Wrestling team advances six more to individual state tournament 

Six wrestlers advanced to the individual state wrestling tournament which takes place March 1-2.
Six wrestlers advanced to the individual state wrestling tournament which takes place March 1-2.

By Colin Staab and Keith Harner

The Raiders took a second trip to the Rochester Mayo Civic Center on Saturday for the individual section tournament. You must place in the top two of your weight class to advance to the Xcel Energy Center for the state tournament. Northfield will bring seven individuals, six in the boys tournament and one in the girls tournament.

Caley Graber was the first to punch her ticket making history in the process. Caley is the first female wrestler to win a section tournament in the boys tournament. Last year, Graber won the girls division, but this year she wanted more. The 107-pounder picked up three victories en route to the title. The first was a fall in 3:20 over Alvin Vang of Rochester John Marshall; next, an 8-4 decision over Faribault Lain Kuhlman; and in the finals, a 4-2 victory against Class AAA 10th ranked wrestler, Kaden Lindquist of Owatonna. Caley will head to the state tournament with a 38-4 record.

Caley Graber with coaches Geoff Staab and Jules Doliscar after making history.

Caden Staab was the next to earn a trip, doing so at 121 pounds. As the second seed in his bracket, he got back-to-back byes, setting him up with a semifinal matchup against Owatonna’s Donoven Sorenson. Caden earned the fall in just 3:43. It was the one versus two seed in the finals with Caden attempting to avenge his loss last week in the section team finals to Albert Lea’s Ryan Collins. This time Staab came out on top winning 5-2 and advancing to the state tournament.

Caden Staab gets his hand raised after his hard fought 5-2 victory in the section finals.

At 133 pounds, Keith Harner picked up a fall in 2:00 against Rochester John Marshall’s Jaxon Sebring; followed by a pin in 5:18 against Isaak Douangdy of Rochester Century. In Keith’s finals matchup, he wrestled the second-ranked wrestler in the state, Michael Olson, where he was tech falled in 3:19. Nonetheless, Keith earned second place and will also wrestle at the state tournament.

Owen Murphy got second place as well. The 172-pounder earned a fall in 1:02 against Winona wrestler Julien Vinson-Audetat. In the semifinals, Owen got the pin in 5:15 against Triton Cox of Albert Lea. In his finals matchup, he fell 3-0 to Rochester Mayo’s Lucas Peterson.

Ryan Kuyper won the section 1AAA championship in dominant fashion picking up his 50th pin along the way. Ryan earned two pins in the quarter and semifinals in 25 and 49 seconds. In the finals, Ryan faced Faribault’s Elliot Viland. Ryan picked up his third fall of the day in just 1:14. Ryan is off to the state tournament with a record of 29-6.

Ryan Kuyper celebrates his 189 pound section title.

The final state qualifier was Noah Ackerman at heavyweight. Ackerman started things off with a fall over Dylan White from Rochester Century. Ackerman’s next match was going against William Velasquez from Albert Lea whom he had never beaten, but this time Ackerman won 4-0. His final match was the hardest. Ackerman took on Grant Lower from Owatonna which resulted in a loss. Ackerman finished a great tournament by making it to the Xcel Center only as a second year wrestler.

The Raiders had a strong showing at the individual Section 1AAA tournament with all wrestlers ending the tournament on the podium. Lainey Houts who qualified for the girls state tournament on February 10 joins the state entrants. Northfield’s seven state qualifiers will wrestle at the Xcel Center on March 1-2.

  • 107# Caley Graber – 1st place
  • 114# open
  • 121# Caden Staab – 1st
  • 127# Charlie Johnson – 6th
  • 133# Keith Harner – 2nd
  • 139# Zane Engels – 3rd
  • 145# Austin Benjamin – 5th
  • 152# Sam Harner – 6th
  • 160# Colin Staab – 3rd
  • 172# Owen Murphy – 2nd
  • 189# Ryan Kuyper – 1st
  • 215# Braxton Wood – 6th
  • 285# Noah Ackerman – 2nd