by Jared Hines
Contributing Sports Writer
A busy week for members of the Rogers wrestling team came to a close at the annual BCCA Invitational at Brooklyn Center High School on Jan. 7.
The invitational consisted of ten teams, including Osseo, a team Rogers lost to just two days before by a 39-27 score.
On this day though, the mat belonged to the Royals.
Seven members of the Rogers wrestling team made it to the finals of the individual tournament over the weekend, including five eventual champions. The team finished second overall, and head coach Chris Donnay was among the members of the coaching staff that were gleaming about how well the wrestlers did in the weekend rumble.
“This was the best I’ve seen our team wrestle as a whole in a few years,” Donnay said. “The finals were so fun. Marshall (Packer) got us going with a fall and we just kept going from there.”
Packer, participating in the 106-pound bracket, lost his opening-round match before rallying off three straight wins to take third place. In his third place match, he pinned William Voigt of Richfield 3:18 into the match.
In the next weight class up, eighth grader Wil Yasseri also won three matches, beginning his day with a 10-0 win over Cole Ciardelli of Wayzata. The next match he won 13-1 and, in the championship match, Yasseri pinned Osseo junior Bryce Donahue at the end of the second period to give Rogers its first champion of the day. Yasseri is 5-1 in varsity matches this season.
Senior Lee Santiago-Martinez kept the winning going for the Royals, continuing a hot start to the season where he has gone 11-2. His 3-1 win over Royce Hogue of Wayzata crowned him champion No. 2 on the day for the Royals and continued the climb in the team standings.
“To place in the top two in any tournament takes every wrestler,” Donnay said. “That’s what happened today.”
At 126 pounds, Bret Wilson was familiar with his first opponent, Jack White of Osseo. Wilson won by fall against White two days earlier, and started his day off by pinning the Osseo freshman again. Wilson’s fall against White came at 1:47 and the Rogers junior added a 35-second fall over Matthew Beachy in the second round. His two wins set him up against Connor Swetala, a Richfield junior who was 16-2 coming into his match against Wilson. Swetala – a two-time state entrant – started the season on Guillotine’s top-10 wrestlers at 126-pounds, and has hovered around the list all season. Wilson wrestled hard all six minutes, resulting in a 2-1 victory and win No. 113 of his career. Wilson is currently No. 4 on Rogers all-time win’s list, needing just four more victories to tie Kyler Swanson for third.
Other impressive showings for Rogers wrestlers included Jake Born, who pinned all three opponents on his way to a first-place finish, and Zac Aanerud, who improved to 9-3 on the season with three wins as well. Aanerud defeated Yaogan Ametor in the finals by a 5-1 decision, handing Ametor just his second loss on the season.
“Typically, when you get seven in the finals, you hope to win about half,” Donnay said. “It was so fun. Wil and Jake looked great all day. Lee does what he does and Bret and Aanerud beat really good wrestlers in the finals.”
Rogers heavyweight Tommy Andersen finished second on Saturday, earning his first two wins of the season while Anthony Lenz earned wins No. 5 and 6 in his 2-1 finish over the weekend. Wayzata took first as a team with 220 points, while Rogers edged out Richfield for second with 185 points on the day. One of the many accomplishments for the Royals was beating Osseo’s team score, after losing to the Orioles two days prior.
The Royals next goal is to get back to .500 in duals and the team will have a chance to do on Jan. 12 when the they travel to Monticello to take on the Magic. The Magic are just 1-7 this year in duals, winning their season opener against St. Cloud Apollo before dropping seven straight contests. The dual is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Monticello Middle School.