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Eight is Sabers Magic Number

By Eric Creese, 02/24/19, 3:45PM CST


Last week Shakopee locked up their second consecutive state team tournament berth winning the Section 2AAA title over Apple Valley 40-24.

Yesterday eight Saber wrestlers earned their way to the individual state tournament by qualifying at the Section 2AAA Individual tournament held at Rosemount High School.

Collectively the Sabers had five individual champions and three runner ups. This is only the second time in Shakopee wrestling history that eight wrestlers have qualified individually with the other being in 2017.

Winning section titles for the Sabers was seventh grader Pierson Manville (106), junior Paxton Creese (113), junior Ben Lunn (120), senior Tyler Jones (126), and junior Jack Casey (182).

Second Place finishers where junior Connor Raines (160), and sophomore twins Joey Johnson (195) and Tommy Johnson (220).

Additionally, four Sabers found their way to the podium as well.

Eighth grader AJ Smith was 5th (132), senior Brandon Kidd 3rd (145), sophomore DJ Smith 3rd (152), and freshman Jade Trelstad 4th (285).


Pierson Manville’s journey started with a first period fall over Eastview’s Max Enderlein in the quarter finals. In the semi-finals, Manville would register his second fall, this time victimizing Peyton Hermann early in the 3rd period.

In the finals the showdown would be a rematch with Lakeville North’s freshman Jore Volk.

In the first dual of the season Manville bested Volk in a 10-2 major decision match up.

This time Volk would work to keep it closer, but Manville’s defense and attacks ultimately secured the seventh grader a hotly contested 4-2 decision win and section championship.


Paxton Creese came into this weekend looking to repeat as last year’s section champ. The junior continued his dominance with a quarter final fall over Apple Valley’s Marcell Booth.

Creese followed that match with a one-sided 17-1 Technical Fall in the second period over sophomore Teagan Block of Prior Lake.

In the finals Creese would be challenged by Lakeville North’s Zach Hanson for the top spot of the podium. Creese however would prove again to be too dominant for the upstart ending the championship match again by Technical Fall in the second period by a score of 17-2.


Junior Ben Lunn found himself once again competing in the section finals. Like his co-captain and partner Creese, Lunn was also looking to repeat as section champ.

Lunn got to work early defeating Burnsville’s Xavier Ripplinger by Technical Fall 16-0 in the quarters.

In the semi-finals Lunn would put down Theron Wendt of Lakeville South also again by Technical Fall 18-3.

The finals proved to be a solid match up with New Prague sophomore Nick Novak.

In the low scoring tight match, Lunn’s methodical patient style kept Novak at bay to get out to a 4-1 advantage through three periods. Novak came on late with a reversal to bring him within one-point, but it was too late in the match to capitalize any further with Lunn walking away with the decision win and his second section championship.


Senior Tyler Jones found the top of the podium in his last effort as a Saber to get to the state tournament.

The senior captain started his quarter finals with a first period fall over Kaleb Johnson of Lakeville South.

In the semi-finals Jones made quick work of junior Cory St Martin of Prior Lake, dispatching the Laker in a 15-0 Technical Fall in the first period.

The finals would prove a bit harder for the senior with a rematch against Apple Valley’s Martin Stewart. The two squared off the week before at the team section championship with a late decision win for Jones 5-4.

Again, in another tight wrestled match, Jones got out first this time on Stewart. Stewart battled back to tie the match at three a piece with a takedown in the third period but chose to let Jones up with an escape to take the score 4-3. That strategy did not prove well as Jones was able to successfully defend and hold on to the one-point decision win and first section championship title.


Connor Raines has been making a name for himself this season on the mat and continued that narrative starting his quarter finals with a 17-2 Technical Fall over Prior Lake’s Logan Edwards.

From there the tournament would get tighter for Raines.

In a strategic defensive battle, Raines narrowly escaped a potentially disastrous semi-final with a 3-2 decision win over Gavin Osterhaus of Burnsville.

That put the junior Saber in the finals against a familiar foe in Devon Roberts of Apple Valley. The pair of split close decision wins this season with Roberts getting the first win 3-2 and Raines coming out on top 5-2 last week.

Raines got on the board first with an escape in the second only to have Roberts tie it up with an escape for himself in the 3rd. Neither wrestler scored in the first overtime with Raines nearly scoring a takedown on Roberts who successfully scrambled out of the scrum.

Raines again would score another escape in the second overtime 30 second period but Roberts would have his opportunity to tie up the bout again with and escape in the third overtime bringing the match to the ultimate tie beaker period with Raines having the advantage choosing the bottom.

Raines needing only an escape to get the win appeared to have got away with Roberts losing control but was ruled out of bounds by the official. Roberts then was called for stalling with 9 seconds left. After the restart Roberts was able to hold the Saber from scoring handing Raines the loss and forcing Raines to wrestle a final true second match against Lakeville South senior Brandon Bischof.

The true second match pitted the two wrestlers again for a third time this season with Raines owning the series 2-0. Both wrestlers kept the match close with Raines holding a narrow lead of 3-2 late in the third period. Bischof mounted a late attack that Raines countered with a takedown to end the match 5-2 with the Saber earning his first ever trip to the state tournament.


Junior Jack Casey continued his solid year with a controlled sectional performance run that earned him his first section championship but also his second state tournament berth.

Casey started the tournament with a fall over Eastview’s Quinn Hoffman.

He followed his quarter final performance with a 5-1 decision over Jaden Dukes of Lakeville South.

In the finals Casey kept a steady pace of defense and offense to pick up his final win over senior Zach Young of Rosemount.


Joey Johnson looked to punch his ticket for a second year and head back to St Paul. Johnson who made it to the dance last year as 170-pound freshman was competing up two weight classes this year at 195.

The sophomore pinned Haydyn Rehder of Rosemount in the quarters and followed it up with a dominating performance of senior Brennan Rutt of New Prague 8-4i in the semi-finals.

This pitted Johnson up against the #1 ranked 195 pound in the state senior Calvin Sund of Prior Lake.

Sund got out early and often on Johnson but could not open it up on the sophomore who tenaciously battled and kept the match to a decision victory for Sund.


Tommy Johnson was looking to capitalize on his dominant season and join his brother with his own trip to the Xcel Energy center this year.

Johnson drew Prior Lake’s Brandon Butler in the first round and won by a fall in just over a minute into the first period.

Senior Jared Stewart of Lakeville South was next up for Johnson in the semi-finals. The Saber sophomore kept up a relentless pace that Stewart was unable to match propelling Johnson to a 4-1 decision win and a rematch with Rosemount Senior Ezayah Oropeza.

Oropeza, the #1 ranked 220 in the state proved to be too much for the younger Johnson who succumbed to a fall late in the first-period but it was enough for Johnson to claim second place and a trip to St Paul.


8 Sabers qualified for the state tournament

12 Sabers placed on the podium.

5 captains all qualified for the state tournament

4 of last year’s 6 entrants qualified again this year

2 Sabers repeated as section champs


It’s state tournament time and all the action are at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. The team tournament gets under way at 9:00 am Thursday February 28th.

Shakopee is the number one seed and will face Northfield in the first round.

Individual action starts Friday morning at 9:00 am with semi-finals and finals Saturday.