By Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
Rogers has three state entrants for the first time in its wrestling history, after Philip Anderson placed first and Kyler Swanson and Jake Owens each placed second in Section 5AAA on Saturday.
“Last year we sent two for the first time, and to get more than that this year is awesome,” said coach Chris Donnay.
Anderson, a junior top-seeded at 138, pinned Andy Long of Centennial in 1:35 in the semifinals for his 100th career win. He beat Theo Gee of Maple Grove 13-5 in the finals.
Swanson, a senior who made state two years ago but not last year, earned a return trip by winning twice at 145 pounds, 14-2 over Nick Harelson of Irondale and 5-3 over Jacob Vandersteen of Champlin Park (overtime). Anthon Gamache of Osseo beat Swanson in the finals.
Owens, a sophomore, was 182-pound runner-up. He pinned Centennial’s Kodie Sickman in 4:54, then upset Jimmy Kaiser of Mounds View 3-1. Kaiser had beaten Owens twice in the last two weeks. Owens lost to LaQuan Wallace of Champlin Park in the finals. He had to wrestle a true-second match and beat Maple Grove’s Jebah Doe 3-1.
Owens and Jordan Lemcke, both second-year wrestlers, earned shots at state via true-second matches. Lemcke fell short in his bid, losing 7-5 in overtime to Rico Lester, the top seed from Park Center. Lemcke won three of five matches.
“To have two second-year wrestlers going for true second shows what hard work and dedication can do,” said Donnay.
Meanwhile, Andrew Piehl was 3-1 and placed third at 220, Cruz Marttinez was 2-2 and placed fourth at 120, Connor Larson was 2-2 and placed fourth at 132, and Tyler Eicher was 2-2 and placed fifth at 160. Peter Oakland was 1-2 at 285 and didn’t place.
“All but one wrestler placed today,” noted Donnay. “I couldn’t be prouder of our kids today. They really stepped up.”
The state individuals tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.