Mounds View wrestling a pleasant surprise

Tanner Day
Tanner Day
Karl Keeler
Karl Keeler

With as young of a roster as it has this season, the Mounds View High School wrestling team was a bit of a question mark — even to the coaches. Head coach Dan Engebretson wasn't sure what to expect from his charges this winter, but as the post-season approaches he likes what he has seen.

Mounds View added a pair of dual victories last week to remain at just one loss against section foes. That should be good enough to secure the No. 2 seed in the upcoming section team tournament.

"We didn't think that's where we'd end up, but they're wrestling a little bit above where we thought," Engebretson said.
Mounds View beat Rogers 36-32 and Irondale 62-6 at a home triangular on Jan. 22. The Mustangs have also beat section foes Maple Grove, Park Center and Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village.

"We're better than we thought we'd be," Engebretson said. "We're young, so we were a little nervous, but the kids are wrestling really well."

The lone loss to a section team was a 41-13 setback against Centennial, which was a top 20 team in last week's Class AAA state rankings and will be the No. 1 seed in the section tournament. Despite the loss, Engebretson liked the way his wrestlers competed.

"Every match was a battle, so it was fun," Engebretson said. "It's fun watching the kids growing up."

Among the highlights from the Centennial match was junior Tanner Day's victory over Jake Bergeland, who was ranked fourth in the state at the time. With the win, Day vaulted past Bergeland and into fourth in the rankings released on Jan. 23.

Also ranked for the Mustangs is 126-pound senior Karl Keeler, who is ninth. Among his notable victories this year was an 8-0 decision over Maple Grove's Jack Herbes, who beat Keeler in the section final last season.

"It was a dominating 8-0," Engebretson said. "There was no question."

Keeler and Day both qualified for state last year and Engebretson would like to see them joined by a few more teammates this season. Engebretson sees five Mustangs who have legitimate shots at making state and at least two more who have the capability to catch fire on one day to make a run.

Other Mustangs having solid seasons include senior Sam McGinnity, junior Benji Keilor, sophomores Sam Bobick and Jack Graham and eighth-grader Nick Dunagan.

Dunagan won his weight class last Saturday at the Minnesota Ninth Grade Wrestling League Region 5 individual tournament to help Mounds View finish third in the team standings.

A week earlier, Mounds View's ninth-grade team competed in the state team tournament and took seventh out of 24 teams.

"We're really excited about that team," Engebretson said.

The varsity season is quickly coming to a conclusion. Mounds View has four events remaining on the regular-season schedule, starting Thursday with a Suburban East Conference dual at Woodbury. On Friday, the Mustangs travel to Osseo for a triangular and on Saturday, they're at a tournament at Robbinsdale Armstrong. The regular season wraps up on Feb. 5 with a home dual against Forest Lake.

The post-season begins Feb. 14 with the Section 5AAA team tournament at Rogers. The section individual tournament is Feb. 21 at Champlin Park.

Irondale

Dual victories have been hard to come by for the Knights, but there have been some individuals have some success during the season.

Sophomore Sean LaFleur and senior Nick Harelson picked up tournament championships at an invitational on Dec. 6 at Fridley. LaFleur won the 126-pound title with a fall in the championship match. Harelson, the champion at 160 pounds, also clinched his title with a fall.

Last week, Irondale wrestled in a triangular at Mounds View and fell to the Mustangs and to Rogers. Against Rogers, five Knights won matches. LaFleur and Harelson both earned falls while Jake Brown and Justin Escobar won their bouts by decision. Jake Spencer was awarded a victory in a forfeit.

Against Mounds View, Jordan Kedrowski picked up a fall victory.

Irondale is in action two days this week. The Knights host Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village on Thursday in a Northwest Suburban Conference dual and travel to Blaine High School for an invitational tournament on Saturday. Irondale then closes out the regular season on Feb. 5 at triangular at Park Center.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village

The Panthers have three events left on their regular-season schedule. They wrestle at Irondale in a Northwest Suburban Conference dual on Thursday and head to Roseville for a quadrangular that also includes North St. Paul and St. Paul Central on Saturday.
SLP/SAV closes out the regular season with a triangular on Feb. 5 starting at 5 p.m. at St. Anthony Village High School. Maple Grove and Mound Westonka are also in attendance.

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

 

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