by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Little by little, Spectrum High School is letting the world know it exists.
The Elk River charter raised its profile a bit more when Esteban Teigen placed fourth and Ryan Killeen sixth at the state wrestling tournament.
“I think this is a huge step, not only for our wrestling program but for our school,” said coach Sean Ryther. “Having guys down here getting medals gives the notification that we are on the map.
“People always ask us, where is Spectrum? I think now people are getting to know a little about Spectrum.”
Teigen and Killeen notched not only the first medals but the first state wins for the Spectrum program.
Both are sophomores, as is Luke Nolden, another state qualifier.
“It will be really fun to see where it will go from here,” said Killeen.
Esteban (35-4), who lives in Ramsey, won twice on Friday, then lost twice on Saturday.
He was upbeat about his 8-7 loss to unbeaten, No. 4 ranked Jared Goldsmith of Chatfield in the semifinals. (Goldsmith lost to No. 1 Austin Anderlie of LeSueuer-Henderson in the finals).
“That was probably the best match of my life,” declared Teigen, who had a takedown and near-fall for a four-point move as he almost pulled an upset.
In the third-place match, Teigen lost 11-5 to Joey Majerus (41-4) of Zumbrota-Mazeppa.
“He was bigger than me, and I was really tired, too,” said Teigen.
Fourth place is “not what I wanted,” said Teigen, “but placing at state is an accomplishment that I wanted and I did that.”
Killen, who lost in the second round Saturday, won twice in wrestle backs. On Saturday he beat Long Prairie-Grey Eagle’s Miguel Ambriz 8-3 to secure a medal.
Down 3-0 after one period, Killeen tied it with an escape and takedown, then got a half-nelson on Ambriz to take the lead. The LPGE coach yelled that it was a full nelson (an illegal move) but was hushed by the referee. Killeen then used an arm bar to add points.
In the fifth-place match, Killeen made the first takedown against No. 5 Brendan Coyer (40-5) of Osakis but got pinned in 2:21.
“I wanted to be top four,” said Killeen, an Elk River resident, “but so many kids go home without placing at all, so this is really cool. You can’t not be happy with it.”
A mild neck injury contributed to Nolden’s loss by pin to Alex Erpelding of Staples-Motley in 2:30 in the first round Friday. He got “switched” by Erpelding and came down on his neck. “I couldn’t move. It sent chills through my body,” said Nolden (29-8), an Andover resident. “He took advantage and got a cradle on me.”
Ryther said that Nolden had a cervical strain earlier in the season that required medical attention and rehabilitation. “I think it recurred,” said Ryther. “You could see it. He went limp.”
About his trio of sophomore state qualifiers, Ryther said:
“These guys are three of the hardest workers I have ever coached. They came down here and got great experience and can build on that. When hard work meets opportunity, good things happen.”