Roy’s View of the State Wrestling Tournament
Wrestling is an easy sport to fall in love with. The overall concept is pretty basic, and as you learn the nuances the more fun it gets. The state tournament is really something to behold.
After 20 years of listening to Dale Benjamin and Larry Hovden call the action of Owatonna wrestling, and going to a few meets, I have had the pleasure of being thrown into the fire of calling action on the air more often over the past few years. I have to say thanks to the list of experts/parents/announcers who have helped out: Joe Green, Tracy Robb, Bruce Fox, Tim Thorn, Jeff Woody Woodrich, Josh Woody Woodrich, Brett Meger and Gary Crawford (announcer and sideline reporter) have all taken some turns on the mic. Sorry to anyone I missed. During the time with Scot Davis as coach, a number of student managers and parents assisted on the live coverage. I know the listeners appreciate it.
I'll admit that my call of the action has a long way to go. Sitting in with Dale on Saturday, I felt like a Prius next to a Formula One car. But I'm giving it my best, just like any coach would want from his wrestler. Owatonna coach Cliff Casteel and his staff have been wonderful in supporting me.
The state tournament runs like a top. The schedule is incredibly accurate. The identification of who is wrestling whom and on which mat is all detailed well in the program. In fact, the program is so full of information and history, it takes me weeks to get through it. I enjoy the audience dancing to the "Y.M.C.A." and "The Chicken Dance" between sessions on Championship Saturday. The crowd also keeps themselves endlessly entertained with games of "Marco ... Polo." When you hear a loud outburst, it likely means an Apple Valley wrestler is in trouble. There are countless cries of "TWO!" from the fans, pleading with the referee for a takedown for their competitor.
It seems the Section 1 wrestling tournament also runs extremely well. And I saw several of those organizers out there on the floor of Xcel Energy Center, including Rochester Century Activities Director Mark Kuisle, helping move mats leading up to the championship session.
Due to an illness on the KDHL broadcasting staff, I was called into emergency duty to call the state title team match between Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Minneota. I botched a few things along the way. Southern Minnesota wrestling guru Ben Pherson was sitting to my right and helped correct some of my missteps. The Cougars lost a thriller to the Vikings.
Congratulations to Owatonna's Peyton Robb, who won a state title. I also enjoyed the exciting conclusion to the overtime win for Brandon Moen to take third place. NRHEG's Todd Erickson scored a very late takedown to get third place as well. My hat also goes off to the others who qualified for state, whether they took a medal home or not. It was fun to see Davis on the center mat, coaching an Eden Prairie grappler to a state title.
That's my view of the Minnesota state high school wrestling tournament.