Twice as nice! Moen wins second-straight state title in dominating fashion
St. Paul - After a display of sheer domination in his first three matches, senior 182-pounder Brandon Moen was one match away from collecting his second-straight state title.
Only a rematch with Hastings’ Trey Rogers stood in the way. In their last meeting, Moen was able to control the match to a 5-3 decision.
This time, it was all Moen.
Locking up a cradle just 40 seconds into the match, Moen would collect the fall just seconds later for his second-straight state title Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center, giving Owatonna its lone state champion.
Moen, who hasn’t surrendered a takedown since the start of the New Year, was simply a man on a mission. He needed just ten seconds to record his first takedown in which he immediately locked up the cradle.
“I just tried something different this sections and this state tournament,” the newly-crowned two-time state champion said. “I’ve usually been conservative and I just tried to go all out, go 500 percent. My coaches told me that no one could stop me. I just went out there and attacked, attacked attacked.”
While Rogers was able to slip out of his grasp the first time, Moen’s second cradle did the trick, burying the state’s No.2 ranked wrestler at 182 pounds. Moen will finish his high school career with two titles at two different weight classes. He won his first state title at 195 pounds in 2016.
Although the finals ended sweet for Owatonna, the first two bouts ended in heartbreak.
Junior Peyton Robb – who was undefeated on the season – also had a rematch in the finals. His opponent, Alex Lloyd of Shakopee, lost to Robb 4-3 back in December. Both are defending state champions – Robb winning at 120 and Lloyd at 145 pounds last year –, nationally-ranked and are slated to be roommates together at South Dakota State.
Lloyd struck first with a deep double-leg that appeared to catch Robb off guard to take an early 2-0 lead. Robb would strike back with a double-leg of his own, lifting Lloyd off the mat to take a 3-2 lead after the first period.
Robb would lead 4-3 midway through the third period after Lloyd was able to escape with seconds remaining in the second period. With time winding down, Lloyd managed to hit a nifty leg sweep that sent Robb to his back to record the dagger and a 5-4 win to defend his title.
“Those two guys are good friends; they know each other quite well and you wouldn’t expect anything less than a dramatic finish like that,” commented head coach Scott Seykora. “Disappointing for Peyton, I know he’s hurting about it, but it’s one of those things where he’s a junior yet, he can come back and get it next year.”
Cade King would also fall in the later stages of the match. After trailing top-seeded Alex Crowe of Shakopee 2-0, the stellar sophomore managed to cut the lead to 3-2, locking up a takedown after Crowe managed to escape. Choosing neutral to start the third period, King quickly spun around a poor Crowe shot to take a 4-3 lead. The lead was short lived as Crowe managed to hit a takedown with just under 20 seconds in the match.
“Kinger left it all on the mat. He went after it, he didn’t shy away from it and he battle for all of those six minutes,” commented Seykora.
In the opening round Saturday morning, Owatonna senior Griffin Thorn lost to Apple Valley Tanyi Besong in overtime of the consolation quarterfinals.
Prior to Besong match-deciding takedown 30 seconds into the sudden victory period, Thorn held a 1-0 for most of the match.