Red Bulls’ wrestling trio gains Class AA state semifinals

A LEG UP — Fairmont/Martin County West wrestler Lucas Jagodzinske (left) utilizes a single-leg takedown to send Watertown Mayer/Mayer Lutheran opponent Austin Gabbert sprawling to the Xcel Energy Center mat during 113-pound Class AA state individual quarterfinal action Friday in St. Paul. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ST. PAUL — Three Fairmont/Martin County West Red Bulls kept the dream of being a state champion alive in the Class AA individual state wrestling meet at the Xcel Energy Center.

No. 5-ranked 113-pounder Lucas Jagodzinske, No. 2-ranked 120-pounder Jaxson Rohman and 152-pounder Miles Fitzgerald each won their two Day 1 matches to make it to today’s state semifinals.

Jagodzinske opened his bracket with a 13-5 major decision over Annandale/Maple Lake’s Jed Wester. Jagodzinske forced two reversals, an escape, a two-point near fall and a three-point near fall.

During the quarterfinals, Jagodzinske took a 10-4 decision over Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran’s No. 6-ranked Austin Gabbert. Jagodzinske forced four takedowns and escaped Gabbert twice.

Jagodzinske advances to the 113-pound semifinals against Totino-Grace’s No. 1-ranked Joey Thompson.

Rohman started his 120-pound tournament with a 22-7 technical fall over Michael Loger of Totino-Grace. Rohman employed his catch-and-release strategy to take Loger down nine times, while adding an escape and a three-point near fall.

Rohman employed the same strategy to take a 21-8 major decision over Delano’s Reier Sjomeling in the quarterfinals.

Rohman moves into the 120-pound semifinals today against Big Lake’s No. 7-ranked Rocco Visci.

Fitzgerald used four takedowns to build to an 8-2 decision over Mankato West’s Wyatt Block in the first round of 152-pound action.

Fitzgerald then followed with a 6-3 decision over Mora’s Jon Smith in the quarterfinals.

Fitzgerald will face Perham’s No. 2-ranked Dylan Fudge in today’s semifinals.

Fairmont/MCW head coach Adam Williamson said the team is excited for the three wrestlers in the semifinals and two alive in wrestlebacks, but they will need to fight hard to stay in the competition.

“All the kids went out and wrestled hard today,” Williamson said. “I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts. We’re extremely excited for Lucas, Jaxson and Miles being in the semis. Every round gets tougher and they’ll have to bring it. Payton (Anderson) and Nate (Simmonds) are still alive in the wrestlebacks and will have to fight like crazy for everything to make the medal stand. It’s been a wild ride and we’re hopeful we can bring home a bunch of hardware.”

No. 7-ranked 145-pounder Payton Anderson, No. 9-ranked 160-pounder Nathan Simmonds and No. 8-ranked 170-pounder Mario Maldonado each won their prelims before losing in the quarterfinal and being sent to wrestleback action.

Anderson opened state with a 7-5 decision over Foley’s No. 9-ranked Mark Dierkes. Anderson started in the down position to begin the third period trailing 4-3, but forced a reversal to go up 5-4. Dierkes escaped to tie, but Anderson took him down in the final minute to win.

Kasson-Mantorville’s No. 4-ranked Carlos Ruffo won a 5-3 decision over Anderson to send him to the wrestlebacks, where he stuck North Branch’s Austin Sonnek’s shoulders to the mat in 2:39 to stay alive and have a chance for a medal today.

Anderson faces Thief River Falls’ Jake Davis in today’s wrestlebacks.

Nathan Simmonds won his 160-pound prelim against Annandale/Maple Lake’s Jack Klug when he pressed Klug’s shoulders to the mat in 5:29.

Simmonds faced Simley/Inver Grove Heights’ No. 3-ranked Jacob Hageman in the quarterfinals. Hageman put Simmonds on the mat in 3:34 and sent him to the wrestlebacks. Simmonds fell behind as far as 9-2 in the final period before forcing four takedowns, a two-point near fall and taking a stalling point to earn a 13-12 last-second decision over Park Rapids Area’s No. 7-ranked Cody Dravis.

Simmonds was down 12-9 with 8 seconds left before taking down Dravis and forcing a near fall as time expired to take the match.

Simmonds will meet No. 6-ranked Jace Demmers from Scott West in today’s wrestlebacks.

Maldonado began his state meet with a 6-0 decision over 170-pound opponent George Wolfe of Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

Maldonado then lost to Big Lake’s No. 4-ranked Charlie Gellerman in the quarterfinals, 7-0, to send Maldonado to the wrestlebacks. Maldonado lost an 8-0 major decision to South St. Paul’s No. 2-ranked Gavin Christofferson in his wrestleback match Friday.

No. 7-ranked 126-pounder Connor Simmonds and No. 9-ranked 132-pounder Cale Steuber each had their days ended after the first round.

Perham’s Gabe Bellefeuille took an 11-9 decision after a late reversal in the second period tied the match at 9. Bellefeuille then took down Simmonds in the final period.

Bellefeuille fell to Becker’s No. 10-ranked Jake Nelson, 6-2, to eliminate Simmonds from the bracket.

Mora’s No. 8-ranked Ryan Nosbush took a 9-2 decision over Steuber in the opening round, then fell to Mankato West’s Charlie Pickell in the quarterfinals to eliminate Steuber.

In Class A state individual action Friday, two Blue Earth Area Bucs survived losing their first-round matches to go to the wrestlebacks, while two were eliminated after the prelims.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrose’s Class A No. 4-ranked 138-pounder Tyler Bents took a 7-6 decision in the first round against Blue Earth Area’s Jaxen Klinkner, sending him to wrestleback action.

Klinkner started the second period of his wrestleback match in the down position and turned a reversal into a pin in 1:43 to beat Blayne Dumpprope of Staples-Motley and keep Klinkner’s chance at a state medal alive.

Klinkner moves on to the wrestleback quarterfinals where he will face No. 2-ranked 138-pounder Shawn Rue of Paynesville Area.

Blue Earth Area head coach Randy Wirtjes said all four of his guys wrestled hard and are getting great experience from being in the competition.

“Dominic (Whitlow) was disappointed, but had a great year,” Wirtjes said. “Same with Koby (Nagel). Davis (Sunken’s) matches were both close and he was there until the end, and Jaxen pushed Bents all the way and finished with a nice win in his second match. This is great experience for these guys.”

New York Mills’ Dane Niemi took a 4-0 decision in the opening 120-pound match against Davis Sunken, sending Sunken to wrestleback action.

Jackson County Central’s No. 9-ranked Payton Handevidt took an 8-4 decision to knock Sunken out of the state competition.

Koby Nagel’s and Dominic Whitlow’s days both ended after the first round.

Nagel faced BOLD’s Anthony Maher in the opening round of the 152-pound bracket.

Maher used four takedowns and an escape to build a 9-5 decision.

Maher was pinned by Roseau’s Chandler Mooney in 40 seconds during quarterfinal action to eliminate Nagel from the bracket.

Lewiston-Altura/Rushford-Peterson’s Noah Herber took a 9-0 major decision over Whitlow in the first round of the 195-pound competition.

West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville’s No. 5-ranked 195-pounder Wyatt Olson then pinned Herber during the quarterfinals to eliminate Whitlow.

Today’s Class A and AA semifinals begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.