By Bruce Strand
The Rogers Royals were champions of their own Royal Rumble for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 18, beating St. Agnes 48-12, Dassel-Cokato 41-26, and, in the finals, Holdingford 39-34.
“Wow, what a great day for the boys,” said coach Chris Donnay. “The hard work they’re putting in is really starting to show. We got the bonus points when we could and didn’t give them up in some matches we should have. We left some points on the mat today but not too many.”
The pivotal match of the day was Jeff McClay’s pin at 170 against Holdingford with the Royals trailing 30-15 at the time. He took a slight lead in the third period before coming up with the pin. Donnay said the Royals figured they would lose to Holdingford’s highly-ranked 195-pounder xxxxx Brinker but could win the rest, and they did.
Andrew Piehl was 3-0 for the day, while Phillip Anderson, Tyler Eicher, and Jake Owens were each 2-0, and Jay Larson, Connor Larson, Jordan Bond, and McClay were all 2-1. Jordan Lemcke was 1-1 with a loss to Brinker.
In earlier action, the Rogers Royals coach couldn’t complain much about a conference loss Thursday, Jan. 16.
St. Michael-Albertville, seven-time state champion, currently ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, beat the Royals 42-20.
“To score 20 points on the number two rated team isn’t too bad,”said coach Chris Donnay. “I’m not positive but I’m guessing this is the most points we’ve scored on STMA. Two years ago they shut us out, and last year we won two matches.”
Rogers (9-5) had a school-record seven-match win streak snapped.
“The best part about it,” said Donnay, “is the boys all thought we could have done better.”
STMA (13-3) had three pins, two forfeits and a tech fall for big counters.
Rogers won six of 14 matches with Bret Wilson, Cruz Martinez, Phillip Anderson, Tyler Eicher, Jordan Lemcke and Andrew Piehl getting them.
The Royals will host a tournament on Saturday with eight teams.
The Royals (12-4) were to wrestle at Zimmerman on Tuesday.