by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Rogers Royals have two wrestlers in the state meet as undefeated Clay LeVasseur won the Section 5AAA crown at 195 pounds and Phillip Anderson was runner-up at 126, Saturday at Maple Grove.
“For the first time in school history we have two state entrants in the same year,” noted coach Chris Donnay. ”We’ve had a couple ‘firsts’ this year for our program but this has to be the biggest. Phil and Clay have had great years they deserve to be down at the Xcel next weekend.”
In their first year at Class AAA, the Royals had 10 entrants and five of them placed.
LeVasseur (21-0), a senior, pinned Durbin from Osseo and Peleg from Mounds View, then won 3-1 against Sando from Champlin Park in the finals.
“Clay’s weight had five guys who have been rated at different times throughout the season,” said Donnay, “and he came away on top. He’s wrestling really well right now and the best thing about it is that he’s not just happy making it he wants to place.”
Anderson (35-6), a sophomore, won 6-5 against Roufs from Spring Lake Park and 9-0 over Ockuly from Champlin, then lost in the finals 4-1 against Wolf from Irondale. He got a true second match and won 13-0 against Tilleskjor from Centennial.
“Phil started out the day a little slow but he saved his best for last,” said Donnay. ”Those true second matches are hard, especially for the wrestler who lost in the finals. Phil came out and dominated the whole match.”
Anderson broke the Royals single-season record by boosting his total to 35, Todd Klemz had the record of 33.
Kyler Swanson, a state qualifier last year, took third at 138 with a 6-3 win against Martin from Champlin, a 9-3 loss to Schmitz of Centennial, and two victories in wrestlebacks.
“Kyler had one bad match and that cost him his chance to return to the Xcel,” said Donnay. ”He came out flat in the semis and with a stud like Adam Hammer from Osseo on the other side of the bracket he didn’t have a shot at true second. He did come out and wrestle two good matched to take third after a very disappointing semifinal round.”
Connor Larson took fourth at 120, with a pin, a 6-3 loss to Osseo’s Brolsma, an 8-5 win over Mounds View’s O’Brien, and a 2-0 loss to Maple Grove’s Neuman.
Ryan Lien took fifth at 220 with a 2-2 mark capped by a pine of Maple Grove’s Chim after falling behind 7-0.
Tyler Eicher went 1-2 at 152 and Jake Owens went 1-2 at 160.
“We showed so much heart today,” reflected Donnay.
Larson dislocated an elbow a few weeks ago. “He worked really hard to get back. After a week of practice he went out there and had an amazing tournament,” said Donnay, noting that 120 was on of the toughest classes. Mike Voorhees had not made a full practice in more then three weeks with knee and shoulder injuries but “as a senior he wanted to get out there one more time. ” He lost a match and had to default after that. Lien was giving up around 30 pounds to everyone he wrestled but took fifth. Freshmen mat rookies Owens and Lemcke battled juniors and seniors. “Those two have come so far this year I can’t wait to see what they do next year,” said the coach.
State individuals will be held Friday and Saturday.