Reichmann and Wildman win titles, while Smith, Schiffler, Kovarik place second

The Minnewaska Area wrestling team will be sending not one, not two, not three, but five wrestlers to the State Wrestling Tournament, set for this Thursday through Saturday at the Excel Energy Center in Minneapolis.

Miles Wildman and Myles Reichmann both won Section 8AA titles, Saturday at DGF, while Chase Smith, Landon Schiffler and Jayce Kovarik all placed second to join them at the state tourney.

It will be the third-straight state berth for Smith (30-12 record) and second-straight trip for Wildman (35-3).  Last year, Wildman went 3-2 at state to place fifth, while Smith was 2-3 to earn sixth after going 2-2 the previous season.

Yes, it certainly was a great day of wrestling for the Lakers, who open up state action at 9 a.m., Friday, March 1.  Each bracket will have 16 wrestlers.

“Myles (Reichmann) lit the fire with his upset win at 172 pounds and the rest of the  guys took it over from there; it was a great tourney and I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” coach Chip Rankin said.  “At first we were concerned about joining a new section, but once we got to wrestling, the guys showed that they not only belong, but that they could compete with anyone in the section.  

“We surprised a lot of teams today.  I’m not sure if it’s the most wrestlers to qualify to state, but it’s the most in the seven years I’ve been head coach.”

The Minnewaska Area wrestling team ended the team portion of its season at the Section 8AA Team Tourney one week earlier at Pequot Lakes Area.  DGF went on to earn the section team title with a 28-21 win over Perham.

“If you had told me we would have had two state wrestlers, I would have been happy, but to have five going to state is unreal,” Rankin said.  “For all the things we’ve dealt with this year and then to send five guys to state; I’m so proud of this team.”

8AA Individuals

The Lakers competed at the Section 8AA Wrestling Tournament, Friday and Saturday at DGF High School.  The Lakers had been in Section 5A for many years before switching to Section 8AA this season.

Miles Wildman, the only top-seeded wrestler for the Lakers, earned the title at 127 pounds, while second-seeded Myles Reichmann (26-15) upset the top-seed in the finals to claim the 172-pound section title.

Joining them at state will be Landon Schiffler (28-14), who was seeded second at 107 pounds and placed second; Chase Smith, the third seed, who upset the second seed in the true-second match to place second at 133 pounds; and Jayce Kovarik (21-10), unseeded at 160 pounds, who won a true-second match to place second.

Overall, the Laker wrestlers went a combined 20-16 at the section tourney.

Wildman, the top seed, earned a bye, pin in 3:57 and fall in 2:59 to reach the finals where he pinned Sam Schmitz, of DGF, in 2:47 to claim the title and advance to state for the second-straight season.

“Miles has had a great season and I look for him to have a chance to place among the top four at state even though Class AA will be extremely tough,” Rankin said.

Reichmann earned the second section title for the Lakers.  Seeded second, Reichmann earned a bye and major decision in his first two matches before winning by a fall in 3:00.  In the finals, he upset the top-seeded Joey Arends, of DGF, 4-3, to earn the title and his first state berth.

“I’m so happy for Myles; he works so hard and is such a great leader for our team,” coach Rankin said.  “He lit the fire with his big win over a state-ranked wrestler and it seemed to get bigger and bigger the rest of the tournament.”

Schiffler, the second seed, had a first-round bye before winning by a 10-0 major decision and 11-10 victory in the semifinals over the third seed.  In the finals, he lost 11-4 to Kayley Kosen, of DGF, but he did not have to wrestle for true-second.

“We’re looking forward to having Landon around for the next three years; he’s had a great season,” Rankin said.

Smith, the third seed, earned a first-round bye and 19-3 technical fall win in his first two matches before winning 5-1 over the second-seeded Noah Christen, of Sauk Centre-Melrose, in the semifinals.  In the championship, he was pinned by the top-seeded wrestler from Perham, but Smith came back to earn a state berth with a 46-second pin over the fourth-seeded wrestler from Park Rapids Area.

“Chase had a tough match for true-second, but he wasn’t going to be denied,” coach Rankin said.  “By that time, the guys were wrestling extremely well and it was going to take a lot to beat them.”

Kovarik tied with Isaiah Rosario for the most matches at the section tourney.  Kovarik went 4-1 to place second at 160 pounds.  Unseeded, Kovarik earned a bye and pin in 3:50 over the fourth-seed in his first two matches before losing by a fall in the semifinals to the top-seeded wrestler from Thief River Falls.

In wrestlebacks, Kovarik won by an 18-7 major and then earned a fall in 3:54 in the third-place match before winning by another pin in 1:55 in the true-second match over the second-seed from Pequot Lakes Area.

“This is a dream chance at state for Jayce, who has been dealing with an injured shoulder all season, but wanted to wrestle one more season with his friends and classmates,” coach Rankin said.  “Jayce is one of the most athletic kids in the senior class and he works as hard as anyone.  I am so happy for him as well as all five of the state entrants.”

•  Isaiah Rosario also had a great tourney, going 3-2 at 139 pounds to place fourth, while Riley Dell was 1-3 at 189 pounds to earn sixth.

“Isaiah had a great tourney for us and I think his win over a good junior from Alexandria in the consolation semifinals was a big win for the entire team; it got us all very excited and the fire got brighter and brighter from there,” coach Rankin said.

Also wrestling for the Lakers were Jack Payne (1-2 at 152 pounds), Austin Schuler (0-2 at 121), Jude Bailey (0-2 at 127), and Eric Bowen (0-2 at 215 pounds).

•  The Lakers did not have any wrestlers at 145 pounds, which turned out to be a strange weight class.

Two unseeded wrestlers earned the two state berths, including unseeded Seth Cossentine, of Roseau (39-7), who  beat the fourth and top-seeded wrestlers on the way to placing first.  He will be joined at state by Jonny Ramos, of Perham, who knocked off the second and third seeds.

Section 8AA Tourney

Minnewaska results:

107:  Landon Schiffler 2-1 (second place)

114:  Miles Wildman 3-0 (first)

121:  Austin Schuler 0-2

127:  Jude Bailey 0-2

133:  Chase Smith 3-1 (second)

139:  Isaiah Rosario 3-2 (fourth)

145:  No wrestler

152:  Jack Payne 1-2

160:  Jayce Kovarik 4-1 (second)

172:  Myles Reichmann 3-0 (first)

189:  Riley Dell 1-3 (sixth)

215:  Eric Bowen 0-2

285:  No wrestler

Check out more photos in our photo gallery!