Flodeen was proud of the four wrestlers that advanced to state, saying his group performed admirably.
“I think we were hoping to get four [wrestlers] through,” Flodeen said. “And that’s kind of what we were hoping to get through. I think they wrestled a pretty good day today.”
Having four wrestlers like Peterson, Singewald, Carlisle and Keenan is important to a team’s dynamic, Flodeen said.
While this competition at the fieldhouse was about the individual, it gives the younger wrestlers something to look forward to.
“It’s kind of nice, because you can put them up against other teams and get key wins out of them,” Flodeen said. “Then you can get some wins in other places. It helps a lot.”
Specifically relating to Peterson, who wrestles at 106 pounds, and Singewald, who wrestles at 113 pounds, Flodeen said the pair make each other better every day in practice.
Flodeen compared it to iron sharpening iron, both getting the most out of every practice and preparing them for matches like they had today.
“I’ve seen them improve from the beginning of the season to where we are here,” Flodeen said. “And that’s what we want. We want to peak in the sections and the state tournament.”
Peterson pinned both of his opponents during the tournament. Peterson has only lost two matches the entire season.
Singewald took both of his matches to a decision. Singewald, who is undefeated, will wrestle Pine Island Junior Luke Williams, a fellow undefeated wrestler for the top spot on Saturday.
One of the brightest spots for the Tigers came in the form of Harvey’s match against St. Thomas Academy Senior Jacob Draxler. Previously this season, Vaith said Harvey lost to Draxler. On Wednesday, Harvey got his revenge, pinning Draxler in a little over two minutes.
Tigers Senior Joe Kozlowski also notched his 100th win in the tournament and will look to continue his winning ways against the Bombers’ Carlisle.
So with a short window of time between the tournament on Wednesday and state on Saturday, what kind of workout will the Tigers have?
Vaith said it’s been a difficult training year because of COVID-19. Typically, they’d have two solid workouts and a light one the day before a match. Now, they don’t want to risk any injury and focus solely on technique and sharpening their skills.
“It’s a lot of fine tuning,” Vaith said. “We don’t do a lot of hard wrestling. We don’t need that at this point.”
More than anything, Vaith is excited for his wrestlers to have the opportunities they’ve had during the pandemic.
The Tigers are healthy and feeling good physically.
To see full results from Wednesday’s tournament, visit trackwrestling.com.