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Red Bulls ranked No. 7 in AA wrestling poll

STAMPEDING INTO SEASON — Members of the Martin County Red Bulls wrestling team opening the season by competing in the Maher Invitational starting at 10 a.m. today in Blue Earth include, front row (l-r): Manager Kaytlin Faber, Berent Kosbab, Evan Welcome, Rylan Cutler, Pierce Rohman, Brock Stauffer, Brock Jagodzinske and manager Carson Scheff. 2nd row: Torrey Paplow, Ethan Siebring, Seth Siebring, Josiah Brakenhoff, Tristan Tungland, Maddex Faber, Kate Kolbe and manager Isabella Fitzgerald. 3rd row: Caleb Chambers, Ivan Martin, Cole Wiemers, Tyler Heckman, Taylor Austin, Kole Hanson, Hank Olson, Austin Boucher and manager Avery Geiger. Back row: Andres Rodas, DJ Miller, Max Olson, Wyatt Williamson, Colby Schwichtenberg, Ty Kolbe, Carver Rohman, Cooper Steuber and Dakota Madias. Not pictured: Aden Welcome, Gage Cyphers and Riley Allen. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — The Martin County Red Bulls are not rebuilding this season, but building upon an already established championship-caliber wrestling base.

Head coach Adam Williamson’s defending Section 3AA champion program — a co-operative agreement between Fairmont, Martin County West and Martin Luther high schools — enters the 2022-23 season as the No. 7-ranked lineup in the Guillotine’s official preseason state poll.

While the Red Bulls graduated a pair of all-state grapplers from last season’s sixth-place Class AA state team, this winter’s roster returns three individual state qualifiers and a pair of sectional bronze medalists to trigger yet another potential trip to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“It always nice to bring back key guys who have been on multiple placing teams at the state level,” said Adam Williamson, who has guided the Red Bulls to four state appearances during the past five years. “Our experienced wrestlers know first-hand what it takes from a work ethic standpoint to qualify for state, and that leadership keeps us on a winning track.”

Senior Max Olson, who earned a fifth-place state medal at 220 pounds last season, generated the fourth-best all-time seasonal win total en route to a 47-5 record in 2021-22.

Olson, one of Martin County’s co-captains along with Carver Rohman, Wyatt Williamson and Cooper Steuber, holds the No. 2 spot in the Class AA preseason rankings at heavyweight — a position he has grappled at on numerous occasions throughout his esteemed prep mat career.

“Just like in the past, Max will move back-and-forth between 220 and heavyweight, with Colby Schwichtenberg doing likewise this season,” said Adam Williamson. “We have a lot of flexibility with our guys in the fact that they can be successful at a couple different weights.”

Rylan Cutler and Rohman, a pair of individual state qualifiers a year ago, also can shift up or down in the lineup and still be effective.

Rohman, who compiled a 44-8 record at 160 pounds in 2021-22, has the versatility to move to 170 without hesitation.

Rohman, who enters the season ranked No. 5 at 160, will vie with Red Bulls newcomer Ty Kolbe at 160 and Gage Cyphers at 170. Cyphers just missed a state bid a year ago by placing third at 170 at the Section 3 Meet.

“We’ll have depth in the middle of our lineup again,” said Adam Williamson.

Steuber will contend for matches with Aden Welcome — who placed third at last year’s sectional meet at 152 — at 145 to open this campaign, while Welcome will battle with Taylor Austin at 152.

Steuber also will figure into the mix with Kole Hanson at 138, while Berent Kosbab will fill the spot at 132 with solid returning experience.

Cutler, who went 37-7 at 120 pounds en route to a state bid, will handle mat duties at 126 and can stair-step down to help out Maddex Faber in the 120-pound position.

Cutler enters the season at the No. 6 spot in Class AA at 120.

Faber and Torrey Paplow return solid skills to the 113-pound spot, while Paplow also adds depth to the leadoff spot at 106 with Pierce Rohman.

Wyatt Williamson and Riley Allen will utilize their strength and quickness at the 195-pound position, with both able to move to 182 to figure into the mix with Josiah Brakenhoff.

“We’ve got a good blend of older established guys and up-and-coming young guys this year,” said Adam Williamson. “Our numbers have increased, and that definitely gives us depth in the practice room.

“It’s also nice to see enough guys at all the weights to push one another to earn the varsity spots meet in and meet out.”

Adam Williamson anticipates Marshall and his Red Bulls in the mix again for the south portion of Section 3AA this winter, with No. 6-ranked Hutchinson and Morris Area/Hancock Area/ Chokio-Alberta in the battle for the north sub-section crown.

The Red Bulls open the season by competing in the Maher Invitational at 10 a.m. today in Blue Earth.

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