Wrestling, Individual Championships
Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2023 - 9:54 PM
Stillwater senior Ryder Rogotzke began the season as the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds. But following a dual with Waconia in mid-January, he made a stunning decision to challenge himself with what many might consider a Herculean feat. He opted up one weight class to take a shot at facing Waconia standout senior Max McEnelly for the Minnesota State High School League’s Class AAA 195-pound championship.
Suddenly, the national rankings changed. Rogotzke, who lost to McEnelly in that dual, became the No. 2-ranked 195-pounder behind McEnelly, a three-time Minnesota champion and a University of Minnesota recruit.
The titans collided on Saturday night during the individual championships of the Wrestling State Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. In a match that met the pre-tournament expectations, McEnelly recorded a two-point takedown with 20 seconds remaining to win the Class AAA crown with a 3-2 decision and capture the fourth title in his prep career. Not only did McEnelly successfully defend his title at 195, he became the 24th wrestler in League history to win four championship.
“I stayed calm during the entire process of this tournament,” McEnelly shared with the League. “When I am calm, things go well. I have received just great support along the way. I am really thankful of that.”
Rogotzke, who set a state record for pins this season with 46, will wrestle next season at Ohio State University. When asked if he anticipated facing Rogotzke during the Big Ten season, McEnelly smiled broadly.
“If we do, let’s wrestle it out,” he said.
In other championship matches:
- Princeton senior Tyler Wells finished his prep career in stellar fashion with his fourth individual state championship with a 19-7 victory over Marshall’s Louwagie in the 132-pound Class AA title. He joins an elite group of just 23 wrestlers in League history to win four championships. He ended his prep career with 164 victories since his freshman season.
- The Beissel Brothers of Hastings each claimed a title for the household trophy case. Trey, a freshman, won the Class AAA title at 106 pounds with a 6-4 decision over Mounds View’s Brett Swenson. Moments later, Blake, a junior, won his second consecutive Class AAA championship with a 5-1 decision over Cambridge-Isanti’s Leo Edblad. Both finished the season 55-1.
- In one of the most intense matches in the early-going of the championship round, Eden Prairie sophomore Zytavius Williams outlasted St. Michael-Albertville senior Mason Mills for a 4-3 victory in double overtime in the Class AAA 120-pound match. Williams used an escape to record the victory and deny Mills an opportunity for another title. He was the 113-pound champion in 2022.
- Prior Lake senior Alan Koehler won his third big-school championship with a 2-1 decision in double overtime over Wayzata’s Logan Swenson in the Class AAA 126-pound title match.
- St. Michael-Albertville sophomore Landon Robideau won a title for the second time with a 23-8 technical fall victory over Waconia’s Landon Vick.
- Woodbury junior Alex Braun finished the season 48-0 with a 6-1 decision over St. Michael-Albertville’s Parker Janssen in the Class AAA 138-pound title match. He placed sixth at 126 in 2022.
- New Prague senior Koy Buesgens won another championship, this time with a technical fall victory over Kasson-Mantorville’s Joseph Kennedy in the Class AA 145-pound match. In 2022, he was the Class AA champion at 138. He will wrestle at North Carolina State next season.
- Lakeville North senior Zach Hanson, the Class AAA champion at 145 pounds in 2022, added another title in completing his prep career. He recorded a 13-3 victory over Owatonna’s Cael Robb in the Class AAA 152-pound title match. Hanson will wrestle at Stanford University next season.
- Anoka senior Elijah Paulson had a 10-3 victory over Eden Prairie’s Terae Dunn in the Class AAA 145-pound championship match. Paulson, the son of former U.S. Olympian Brandon Paulson, will play football next season at the University of St. Thomas. He is an all-state wide receiver.
- At 160 pounds in Class A, Dover-Eyota senior Gavin Gust recorded a 6-3 decision over Holdingford’s Drew Lange. It was the second title in as many seasons. In 2022, he was the Class A champion at 152.
- Benson senior Thomas Dineen became a three-time individual champion when he pinned Jacob Schimek of St. Clair-Mankato Loyola in the Class A 195-pound match.
- New Prague senior Joey Novak, the only wrestler to defeat McEnelly this season, captured the Class AA title at 195 pounds with a pin of Hutchinson’s Hayden VanderVoort.
- Simley senior Gavin Nelson capped a stellar season with an 8-4 decision over Totino-Grace’s Cy Kruse. It is his third individual title and it joins the Class AAAAA football crown he helped the Spartans capture last fall.
- St. Thomas Academy senior Vincent Mueller became just the second state champion in program history with a pin of Eden Prairie’s Will Sather in the Class AAA heavyweight championship. Mueller was fifth at 220 pounds in 2022 while Sather was the defending heavyweight champion.
- In one of the most anticipated matchups of champions from the inaugural season of girls wrestling, Hastings junior Skylar Little Soldier cruised to an 8-0 victory over Eastview junior Riley Myers in the 145-pound title match. In 2022, Little Soldier finished undefeated in winning the 132-pound title. Myers was the champion at the next weight, 138 pounds. In this matchup, Little Soldier recorded a quick two-point takedown 18 seconds into the match and controlled the tempo the rest of the way. Little Soldier is 24-0 over the past two seasons.
- Simley eighth-grader Charli Raymond, who made history in 2022 by becoming the first girls wrestling state champion, pinned her way to a second consecutive title. She capped a 17-0 season with a pin of Fridley junior Olivia Sackor in the 107-pound championship match. Raymond pinned all three of her opponents in the individual tournament.
- Forest Lake junior Aspen Blasko recorded a two-point takedown in the third period to record a 4-2 victory over Luverne’s Bernie Rock. Blasko was the 107-pound champion in 2022.
- New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva junior Annabelle Petsinger stopped Stillwater freshman Audrey Rogotzke from winning a second consecutive championship with a 10-4 decision in the 120-pound division title match. Rogotzke was the defending champion in the division and Petsinger was third in 2022.
- Eden Prairie freshman Cassandra Gonzales also pinned her way to a championship, completing the spree with a pin over Chatfield’s Chloe Berg in the 126-pound title match.
- With three pins on Saturday, Shakopee senior Joel Makem finished the season undefeated with a second state crown. She capped her final year of prep eligibility with a pin of McKenna Hendrickson of GMLOS in the 132-pound championship match. In 2022, she won the 126-pound division.
- Sarah Pulk, an eighth-grader from Badger-Greenbush/Middle River, captured the 152-pound division title with a 7-3 victory over Apple Valley’s Grace Alagbo, who was the champion at 145 in 2022.
- Northfield sophomore Ella Pagel was a repeat champion at 16 pounds with a pin of Bemidji’s Elizabeth Oster in the title.
- Attendance for the three-day tournament was 53,299.