Scott West opened up the 2020 Section 2AA Team Tournament at Jordan High School on Thursday night, Feb. 13, in convincing fashion. The Panthers looked the part of a 14-2 and no. 1 team seed, when they rolled to a 63-17 win over Mankato East in a meet that was highlighted by Team Panther heavyweight Hunter Struffert and his show-stopping, meet-ending pin of the Cougars’ no. 6 rated Rieley Fleming.
However, things became much more difficult, as they always do, on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Mankato West High School when the Scott West Train was derailed by St. Peter 33-37 in Section 2AA Final Four semi-final wrestling action.
“We obviously did not wrestle very well overall as a team,” insisted Coach Ripley, “but you have to give Coach Keith Hanson and the St. Peter wrestlers a lot of credit for making that happen as they wrestled with a lot of energy, intensity and enthusiasm that we just simply did not match on and off the mat.”
Things on the mat started off okay for Scott West as the Panthers opened up the meet with two wins when they took an 8-0 team lead behind Matt Randolph’s 7-0 win over Nakiye Mercado at 106 and Zach Tracy’s 15-0 technical fall over Taylen Travaille at 113.
Following those two Scott West wins, the meet abruptly changed in favor of the Saints as they put together a seven-match winning streak that started with a first period pin by Amir Loredo Hollon over Adam Kelvington at 120 and ended with Cole Filand’s second-period pin of Collin Fahey at 160.
After being outwrestled for seven straight weight classes and trailing 30-8 in the team score, the Panthers’ Jace Demmers wrestled his match and scored a 16-0 technical fall over Kole Guth at 170.
The Demmers win brought the Panthers to 30-13 in the team score as the meet moved to 182 and that is where St. Peter’s #5 rated Eli Hunt put the meet away for the Saints, by scoring a late third period double take down to seal a hard fought 5-2 win over Scott West wrestler Trent Rasmussen.
The Eli Hunt win at 182 gave St. Peter an insurmountable 20 point lead at 33-13. The meet went into the final three weight classes where Carson Schoenbauer received an injury default over Connor Travaille at 195 before Hunter Struffert continued his winning ways with a 17-0 technical fall over Nathan Pettis at 220.
The 33-27 St. Peter meet win was brought to a close by Scott West heavyweight Gavin Fahey, who scored a first period take down and a third period reversal to win 4-0 over the Saints’ Jason Beckman.
The solid Section 2AA semi-final win by St. Peter propelled the Saints into the Section 2AA Championship meet against the Hutchinson Tigers, who had won 33-25 over Tri-City United in their semi-final match at Mankato West High School.
The 2020 Section 2AA Team Championship was won by Hutchinson as they bettered St. Peter 35-30 to win their first ever Section 2AA Team Title. According to Hutchinson Hall of Fame mat official Ed Homan, it will be the Tigers’ first state team appearance since 2003 and in that one they placed 4th in Minnesota’s Class AAA.
“I think that Hutch came into Section 2AA in 2008 and we have certainly had their number over the years going 6-0 against them in Section meets including three Championship Finals wins in 2014, 2016 and 2017,” cited Coach Ripley. “Unfortunately today, we did not do enough good wrestling to advance into the championship round to meet up with them again.”
The Section 2AA Wrestling World will now converge on Hutchinson as the Tigers will host the upcoming Section 2AA Individual Tournament on Friday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. The top two place winners at each weight class will advance to the State Tournament at the St. Paul XCEL Energy Center on Feb. 27 - 29.
The Scott West Two Towns...One Team...30 Years and The Train Moves Forward team’s year ends with a 15-3 dual meet record.
Scott West Wrestling Team Results
Nov. 27: Quad @ Anoka (canceled due to weather)
Dec. 5: Wayzata 25, SW 43
Dec. 7: Tournament @ Lakeville North High School [1st Place]
Dec. 13: Prior Lake H.S. 21, SW 41
Dec. 20-21: Minnesota Christmas Tournament @ Rochester RCTC Field House [20th Place]
Dec. 27-28: Rumble on the Red @ Fargo, N.D. [11th Place]
Jan. 9: Triangular @ Woodbury High School [1st Place]
Jan. 11: Invitational at River Valley High School, WI [3rd Place]
Jan. 16: Northfield 36, SW 37
Jan. 23: New Prague 44, SW 21
Jan. 25: Minnesota River Conference Tournament [1st Place]
Jan. 30: Quad Meet @ Maple Grove High School [1st Place]
Jan. 31: Farmington 30, SW 27
Feb. 4: St. Peter 22, SW 46; TCU 29, SW 33; Blue Earth 10, SW 48
Feb. 6: Watertown-Mayer 17, SW 37
Feb. 7: Annandale-Maple Lake 22, SW 41
Feb. 13: Section 2AA Tournament - Mankato East 17, SW 63
Feb. 15: Section 2AA Tournament - St. Peter 37, SW 33