The Shakopee Wrestling team left the Clash on a sour note losing two of their final three dual match ups to out of state teams Vacaville, CA and Oak Park River Forest, IL.
They looked to this past Saturday to right their ship and get back on track with a few in-state and class foes at the Monticello Invitational.
In the first round Shakopee faced a depleted squad and host Monticello and cruised to a 73-6 rout. Monticello come into the contest offering five forfeits. Shakopee would earn bonus wins in seven of the remaining individual matches including a major decision win by senior Zach Coleman and Shakopee giving up a lone loss at 285 pounds by fall.
The second round pitted the Sabers against the Cardinals of Willmar. This would be a rematch of last year’s state team semi-finals.
Shakopee got out to a quick 21-0 lead with a fall from Pierson Manville(29-2) over Marco Sanchez, a forfeit at 113, a Major Decision from Paxton Creese(30-1) over Caden Carlson and a technical fall from Ben Lunn(22-3) over Jack Roehl.
Willmar responded with decision wins at 132,138 and 145 and a fall by Cael Carlson at 152 closing the deficit to six.
The Sabers got back on track with a major decision win from Brandon Kidd(26-6) and a decision win from Connor Raines(30-4) and a forfeit at 182.
The Cardinals pulled to within seven before Tommy Johnson(31-4) ended the dual with a 3-2 overtime victory for a final score of 37-27.
Like the previous match-up, this too was a replay of last year’s finals where the Knights of St. Michael/Albertville defeated Shakopee 30-25.
The Sabers pounced on STMA quickly through the first four bouts with bonus point wins from Pierson Manville(Tech Fall), Paxton Creese(Tech Fall), Ben Lunn(Tech Fall) and Tyler Jones(Fall) for a 21-0 lead.
STMA countered with wins at 132 and 145 to bring the score to 27-8,
Brandon Kidd and Conner Raines added six more points with a pair of decisions to widen the lead to 33-8.
Shakopee would surrender eighteen points to the Knights with a fall at 170 and two forfeits at 182 and 195 bringing the Knights within seven of the Sabers, 33-26.
The shuffling of the lineup by coach Jim Jackson proved to be the best strategy with the Sabers leaning on the Johnson twins at 220 and 285.
Both Joey and Tommy Johnson came through with falls each, pushing the final score to 45-26.
“I am proud of our team today.”, said Jackson. “I really thought we were going to be in trouble. We have starters out due to injury still and some of our younger backups are wrestling at the 9th grade team sectionals today, so I knew we would be thin, and we were going to have to lean on everyone to do their job. Both these teams wrestled us hard last year in the state tournament. We had a close win over Willmar and lost to STMA in the finals. It was good to see our team leaders picking up the team and leading the way, we will need that from them until the end of the season.”
Sophomore Tommy Johnson continues to have a great season picking up three more wins to a career best 31,
Juniors Paxton Creese and Ben Lunn and 7th grader Pierson Manville went undefeated with all three registering bonus wins for a total of 42 team points.
Other undefeated wrestlers were senior Brandon Kidd and junior Connor Raines.