The magical ride to the state tournament is over for the Hopkins wrestling team, but not without a lesson that coach Pat Marcy hopes will springboard the Royals into next season.
Hopkins fell 60-9 to Albert Lea Area in Thursday’s Class AAA quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center, then followed it up with a 41-22 loss to Centennial in the consolation bracket. But in the Royals first trip to state since 1989, Hopkins saw first hand what it takes to compete against the state’s best.
“We’re feeling good,” coach Pat Marcy said. “We’re hurting a little bit right now, and we’re going to use this to benefit us.”
Marcy said the team was missing a little of the spark that helped Hopkins roll through the Section 6AAA tournament. He said the team refused to fade during the postseason, instead using each practice as a stepping stone to continuously get better.
That helped the Royals (19-8) beat two teams that topped them earlier in the season—Minnetonka and Eden Prairie—en route to the state meet.
But on Thursday, Hopkins ran into perennial power Albert Lea in the first round and couldn’t keep up. The Royals two wins were from Austin Haecherl at 140 pounds and Trey Goeman by fall at 171.
“Maybe we were a little timid at times, lacking some courage at times,” Marcy said.
Against Centennial, Hopkins fell behind 16-10 and 22-13 before pulling within three at 25-22. Goeman and Romar Daniel each picked up wins to bring the Royals close, but three straight wins to close out the match by Centennial sealed the win.
“They wrestled a little bit better than us today,” said Haecherl, who won both his state matches. “I bet we could beat them tomorrow. It’s a different day. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day.”
For Marcy, being able to see the level of competition at a state meet will help give Hopkins an advantage next season.
Haecherl agreed. A graduating senior, Haecherl said the Royals have a good chance of making a return trip next season.
“They’re going to be way better,” he said. “We’ve got good coaches. We’ve got good juniors coming up to the senior level, and they’re going to be dominant.”
Albert Lea 60, Hopkins 9
103: HOP Jacob Price loses to AL Dakota Wangsness by fall (1:41). 112: HOP Maxwell Stelzner loses to AL Lucas Hansen by tech. fall (15-0). 119: HOP Benjami Calvert loses to AL Garrett Wangsness by fall (2:07). 125: HOP Henry Wolfbauer loses to AL Davin Nelson 13-6). 130: HOP Michael De Jolsvay loses to AL Tristan Westerlund by fall (5:11). 135: HOP Nathaniel Haecherl loses to AL Banypny Chan by fall (1:48). 140: HOP Austin Haecherl def. AL Caleb Kolodge 13-7. 145: HOP Quinn Rohweder loses to AL Dalton Westerlund by fall (1:30). 152: HOP Romar Daniel loses to AL Trey Hable 13-4. 160: HOP Benjamin Tinkham loses to AL Corey Hansen by fall (2:27). 171: HOP Trey Goeman def. AL Dustin Samudo by fall (1:02). 189: HOP Daniel Schmid loses to AL Conner Kortan by fall (1:02). 215: HOP Kevin Russell loses to AL Caleb Gaudian 4-0. 285: HOP Kyle Russell loses to AL Alex Nielsen 7-1.
Centennial 41, Hopkins 22
103: HOP Jacob Price def. CEN Michael Mische by fall (2:45). 112: HOP Maxwell Stelzner loses to CEN James Stefonick 8-2. 119: HOP Benjamin Calvert loses to CEN Jordan Thompson 10-1. 125: HOP Henry Wolfbauer loses to CEN Nathan Stott 12-5. 130: HOP Michael De Jolsvay def. CEN Blake Solberg 25-13. 135: HOP Nathaniel Haecherl loses to CEN Amakale Tilleskjor by fall (1:10). 140: HOP Austin Haecherl def. CEN Jake Schmitz 10-3. 145: HOP Quinn Rohweder loses to CEN Jacob Manzanec by fall (1:18). 152: HOP Romar Daniel def. CEN Wesley Hendrickson 9-5. 160: HOP Benjamin Tinkham loses to CEN Will Noll 15-10. 171: HOP Trey Goeman def. CEN Bret Pasche by fall (1:03). 189: HOP Daniel Schmid loses to CEN Jake Cruz 11-3. 215: HOP Kevin Russell losess to CEN Zach Vine by fall (4:47). 285: HOP Kyle Russell loses to CEN Andrew Gustafson by fall (5:56).