By: Jared Hines (@Jared_Hines27)
Coming off a disappointing home loss to Big Lake that pushed Rogers back to third place on their side of the Mississippi 8 standings. The Hornets and Royals tied on Jan. 20, with Hornets heavyweight Jackson Gardner pinning Royals’ Tommy Andersen in the third period of the last match of the dual. The match went to criteria No. 4, where Big Lake was awarded the victory.
Members of the Royals wrestling team were determined to show what kind of team they were the next day at their annual Royal Rumble.
The Royals started off their annual team tournament with the last conference dual of the season against the Bison. The Royals were strong throughout, with Wil Yasseri, Bret Wilson, Dominick Kealey, Jack Kammers, Isaiah Brown, Gavin Eicher, and Zac Aanerud all earning wins in the 39-28 victory over Buffalo. The win moved the team back to .500 on the season in duals with a 5-5 record.
“We’re wrestling pretty good right now,” head coach Chris Donnay said. “Three weeks in a row now that the boys have looked good on the mat.”
The Royals dropped their semi-final match to St. Cloud Tech, a team that many are looking at to compete for a state berth in the tough 8AAA section. Rogers led 15-0 heading into the 126-pound match before Alex Kern started the streak in which Tech wrestlers won 10 straight matches. Royals heavyweight Tommy Andersen avenged his loss from the night before, defeating Aaron Voigt 7-5 in the last match of the dual. Tech currently has four wrestlers ranked in the top-10 of their respected weight class.
In the third-place match, Rogers got back on track, defeating Dassel-Cokato 52-22. Coach Donnay and the coaching staff were excited about the win, avenging a team loss from a team tournament earlier in the season where Dassel-Cokato got the best of the Royals and defeated them handily.
Rogers started the match off with five straight wins, jumping to a 25-0 lead thanks to Marshall Packer, Yasseri, Lee Santiago-Martinez, Wilson, and Kealey. Kammers, Zach Neumiller, Anthony Lenz, Aanerud, and Travis Sinclair also earned wins in the dual, again pushing the Royals back to .500 on the season after dipping below the .500 mark in the dual against St. Cloud Tech. The Royals have a couple duals left, but as individuals, one of the most important days on the remaining season calendar is upcoming on Friday.
On Jan. 27, the team travels to Big Lake to compete at their individual weight classes for a chance to be named all-conference or all-conference honorable mention. First, second and third place are awarded all-conference awards in each weight class.