BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Both the Rockford and Delano wrestling teams have not fielded full teams much of the season, slowed by injury or a lack of varsity wrestlers. Many of the newcomers gained some experience on the junior varsity.
However, now is the time to fill varsity spots to enhance team scores at the section team tournaments this week. The individual qualifying for state will take place Feb. 21-22
Rockford received the No. 4 seed at the Section 5AA tournament set for Friday, Feb. 14 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The Rockets will likely face Fridley about 4:30 p.m., with the winner going against No. 1 Totino-Grace in the team final.
Delano is entered in the Section 2AA tournament where seeding was Monday night after this issue went to press. What is known is action starts Thursday, Feb. 13 at the top four seeds.
The Tigers will be on the road at one of the sites involving two rounds. Seeds five through 12 will go in the first round, with winners advancing to the second against the top four teams. The remaining four advance to the finals Saturday, Feb. 15 at Glencoe-Silver Lake. Semifinals are at 4 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
“I think we are wrestling pretty well right now,” said coach Jeff Olson. “We had a nice win over Robbinsdale Cooper on Thursday. Most importantly we competed hard throughout our lineup. That’s all we’re looking for right now is for our guys to keep working hard and improving.”
Delano won over Cooper 49-18 at a home triangular including Buffalo/West Lutheran Thursday. The Tigers only lost forfeit points at two weight classes compared to having only six compete at the conference meet the week prior. In the 47-22 loss to Buffalo/West Lutheran, Delano only did not fill one weight class.
The winners against Cooper were Tucker Sjomeling by pin at 113, Cole Paskach at 126, Sam Oeffling by pin at 132, Marty Soderberg at 152, Sawyer Nelson at 195, Kevin Kneisl by pin at 220 and Walker Russek at 285. The varsity lineup also included Tanner Kroells at 106, Camden Tschudi at 120, Zach Knight at 138, Kameron Anderson at 145 and Seth Streachek at 160.
Rockford coach Larry Hunter said his team looks forward to wrestling an opponent like Totino-Grace.
“Our conference is complete with teams that can beat or compete with Totino-Grace,” notes Hunter. “We have been fighting tough teams all year long and we are physically and mentally prepared for one more tumultuous battle.”
The Rocket roster submitted for the section tournament includes Lucas Klonne, Luke Pratzner, Hayden Roehl, Griffin Eckberg, Ty Griffin, Brad Johnson, Fordy Thorson, Dylan Granke, Eric Dahl, Daquerio Cano, Luke Schmidt, Sasha Galka, Thomas Reinking, Brad Scribner, Nick Selly and Max Gulsvig.
Leaders have been Griffin at 28-2, Johnson 20-4 and Granke 14-12. Both Griffin and Johnson competed at state last year and Griffin is a former state champ.