A week ago, Eden Prairie coach Dylan Bethke predicted that five to seven of his Eden Prairie wrestlers would make it through the Section 6AAA individual tournament.
On Saturday at Chanhassen High School, Eden Prairie had seven wrestlers make state.
Is Bethke good at picking lottery numbers?
Eden Prairie eighth-grader Jacory Bates won at 106 pounds. Sophomore Bryce Dagel won at 126. Seniors Azi Rankins, Jahsa Rankins, Xander Falkenstein and Isaiah Washington won at 132, 145, 152 and 182, respectively.
Junior Jordan Todd punched his state-qualifying ticket with a true-second finish at 160 pounds.
Washington’s win had the most intrigue, as he won with a reversal inside the final 20 seconds.
Azi Rankins would also count a notable run to a section title
“Chan’s Pedro Vaelazquez is a good solid wrestler with great technique,” said Bethke. “They’re wrestled a bunch of times, but Pedro has never beaten him. I think Azi is in his head.”
On Saturday, Azi Rankins won by a 5-2 decision.
Twin brother Jahsa continued to roll, winning the 145-pound division with two pins and 16-0 tech fall.
Jahsa Rankins is 18-0 on the season.
When asked for state-meet predictions, Bethke said he looked at the draws of all his wrestlers.
Most are decent, a couple are difficult.
“I’m confident that someone will get on the podium,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Eden Prairie won a Section 6AAA team title, meaning Eden Prairie returns to wrestle in the team competition for the first time since 2010.
On Thursday, unseeded Eden Prairie drew No. 3-seeded St. Michael-Albertville.
In a weird sort of way, Eden Prairie drew the best draw it could have hoped for.
The Eagles could’ve drawn top-seeded Shakopee or No. 2-seeded Stillwater (by rule, No. 4 opens with No. 5).
“We get the defending champions,” said Bethke, “but that’s OK.
“We won’t be expected to win, but we’re not going down without a fight,” he added. “We’ll approach it like any other match, and try to win as many points as possible.”
“We’ll win some matches,” said Bethke.
The team competition opens at 9 a.m. Thursday (today) at the Xcel Energy Center. Individual wrestling begins Friday at 9 a.m.