In the moments after the K-M wrestling team’s loss to Simley on February 16, I stood around many of the stunned members of KoMet Nation.
The wrestling team had just lost their first dual during my four years as sports editor at the DCI and as it picked up its second place trophy and stood for a team photo in disappointment, there was one thought that would come across my mind.
“I wouldn’t want to be standing across from a KoMet singlet next weekend.”
Of course, “next weekend” was this past weekend when the KoMets took part in the Section 1AA Individual wrestling tournament.
As usual, K-M would be a dominant force throughout the weekend and when the smoke cleared, nine KoMets would earn a trip to this weekend’s Class AA Individual Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
“I feel we competed pretty hard out there,” K-M head coach Jamie Heidt said. “It’s the toughest section in the state and it’s a tough tournament to get through and this year it’s probably the toughest I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching. We had to fight as a qualifier just to get into the state tournament.”
Among the nine KoMets that qualified, K-M would take home four Section 1AA Championships. The most exciting championship match out of the bunch would come in the 145-pound finals between K-M’s #5AA Carlos Ruffo and #4AA Simley’s Antonio Everett.
Both competitors would wage a war for a full six minutes as Everett and Ruffo had an answer for everything that was thrown at them. Late in the match, Everett would score a takedown to take a 4-3 lead, but with 12 seconds left Ruffo would tie the match up after an escape from the bottom position. As the clock winded down, Ruffo would shoot and score a takedown giving him a 6-4 decision and the 145-pound title.
“It was kind of a mirror image of their match in the team dual,” Heidt observed. “Last time, Antonio got the late takedown and this time Carlos responded. That’s the adjustment made in a week and just getting better. These guys are good athletes and understand what it takes to win and you have to know there’s time left and get the job done to score.”
#2AA Garsen Schorr would also win his 220-pound bracket in similar fashion as he squared off with #7AA Phil Skeps of St. Thomas Academy in the championship. After getting a late escape to force an extra period, Schorr would score a takedown in sudden victory for the 6-4 decision and the section title.
“I’m really excited about where Garsen is at right now,” Heidt said. “Last couple years, I’ve always thought he was about two weeks away from peaking. This year, I think he’s spot on, wrestling really well and beat a tough opponent in a hard-fought match.”
The rest of the section titles were much less climatic as it featured dominant performances from the key cogs of the KoMets lineup. #2AA Bennett Berge would take home the 160-pound title with a 12-4 major decision over Simley’s Jacob Hageman (#3AA), (#1AA) Patrick Kennedy would complete his run through the 182-pound bracket with a pin of Simley’s #2AA Quayin Short.
The KoMets will have plenty of blue at the state tournament on Friday and Saturday as Logan Vaughan (113 pounds), Robby Horsman (120 pounds), Giovanni Ruffo (126 pounds) and Matthew Harfmann (132 pounds) would all find their way to the state tournament and Grant Parrish (195 pounds) would win a true second match with a pin
over St. Thomas Academy’s Garrison Soliday to punch his ticket to St. Paul.
“It’s that time of year where it counts the most,” Heidt said of the section performance. “To have your school represented at the state tournament this week is huge. Those guys are ready and they’re not satisfied with qualifiying either. They’re going to go out there and try to get on top of that podium and if they can’t, they’re going to get the next best thing. We’re really excited for it and I’m really proud of all the guys on the team.”
All nine KoMets will compete at the Xcel Energy Center this Friday and Saturday as part of the Class AA Individual Tournament. First round matches will begin right after the conclusion of Class AAA matches, which are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Friday morning. Quarterfinals will take place Friday afternoon with the semifinals and championship mat take place on Saturday.