In its first test of the season, the Northfield wrestling team validated its preseason ranking as the sixth best team in Class AAA.
Competing at Saturday’s Dick Shiels Invitational in Faribault, where 11 teams took the mat, the Raiders snagged second place with 216 points behind champion Class AAA No. 2-ranked Stillwater (256.5), and ahead of Owatonna (200.5), Tri-City United (122.5) and Faribault (110).
Helping Northfield to that finish were a trio of individual champions in Beau Murphy in the 113-pound weight class, Chase Murphy (120) and Drew Woodley (138), as well as second-place finishers Darrin Kuyper (160), David Tonjum (220) and Nick Lopez (285).
The most noteworthy result of the day was Woodley’s win at 138, where he had to fend off Stillwater’s Reid Ballantyne in the finals. In the preseason individual rankings, Woodley was ranked first at 145 and Ballantyne, a three-time state champ, was ranked first at 132.
Two years ago, Ballantyne won his second state title by beating Woodley in the state finals at 120.
Saturday, though, Woodley claimed a 7-6 victory thanks to a one-point escape five seconds into the third and final period followed by a two-point takedown with 1:13 remaining in the match. After Ballantyne notched a point with an escape with 54 seconds remaining, Woodley stayed on his feet for the remainder of the match to preserve the victory and the title.
At 113, Beau Murphy claimed the title with an 8-3 decision over Faribault’s Tyler Boyd, while his older brother, Chase Murphy, won at 120 after his 15-7 major decision against Owatonna’s Michael Bobo in the finals.
At 132, after Sam Holman lost a tight 6-5 decision in the quarterfinals to LARP’s Ross Herber, the eventual champ Saturday, Holman notched back-to-back pins to earn the consolation championship.
Gavin Anderson lost a 6-4 decision in the 145 quarterfinals to Owatonna’s Jerez Autridge, the eventual runner-up, before he recorded a first-period pin and a major decision to win the consolation championship.
Ethan Johnson claimed third at 152, with his only loss coming via a 6-0 decision in the semifinals to Stillwater’s Trey Hogue, who won the rest of his matches Saturday via first-period pin. Johnson won by pin in his other two matches.
After Nick Mikula suffered an opening 6-1 defeat to Cole Ackerman from Sauk Rapids-Rice at 170, Mikula recorded back-to-back pins to lead up to a scheduled rematch with Ackerman in the third-place bout, which Mikula won via a medical forfeit.
Northfield is next on the mat for a home dual at 7 p.m. Thursday against Austin before it travels Saturday to partake in the Coon Rapids Invite.
Rockets fall at Hayfield
In the season-opener, the Randolph boys basketball team was unable to erase a nine-point halftime deficit at Hayfield, which ultimately claimed a 66-60 victory.
Nick Drinken led the Rockets with 22 points while making nine of his 19 attempts from the floor, in addition to seven rebounds and seven assists, while Isaac Stoesz scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists, and Dane Ehleringer pitched in 13 points.
Randolph is next in action Tuesday night at Lyle/Austin Pacelli.