Wrestling Drops Opener in Heartbreaker to Shakopee
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After a back-and-forth match that brought the crowd to its feet several times, Shakopee defeated Apple Valley 29-29 in a highly touted dual that garnered national attention. It was Apple Valley’s first conference dual loss since 1991.
The visiting Sabers quickly gained control of the early portion of the match. Apple Valley freshman Dylan Anderson (106 lbs.) and junior Peyton McLagan (120) both lost by close decisions, 4-2 and 9-5, respectively. Freshman Regan Schrempp (113) was an unanticipated start in the varsity match, but nonetheless delivered an important 4-0 victory over Shakopee’s Tyler Jones to give the Eagles a much-needed boost.
At 126 pounds, Eagles sophomore Brady Gross, one year removed from a season-ending knee injury, was forced to forfeit due to an ankle injury, giving the Sabers six points in a match that Apple Valley hoped to keep close, if not win.
Shakopee head coach Jim Jackson said, “I feel really bad for Brady Gross. That’s a nice family. Unfortunately, I think he sprained an ankle, but he’ll come back strong.”
The Eagles rebounded immediately after, however, with sophomore Sebas Swiggum, a rising star in the high school wrestling ranks, scoring a pin at 132 pounds. Next, Apple Valley senior captain Kyle Rathman (138) drew a tough opponent in Shakopee’s Brent Jones and was defeated by major decision. However, a technical violation on Jones took away a point, flipping the result to just a decision, evening the overall match score at 15-15 going into the middle weight classes.
Shakopee proceeded to rattle off three consecutive wins at 145, 152, and 160. Junior Nate Larson fell to Sam Webster by a 4-2 decision, sophomore Devin Roberts lost by major decision 15-4, and junior Tony Watts lost to the state’s #1 wrestler at 145 lbs, Alex Lloyd, 20-9, giving Shakopee another 4 points for the major decision.
The next two matches, 170 and 182, were arguably the biggest of the dual for the Eagles. Senior Jalen Thul won 12-4 over Connor Poshusta, vaulting the Eagles right back into striking distance. Then, senior Jonah Johnson stepped onto the mat.
Johnson has not seen much varsity action up to this season, due to the fact that 2016 graduate Mark Hall controlled the 170-182 range for the six years he wrestled varsity. But Johnson delivered Apple Valley’s biggest win of the night, pinning Jack Casey in a match that saw both wrestlers seemingly inches away from pinning the other, only to have the other escape at the last second. In the end, Johnson prevailed and his six points made the overall score 25-26, with the Eagles trailing by just one point heading into the heavyweights.
Sophomore Tyler Kim was defeated by Abe Ngaima by decision, giving Shakopee a 25-29 lead, forcing Apple Valley to need a win by technical fall or pin in the final match in order to win the dual. Senior Tanyi Besong desperately tried to make something happen, but Pat Ruhland of Shakopee played stingy defense for six minutes, sealing the team victory for the Sabers despite Besong’s 3-1 win.
Apple Valley state champion and world #1 Gable Steveson never saw the mat, as Jackson elected to forfeit the 285-pound match before the dual had started, even though Steveson was slated to wrestle last.
The dual’s allure was bolstered by the fact that former Apple Valley coach Jim Jackson now leads the Sabers, and now faces many of the same wrestlers he had coached earlier. Jackson noted that he was more familiar with the Apple Valley roster than every other opposing coach in the state saying, “Six of those kids I had in middle school, at Falcon Ridge.”
However, Jackson was a gracious winner, congratulating Apple Valley on a great dual several times, as well as adding that he was still proud of his time at Apple Valley.
“I feel proud that I had something to do with the tradition and the mystique of Apple Valley wrestling.”
The Eagles regained some of that mystique Saturday, when they took part in an invitational meet at Winona High School, taking second place overall behind Kasson-Mantorville.
Shakopee 29 Apple Valley 28
285 Gable Steveson (AV) forfeit
106 Max Crowe (SHS) dec. Dylan Anderson (AV) 4-2
113 Regan Schrempp (AV) dec. Tyler Jones (SHS) 4-0
120 Aaron Cashman (SHS) dec. Peyton McLagan (AV) 9-5
126 Carson Manville (SHS) inj default Brady Gross (AV)
132 Sebas Swiggum(AV) fall Sammy Treml (SHS) 1st period 1:48
138 Brent Jones (SHS) maj. dec. Kyle Rathman (AV) 10-2
SHAK lost 1 team point before 145
145 Sam Webster (SHS) dec Nate Larson (AV) 4-2
152 Alex Crow (SHS) maj dec. Devin Roberts (AV) 15-4
160 Alex Lloyd (SHS) maj dec. Tony Watts (AV) 20-9
170 Jalen Thul (AV) maj. dec.Carson Poshusta (SHS) 12-4
182 Jonah Johnson (AV) fall Jack Casey (SHS) 2nd period 0:53
195 Abe Ngaima (SHS) dec. Tyler Kim (AV) 8-4
220 Tanyi Besong (AV) dec. Pat Ruhland (SHS) 3-1