Event: Northfield Larry Severson Invitational, 10 a.m., Saturday at Northfield High School.
Teams: Austin, Cannon Falls, Faribault, Hastings, Henry Sibley, Lake City, Lakeville South, Mahtomedi, Mankato East, Northfield, Rochester Century, Rosemount, Saint Charles, Tri-City United and Pine Island.
1. The host team, Northfield, is ranked No. 6 in Class AAA and won the event last year. Lakeville South and Hastings are on the cusp of the Class AAA rankings and Mahtomedi is just outside the Class AA rankings. Faribault already clashed with Northfield at the 47th annual Dick Shiels Invitational in Faribault on Nov. 30, so the Falcons are at least a little familiar with one of the talented teams they’ll be crossing paths with. Northfield finished a strong second at the Dick Shiels Invitational and the Raiders will be one of the top teams at their own meet, but the Falcons will get a chance to wrestle against a number of other teams that they’re less familiar with.
2. Faribault’s Tyler Boyd will have his work cut out for him in the 113-pound bracket, which is headlined by Pine Island wrestler Luke Williams, the No. 6-ranked wrestler in Class AA who’s 7-1 so far this year. Boyd could end up crossing paths again with Northfield’s Beau Murphy, who defeated Boyd in an 8-3 decision at the Dick Shiels Invitational. Meanwhile, the 160-pound class will include a number of ranked wrestlers including Lakeville South’s Willie Bastyr, currently No. 2 in the weight class in Class AAA. Bryce Nolen is wrestling in the 160-pound class for Faribault this year, and in addition to Bastyr, he’ll be up against Mahtomedi’s Reid Lawrence (No. 6 in Class AA at 152, but will be wrestling in the 160 class), Lake City’s Derek Meincke (No. 8 in Class AA), Stillwater’s Hunter Lyden (No. 15 at 152 in Class AAA), Rochester Century’s Owen Pharo and Northfield’s Darrin Kuyper, among others.
3. The Falcons have quite a bit of youth to their program, but are 3-1 to start the year and have seen some pretty strong results from JT Hausen (106), Boyd (113), Gael Ramirez (132), DJ Saunders (138), Aiden Tobin (145), Cael Casteel (152), Bryce Nolen (160), and especially Josh Oathoudt (170) and Dylan Lippert (195). Oathoudt won his weight class at the Dick Shiels invite while Lippert came in second in his class. The Falcons dropped Rochester Century 51-21 last week, when Lippert pinned Nathan Miller in 1:02, while Bryce Nolen lost a 5-3 decision to Century’s Owen Pharo. Gael Ramirez won the 132-pound matchup with Nick Zetah. Nolen will look to get the better of Pharo this time around, and the Falcons will hope to increase their momentum against the competition up in Northfield.