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No. 3 Red Bulls eye return to state wrestling meet

TYING UP — Members of the Class AA No. 3-ranked Martin County Red Bulls wrestling team opening the season at the Maher Invitational in Blue Earth starting at 10 a.m. Saturday include, front row (l-r): Manager Misty Geerdes, Berent Kosbab, Pierce Rohman, Maddex Faber, Joseph Forsberg, Rylan Cutler, Torrey Paplow, Brock Stauffer and manager Kaytlin Faber. Second row: Manager Lilly Krogman-Gibson, manager Paige Anderson, Kam Domeier, Kain Sanders, Cooper Steuber, Gage Cyphers, Taylor Austin, Jesse Potts, Kole Hanson, Hank Olson, manager Avery Geiger and assistant coach Derek Sanders. Third row: Assistant coach Brandon Greiner, Brice Enter, head coach Adam Williamson, Alec Thompson, assistant coach Mike Steuber, Riley Allen, D.J. Miller, Max Olson, Wyatt Williamson, Aden Welcome, Carver Rohman, Tristan Peterson, Colby Schwichtenberg, assistant coach Dusty Faber and assistant coach Adam Schorn. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — The Martin County Red Bulls trampled their way to second-place showings during the team portion of the Class AA state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in both 2018 and 2020.

The Red Bulls, a sharing program between Martin County West and Fairmont High Schools, continued their stampede to state by earning an appearance in the pandemic-modified Class AA team semifinals at St. Michael-Albertville High School last March.

While Martin County lost four legends of the fall in current Augustana University grapplers Jaxson Rohman and Connor Simmonds, and Augsburg University twin brothers Blake and Lucas Jagodzinske to graduation last spring, Red Bulls head coach Adam Williamson still has a fourth state bid in five seasons in his sights for 2021-22.

“There’s no doubt about the fact that we lost four of our program’s best ever, but that also means we still bring back 10 quality wrestlers, with more waiting in the wings to earn a spot in our lineup,” said Williamson, whose team compiled an impressive 28-2 dual-meet record last season.

In fact, nine of the current Red Bulls returning to the tie-up circle generated at least 16 victories in 2020-21, with six of those posting 20-plus win totals.

Senior co-captain Kain Sanders, who earned the No. 7 spot in the Class AA preseason state rankings at 145 pounds, and senior co-captain Jesse Potts spearhead the No. 3-ranked Red Bulls’ stampede this winter after each captured fourth-place medals during the covid-modified super individual sectionals last March. Sanders compiled a 32-5 record, while Potts produced a 29-4 mark during their junior campaigns.

Junior co-captains Max Olson and Aden Welcome amassed respective records of 25-6 and 28-2 last season, while junior Carver Rohman and sophomore Rylan Cutler delivered mat marks of 26-9 and 20-9, respectively.

Junior Cooper Steuber collected 17 wins, while juniors Wyatt Williamson and Gage Cyphers chipped in 16 victories apiece to add potent point-producing power returning to the Red Bulls’ roster this winter.

“We’ve got a couple of guys dinged up from football season, so it’ll take some time to see where everybody fits into the lineup,” said Adam Williamson.

Williamson anticipates eighth-grader Torrey Paplow, freshman Berent Kosbab and seventh-grader Maddex Faber battling for time at 106 and 113 pounds, while Cutler will likely open the season at 120 during Saturday’s 10 a.m. Maher Invitational in Blue Earth.

Sophomore Kole Hanson will likely get the nod at 126, with Steuber and Potts opening at 132 and 138, respectively, Sanders and junior Joseph Forsberg tipping the scales at 145, and Welcome weighing in around 152.

“Those three (Sanders, Forsberg and Welcome) will cover 145 and 152, while Carver (Rohman) will likely open the Maher tournament at 160,” said Williamson. “I don’t know how it will shake out at 145 to 160 eventually, but we’ll be in good shape at the middle weights.

“Carver will wrestle 160 in tournaments for us, and then move to 170 in duals, while Gage (Cyphers) will be in the 170-182 range.”

Wyatt Williamson and sophomore Riley Allen will figure into the mix at 182 and 195, respectively, with junior Kam Domeier filling in that weight range, according to Adam Williamson.

Olson and senior Alec Thompson will close out the final two weight brackets, with junior Tristan Peterson also figuring into the upper-weights rotation.

“We’ve got some flexibility with our big guys, so we’re able to flip them around to get the matchup we want at times,” said Adam Williamson.

Once again, the Red Bulls will be road warriors as the perennial grappling powerhouse will hit the canvas in either Fairmont or Sherburn just three times — all in January.

Martin County hosts a triangular against Worthington and Fulda/Murray County Central at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, in Sherburn; squares off in a 6 p.m. dual meet against St. Peter on Thursday, Jan. 20, at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont; and plays host to Hutchinson, MAHACA and Windom Area in a quadrangular on Saturday, Jan. 29, in Fairmont.

“The first half of our season will consist more of tournaments,” Williamson said in reference to his team competing in the Maher Invite on Saturday, the Jackson County Central tournament on Dec. 11, the Redwood Valley invite in Redwood Falls on Dec. 18, and the Tri-City United tournament on Jan. 8 in Montgomery. “It’s nice to get back to wrestling in tournaments this season and getting guys more matches.

“During last year’s modified schedule, our younger kids really missed out on a lot of mat time.”

Williamson said being able to add morning workouts to his Red Bulls’ practice regimen this season also should help his wrestlers with their “total body training.”

“In the end, we just need to get healthy and stay healthy, and be at our best by the time the postseason rolls around and I think we can make another good run at state,” said Williamson.

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