by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
A pair of wrestling brothers, Spectrum eighth-grader Esteban Teigen and Augsburg College sophomore Tommy Teigen, gave each other pep talks last Friday evening.
“They talked about Esteban making ‘state’ and Tommy making nationals, on the same day,” said Spectrum coach Sean Ryther. “Then they both went out and did it.”
Esteban became Spectrum’s first-ever state mat qualifier by placing second in Section 5AA at 106 pounds on Saturday at Fridley, including an upset of the top-seed, who had pinned him in a prior match.
Tommy, meanwhile, was runner-up at 165 for Augsburg in regionals on their mat.
“Tommy was a three-time state qualifier at Meadowcreek when Spectrum was paired with them,” said Ryther, “so I coached Tommy, too. Esteban always tagged along with his older brother and got into wrestling at a really young age.”
Estaban placed fourth in the section at 103 pounds in seventh grade.
“I told Esteban this year to become a leader on this team, even if he’s just an eighth-grader,” said Ryther, “because he’s got more experience than anyone in the room.”
Esteban elected to attend Spectrum rather than Meadowcreek (now Legacy Christian). The brothers live in Ham Lake.
At sectionals, Esteban, seeded fourth, won 4-2 over Totino-Grace’s Jaxon Sommers (who placed third in a state freshman tournament), then beat top-seeded Tevin Zadavil 9-5 with two takedowns and two near-falls.
Zadavil had pinned Teigen with a high-flyer not long ago. “We worked with Esteban all week on how to defend against that move,” said Ryther.
In the finals, Teigen got the first takedown against Jake Allar of Benilde-St. Margaret’s, but Allar, ranked No. 10, caught him in a headlock for a first-period pin.
Teigen (26-11) will face Kyle Schoenecker (37-4) of Chisago Lakes in the first round of state on Friday at the Xcel Center, in a session starting 1 p.m. Tiegen lost to Schoenecker 7-5 in the regular season.
Spectrum junior Ian Neitzer placed fourth at 120 pounds, and eighth-grader Luke Nolden placed fourth at 113 pounds, each with a 2-2 record. Nolden weighs 102 pounds but can’t beat Teigen so he wrestles up.