ST. PAUL — The Dover-Eyota wrestling team had exactly what they wanted in their MSHSL Class A State Semi-Final against Royalton-Upsala on Thursday.
Up to five entering the bottom two weights and with Jackson Duellman poised to hit 220, it couldn’t have been scripted better for the Eagles.
Duellman had been in that situation a few times before, becoming their captain clutch this playoff.
Just two weeks ago, it fell on Duellman in the final game of the Section 1A Championships. He earned a thrilling 11-7 decision win to land the Eagles first ticket to team state since 2007. Then on Thursday in the Eagles quarter-final with DE trailing by two entering the game final against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, it was again Duellman who scored with a pin to send the Eagles through to the semi-finals with an upset 30-26 victory over the second-seeded Jaguars.
But in the semifinals, Duellman and the Eagles lacked magic.
Charged with a one-point penalty with just over 10 seconds to go, the junior lost a 3-2 decision to Bryce Holm of Royalton-Upsala.
RU’s Jeremy Mugg then beat Addison Honsey by a 9-2 decision to take the semi-final 34-33 and end the Eagles’ Cinderella run.
The Eagles will now go for third place against West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville at 5 p.m.
The Eagles found themselves down 21-9, but recovered after back-to-back pins from standouts Brodie Kellen and Gavin Gust made it 21-21.
Gust was also important in the quarterfinals, registering a late takedown to claim a big win after moving up a weight class to 160. Gust – ranked No. 4 at 152 by The Guillotine – knocked down top 152-pounder Blaine Fischer 5 -3.
But then Royalton-Upsala picked up two wins by decision and major decision.
Still, the Eagles weren’t done yet.
Aidan Gasper (182) picked up his second pin of the tournament and Tyler Mix (195) also won in the fall after an inspirational performance to put the Eagles ahead 33-28 going into the final two weights.
But it wasn’t for me.
Duellman lost in a big game and Honsey fought well at 285, but was severely undersized compared to RU’s Mugg. The Eagles’ eldest lost by a 9-2 decision.
In the quarter-final against BBE, eighth-grader Bronson Shea (106) won with a sudden 4-2 victory in overtime. Damon Bye (120), Jacob Desnner (138), Brodie Kellen (145) all won by decision, while Gasper landed a big pin at 195 to help set up Duellman’s heroics.
The Kasson-Mantorville high school wrestling team is back in the class AA finals.
The KoMets relied on their cleats to edge past No. 3 Becker 31-24 in a Class AA wrestling state team semifinal. It’s the KoMets’ first finals appearance since they capped a hat-trick in 2018.
He is now arranging a much-anticipated date with his compatriot Simley at 7 p.m. Both programs have won the last six Class AA State Championships.
Luke Swanson (138), Logan Vaughan (152) Cole Glazier (182) all had victories over ranked foes, with Swanson taking it by major decision.
Joe Kennedy (132) won by tech. fall 17-2, while Kail Wynia (195) picked up a major 12-4 decision win.
Bennett Berge then finished it with a pin at 220.
The KoMets had little trouble in the quarterfinals, racking up three pins, two technical falls and three major decisions to edge Mora 49-13.