By Tom Murphy
The Warriors fell one win shy of a trip to the state high school team wrestling tournament on Saturday at Rochester. Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove’s second seeded team fell to top seed Kasson-Mantorville (KM), 40-18, after beating Plainview-Elgin-Millville (PEM), 45-18, in the semi-finals.
It concluded a season of firsts, though. The undefeated regular season puts this squad up with the storied teams that put together 83 unbeaten dual meets in the early 1970’s. That string stood as a state record for several decades. The 2011-12 Warriors were undefeated conference champs as well.
McCormick 100th win
Connor McCormick marked his 100th win as a Warrior, placing him among the elite. He defeated PEM’s Garret Wolf, 4-1, on Saturday. After losing to the PEM wrestler early in the season, McCormick beat Wolf at the Lake City tournament before this victory. Wolf had been ranked fourth at 195 while McCormick is ranked eighth at 182, according to The Guillotine.
Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove reached Rochester after winning the sub-section at Caledonia on Thursday.
The Warriors bested Byron 51-16. Byron had beaten Waseca 36-28 in the night’s preliminary.
Drew Stemper could not hold a 5-0 lead in the first match and lost. He had been cleared two days before from mononucleosis. Willy Krage came back with a solid 5-1 victory to tie the score.
Dylan Stemper built a 7-0 lead before getting a fall with 30 seconds left in the second period. Byron tied the score when the Warriors’ Luke Werner was pinned.
Austin Fitzgerald started the Warriors on their winning roll with a technical fall early in the third period putting the team up 14-9. Troy King lost by decision.
John Ellenz led 10-0 after the first period and won 10-1 at 145. Ellenz had been out with an ankle injury.
Jacob Swindell had an exciting match that included a scramble. He won 23-11.
At 160, Ryan Mauss started slowly in a 0-0 first period. He won by fall at 3:45 to put the Warriors up 28-12.
Shane Loken came out at 170 and lost 13-4.
Casey Stemper came back at 182 and won by fall at 4:34.
Connor McCormick followed with a first period fall.
Travis Frank won by forfeit and Austin Goergen recorded a 16-0 technical fall.
Of note was that Byron started five wrestlers ninth grade or younger and only two seniors. The Warriors started 10 seniors.
The Warriors started fast and never let up against the Bulldogs.
Drew Stemper won by fall and Krage won 3-2. Dylan Stemper was pinned but Werner won in double overtime.
Fitzgerald, King, Ellenz, and Swindell put together three major decisions and a fall, respectively in an 18 point run.
After Loken’s loss, Mauss won by fall at 170. Stemper was decisioned before McCormick got his historic win.
Frank lost a close decision before Goergen polished off the meet with a 57 second fall.
Fall to K-M
It was a repeat of last year’s section finals and the Komets repeated last year’s outcome.
The Warriors had hope with CHSG trailing just 9-6 after three weights. Drew Stemper was pinned and Krage was edged. Dylan Stemper won by fall. But Werner was tech falled by a veteran K-M wrestler who had returned to the lineup after injury.
Fitzgerald and King lost before Ellenz had a solid 5-0 decision. Swindell and Loken lost as did Mauss in a close 4-2 decision.
Stemper won by fall and McCormick fell to several takedowns in an 11-5 loss.
Frank gained a 3-2 decision.
Goergen lost for the first time since December, 2009. He had wrestled K-M’s Sam Stoll and beaten him three times last year. Stoll’s strength on his feet was the difference in Goergen’s 6-5 loss.
The dual meet season’s conclusion leaves the individual Section 1AA competition on Friday and Saturday at the Mayo Civic in Rochester.