ST. PAUL — Three Stillwater wrestlers closed out their prep careers at the state meet on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Section 4AAA champion Grant Wohlwend won his opening-round match for the Ponies at 170 pounds before falling in the quarterfinals and getting eliminated in the wrestlebacks.
Competing at 220 and 285 pounds, Haden Hausken and Peter Palecek each lost their first round matches and only Palecek received an opportunity in the wrestlebacks.
Wohlwend (21-11) defeated Michael Wagner of Shakopee 12-5 to advance to the quarterfinals. Wohlwend trailed early, but threw Wagner to his back and built a 7-4 lead with about 30 seconds remaining. In typical fashion, Ponies coach Rich Keller suggested, Wohlwend was not just willing to ride out the victory while scoring another takedown late to extend his winning margin.
“That’s the way he is,” Keller said. “He wasn’t going to back down. He stuck his nose in there and took a risk, but he got rewarded for it and won a good match. It was a good win for him and he felt pretty good about that.”
The road grew tougher in the quarterfinals where Wohlwend was pinned by eventual state runner-up Garrett Beaman of Henry Sibley in 4:22.
“Grant was just outmuscled by a kid with a lot more experience outside the high school season,” Keller said. “Grant didn’t back down, but (Beaman) didn’t let him get on a roll or anything.”
Wohlwend was then eliminated after dropping a 3-0 decision against Vincent Belsito of Mounds View.
“He had a good season,” Keller said. “He was one of our leaders and had that big match in team sections where he went up a weight and got a pin.”
Hausken (23-14), who like Wohlwend was competing at state for the second year in a row, was handed a 5-3 setback by Jake Owens of Rogers but did not have an opportunity to continue after Owens was stopped in the quarterfinals in the 220-pound weight class.
“Haden and Grant being down there last year really paid off,” Keller said. “Grant had a better chance than the other two. You just try and get through the first round and see what happens. It was (Haden’s) second time down there and it was much more relaxed than last time. Haden is a pretty quiet guy and doesn’t show his emotions, but he was pretty excited to be there.
“He kept it respectable. It was a match when he walked off he thought he should have won. It was a 1-0 match, but he tried a fireman’s carry towards the end of the second period and gave up two points and knew that was kind of the key right there. It was a close match. There’s so little room for error in that type of situation, but he knew he had the possibility to win that match.”
Palecek (32-11), meanwhile, was pinned by eventual third-place finisher Bryce Kirchner of St. Cloud Apollo in the first round and then dropped a 10-2 decision against Andrew Piehl of Rogers in the wrestlebacks.
“He had a ton more experience than Pete,” Keller said of Kirchner. “Peter was bigger than the kid, but it was the experience with Pete really only having two years and not much wrestling last year with the weight and just a few matches the year before. It was a great experience for him and he enjoyed himself. He got that second match and just didn’t get it done.”
It was still an improbable journey for Palecek, who has dropped more than 70 pounds over the past 14 months after weighing 330 pounds on Jan. 1, 2013. His hard work resulted in a strong season on the gridiron this fall and a football scholarship to St. Cloud State University — not to mention a coveted trip to the state wrestling tourney.
“Being there gives you that chance and that’s all you want is a chance to compete there,” Keller said. “Those three were able to dream to be able to do that. We had a great time down there and it was a great state tournament.”
106 — Brent Jones (Shakopee) dec. Rylee Molitor (Sartell-St. Stephen) 7-0.
113 — Wade Sullivan (Lakeville North) dec. Jamin LeDuc (Farmington) 10-7.
120 — Mitchell McKee (St. Michael-Albertville) pinned Malik Stewart (Blaine) 1:22.
126 — Tommy Thorn (St. Michael-Albertville) major dec. George Farmah (Eastview) 12-0.
132 — Maolu Woiwor (Apple Valley) dec. Luke Rowh (Hastings) 8-4.
138 — Seth Gross (Apple Valley) dec. Ben Brancale (Eden Prairie) 3-1.
145 — Mark Voss (St. Michael-Albertville) dec. Carson Brolsma (Osseo) 3-2.
152 — Owen Webster (Shakopee) dec. Brandon Krone (Anoka) 2-1.
160 — Cody Skog (Cambridge-Isanti) major dec. Lucas Westrich (Lakeville North) 13-4.
170 — Grant Wohlwend (1-2, DNP): def. Michael Wagner (Shakopee) 12-5; pinned by Garrett Beaman (Henry Sibley) 4:22; lost to Vincent Belsito (Mounds View) 3-0. Finals: Mark Hall (Apple Valley) tech fall Garrett Beaman (Henry Sibley) 18-3.
182 — Bobby Steveson (Apple Valley) dec. TJ O’Hara (Tartan) 7-0.
195 — Justin Cumberbatch (Alexandria) dec. Gable Steveson (Apple Valley) 8-5.
220 — Haden Hausken (0-1, DNP): lost to Jake Owens (Rogers) 5-3. Finals: Alex Hart (Prior Lake) dec. Paul Cheney (Apple Valley) 8-5.
285 — Peter Palecek (0-2, DNP): pinned by Bryce Kirchner (St. Cloud Apollo) 5:02; lost to Andrew Piehl (Rogers) 10-2. Finals: Lucas Pinto (Prior Lake) dec. Spencer Sorenson (Owatonna) 7-4.