Photos by Rachel Brisbois
Eighth-grader Derrick Cardinal and junior Tanner Wiese scored podium finishes at the Class AAA state wrestling championships at the Xcel Energy Center over the weekend to lead a five-man Ranger effort.
Cardinal met Marshall Peters in the opening round at 106 pounds and easily dispatched him 11-2. He then faced Woodbury sophomore Cole West and lost a close match 5-3, dropping him into the consolation bracket. Cardinal kept himself alive into the second day by earning a 3-1 win over St. Michael-Albertville’s Nathan Nygaard in the first round of wrestlebacks.
As the second day of the tournament dawned, Cardinal won again, this time by a 7-2 count over Patrick Lockwood of Minneapolis Washburn. That victory confirmed Cardinal’s place on the podium.
He then won a place in the third-place match by besting Maple Grove’s Joey Thompson 7-3. Cardinal lost 7-2 against Max Crowe of Shakopee to settle into fourth place. Cardinal completes his 2016-17 run with a record of 43-8.
Stillwater’s Reid Ballantyne bested the 106-pound field that included Centennial’s Emily Shilson, the first girl ever to qualify for state in Class AAA.
Wiese competed at 152 pounds. He lost his opening bout 11-0 to Austin Brenner of St. Cloud Tech, but recovered well in the wrestlebacks, beating Neil Schmalz of Mound Westonka 5-2 and Kyle Erickson of Hastings 6-0 to carry on into day two.
Wiese lost to Riley Habisch of Buffalo 6-0 to drop into the fifth-place match, which he won 4-3 over Osseo’s Nicholas Carline. Wiese’s overall record this year was 39-11.
Alex Crowe of Shakopee was crowned the champion of the 152-pound class.
Three other Ranger wrestlers competed at state. At 113 pounds, junior Max Amann lost his opening match against Brandon Psyk of St. Michael-Albertville by pinfall. At 145, sophomore Mathias Waskey lost 9-5 to Tony Bemboom of Sauk Rapids-Rice. In his second career appearance at state, 170-pound sophomore Grant Parrish was pinned by Moorhead’s Riley Schock.
The system for the wrestlebacks at state is such that wrestlers who lose in the first round are only allowed into the consolation bracket if the wrestler who beat them goes on to win again in the quarterfinals. This setup came back to bite Amann, Waskey and Parrish: After their first-round opponents lost in the second round, the three Rangers were eliminated without having a chance to work their way back into the competition.
But such are the rules, and with two state medals brought home to Forest Lake, the Rangers can look forward to another strong season in 2017-18. All five state qualifiers will return, and only two starters, Hunter Nolan and Nate Original, will be lost to graduation.