RAHS wrestlers aiming high this season

With an experienced group of athletes returning, the Roseville Area High School wrestling team is expecting to be in the thick of both the conference and section races this winter. Staying healthy will be a huge key for the Raiders if they are to compete at a high level.

“Once our guys get to their weights, which might not happen until January, we’ll have experienced varsity wrestlers at 13 of the 14 weights,” said Roseville head coach Mike Holmes.

With that kind of returning experience, Holmes said challenging for the Suburban East Conference and Section 4AAA titles isn’t out of the question.

“Our goals are to win the section and the conference,” said Holmes, who is entering his 15th year as Roseville’s head coach. “We’ll be disappointed if we’re anything less than second in either.”

With Hastings no longer a member of the Suburban East, the conference race is much more wide open. Hastings began the season ranked sixth in Class AAA and that would put the Raiders at the top of the Suburban East.

White Bear Lake is the preseason favorite in the conference and begins the season ranked 12th in the state.

Speaking of rankings, three Roseville team members appeared in the preseason individual rankings following trips to the state tournament last season. Landing in the top 10 in their respective weight classes are December Htoo, Tyler Graham and Isaac Schmaedeke.

Htoo returns for his senior season following his junior year when he went 32-8, including 2-2 at state. He is ranked 10th at 138 pounds although Holmes expects him to settle in at a lower weight this season.

Graham, another senior, posted a 30-12 record last year and went 1-2 in the state tournament. He is ranked eighth at 170 pounds.

Schmaedeke, a senior heavyweight, went 24-7 (0-1 at state) a year ago and begins this season ranked eighth.

With Graham and Schmaedeke anchoring, Roseville should be strong in the upper six weight classes. Holmes said he would put his top six weight classes against the top six of any other team in the conference and section.

The middle weights have some potential, but will be learning as they go and the bottom three weights are question marks.

Depth is a bit of an issue for Roseville, and that’s why staying healthy is a must this year.

“We’ve got good numbers, but half are new to high school wrestling,” Holmes said. “So we don’t have much depth talent-wise.”

Roseville opens the season with a pair of events on this week’s schedule. The Raiders head to Woodbury on Thursday for a triangular that also includes Tartan. On Saturday, Roseville competes in an invitational meet at Maple Grove High School.

Roseville’s first home event is a triangular with Mounds View and Osseo on Dec. 11. The Raiders are also home on Dec. 19 with Blaine and St. Paul Harding.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Notes:

The Dec. 11 home event will also include a dedication ceremony for Ken Bergstedt, who taught and coached at Alexander Ramsey High School. Under Bergstedt, Alexander Ramsey won the 1960 state wrestling championship.

The wrestling complex at Roseville Area High School will be named after Bergstedt.

Tyler Graham is the younger brother of one of Roseville’s best wrestlers. Colton Graham, a 2009 RAHS graduate, was a three-time state entrant and finished fourth in the state at 171 pounds as a senior. When he finished his prep wrestling career, he was Roseville’s all-time leader in victories.

 

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