Dominant win over Owatonna sends wrestling team to section finals

Northfield defeated Rochester John Marshall 61-9 then Owatonna 35-29 to advance to the section finals.
Northfield defeated Rochester John Marshall 61-9 then Owatonna 35-29 to advance to the section finals.

By Colin Staab and Keith Harner

It’s February, and that means one thing for Minnesota wrestlers: postseason. Northfield kicked off the team section tournament by hosting the first two rounds, the quarterfinals and semifinals, of the class 1AAA tournament. Owatonna, Rochester Century and Rochester John Marshall paid a visit to the Northfield gymnasium on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Northfield took on Rochester John Marshall for the first dual of the night. Caley Graber started things off strong with a fall in under a minute over Ali Alnajarani at 107 pounds. Dylan Sirek, Caden Staab and Charlie Johnson all received forfeits at 114, 121, and 127 pounds. Keith Harner came out fast with a fall in the first period over Jaxon Sebring at 133 pounds. Zane Engels received a forfeit at 139 pounds. Sam Harner also won by a fall in the first period just like his brother Keith Harner. Sam won over Owen Karsten at 145 pounds. Jamison Baker received a forfeit at 152 pounds. Colin Staab had a hard match resulting in a loss to Darius Jordan at 160 pounds. Owen Murphy bounced things back with a 12-1 major decision over Ethyn Bertschinger at 172 pounds. Ryan Kuyper won by fall in 19 seconds over Aresene Lukong at 189 pounds. Braxton Wood wrestled a tough match resulting in a fall to Wyette Stanton at 215 pounds. Noah Ackerman finished off the dual with a 3-2 decision over Evan Hernandez. Northfield won the dual 61-9 and advanced one step closer to the section finals.

Ryan Kuyper picked up a quick fall during the first dual of the night.
NorthfieldRochester John MarshallResultTeam score
107Caley GraberAli AlnajaraniN fall :436-0
114Dylan SirekOpenforfeit12-0
121Caden StaabOpenforfeit18-0
127Charlie JohnsonOpenforfeit24-0
133Keith HarnerJaxon SebringN fall 1:4530-0
139Zane EngelsOpenforfeit36-0
145Sam HarnerOwen KarstenN fall 1:2342-0
152Jamison BakerOpenforfeit48-0
160Colin StaabDarius JordanR 12-548-3
172Owen MurphyEthyn BertschingerN major 12-152-3
189Ryan KuyperAresene LukongN fall :1858-3
215Braxton WoodWyette StantonR fall 1:0258-9
285Noah AckermanEvan HernandezN 3-261-9

In the semifinal matchup, it was third seeded Owatonna squaring off against second seeded Northfield. Owatonna’s ninth ranked 107 pound wrestler in class AAA started the Huskies off on a high note with a fall in 1:48 against Dylan Sirek. Caley Graber bumped up to 114 pounds where she pinned Jacob Wilson in 3:47.

Caley Graber picked up a much needed fall for the Raiders.

Ninth ranked Caden Staab toed the line at 121 pounds for the Raiders in a potential individual section finals matchup against Donoven Sorenson. Caden was dominant, pinning Sorenson in 3:13. Charlie Johnson got the crowd fired up after his pin in 5:40 against Owatonna’s Justin Gronli.

Caden Staab scored a second period fall against Owatonna.

At 133 pounds, the Huskies ninth ranked wrestler at 127 pounds bumped up to take on Keith Harner. Keith got two takedowns and two escapes after getting tacked down by Karsten in the first period earning Keith the 6-4 decision. Zane Engels was dominant in his match against Colton Glende posting a 23-8 technical fall. Six matches into the dual Northfield led 26-5. However, the momentum slowed for the Raiders in the next two weight classes. Austin Benjamin lost by fall to Trey Hiatt. Riley Kreeger pinned Sam Harner at 152 pounds after Sam bumped up from 145 pounds.

Keith Harner’s two takedowns in his victory.

Colin Staab started the Raiders on a three match win streak with his 4-1 victory over Carter Flatland at 160 pounds. Owen Murphy wrestled a full six-minute match against RJ Reinardy at 172 pounds picking up the 7-4 decision. At 189 pounds, Ryan Kuyper beat Max Flemke 10-3 securing the victory for the Raiders by putting the team score at 35-17. Blake Fitcher pinned Braxton Wood at 215 pounds, and Grant Lower defeated Noah Ackerman with a third period fall at heavyweight. At the end of the night, the scoreboard read 35-29 in favor of the home team. The win advanced Northfield to the section final.

NorthfieldOwatonnaResultTeam score
107Dylan SirekKaden LindquistO fall 1:310-6
114Caley GraberJacob WilsonN fall 3:476-6
121Caden StaabDonoven SorensonN fall 3:1312-6
127Charlie JohnsonJustin GronliN fall 5:4018-6
133Keith HarnerLane KarstenN 6-421-6Owatonna lost a point 
139Zane EngelsColton GlendeN TF 23-826-5
145Austin BenjaminTrey HiattO fall :4726-11
152Sam HarnerRiley KreegerO 4:2726-17
160Colin StaabCarter FlatlandN 4-129-17
172Owen MurphyRJ ReinardyN 7-432-17
189Ryan KuyperMax FlemkeN 10-335-17
215Braxton WoodBlake FitcherO fall :5035-23
285Noah AckermanGrant LowerO fall 5:3635-29

The Raiders travel to the Rochester Mayo Civic Center on Saturday where they will take on top seeded Albert Lea at 2 p.m. Albert Lea defeated Northfield in their last matchup 33-24 which took place on January 25. A victory on Saturday would send Northfield to their fourth state tournament in the last six years.