State wrestling berths on the line Saturday

All three Bulletin-area high schools have wrestlers taking part in the Section 5AAA individual tournament on Saturday at Osseo High School. The participants will be trying to qualify for the state tournament.

To do so, an individual must finish in the top two in his respective weight class.

Irondale has sent individuals to state every season for more than 10 years, but keeping that streak alive this season could be a challenge. The Knights don't have anyone on the roster with state tournament experience. Last year's lone entrant, Eriq Smith, was a senior and is now attending the University of Minnesota Duluth and is on the Bulldogs' football team.

Mounds View has two individuals who have previously been to the state tournament. Junior Tanner Day and senior Karl Keeler were two of the five Mustangs to qualify for state last year. The other three were seniors.

Day enters the section meet one of two wrestlers from Section 5AAA in the state rankings at 120 pounds. He was seventh in the poll released on Feb. 6, one spot ahead of a wrestler from Centennial.

Keeler was ranked ninth back in late January at 126 pounds, but dropped out of the top 10 in the latest poll.

Two members of the Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village co-op team have state tournament experience. One of them, senior Tristan Wehmas, is from St. Anthony Village High School. Wehmas qualified for state last year at 220 pounds.

The qualifiers will compete at the state tournament on Feb. 27-28 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

5AAA team tournament

Mounds View was the No. 2 seed in the Section 5AAA team tournament and was eliminated in the semifinals. The Mustangs knocked off seventh-seeded Coon Rapids in the quarterfinals before losing 35-25 to third-seeded Maple Grove.

Irondale was the ninth seed and upset eighth-seeded Park Center 42-36 in the first round but then lost to Centennial 78-3 in the quarterfinals. Against Park Center, the Knights got match victories from Kevin Ihnen, Justin Escobar, Nick Harelson and Abe Dukuly and all came via falls. Irondale also picked up three forfeit wins.

Harelson picked up the Knights' only points against Centennial with an 8-1 victory in his match at 160 pounds.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village drew the No. 6 seed and lost in the first round to Maple Grove 55-15.

Top-seeded Centennial beat Maple Grove 38-20 in the section final and will compete in Thursday's state team tournament at Xcel Energy Center.

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


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