Van Horn, Kennedy suffer opening-round lossesPark High School wrestlers Matt Van Horn and Tyler Kennedy met hefty seeds in the opening round of the Minnesota State High School League state individual tournament Wednesday night in St. Paul.
By: Patrick Johnson, South Washington County Bulletin
Park High School wrestlers Matt Van Horn and Tyler Kennedy met hefty seeds in the opening round of the Minnesota State High School League state individual tournament Wednesday night in St. Paul.
Both Wolfpack seniors suffered losses in the opening round of Class AAA action at Xcel Energy Center, and since their victors lost in the following round, neither Kennedy nor Van Horn re-entered the tournament.
Van Horn, who was 32-9 going into the tournament, ran into 41-1 Josh Wiseman of Champlin Park in the 140-pound weight class. Wiseman beat Van Horn by fall at 5 minutes, 40 seconds to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
But in order to re-enter the tournament, Van Horn would have needed Wiseman to beat Derek Schreiner of Wayzata.
But the battle between Wiseman and Schreiner was nothing short of a barnburner. Though Wiseman previously suffered only one loss in 2007-08, Schreiner had suffered none. The Wayzata senior improved to 40-0 after beating Wiseman 8-4 Thursday afternoon to give Wiseman his second loss and to officially end Van Horn’s season.
Schreiner went on to claim the 140-pound championship. Wiseman took third place.
“It was unfortunate, the way they got bracketed,” said Park coach Jim LaBrosse. “Matt probably had the toughest draw in the whole tournament. But we were pleased with his match. He ended up getting pinned at the very end, but he wrestled very well.”
Kennedy faced Matt Spoden of St. Cloud Apollo in the 189-pound weight class. Spoden, who was 31-4 coming into the tournament, beat Kennedy by decision, 14-7. Spoden would have needed to beat Nick Olson of Tartan in order for Kennedy to re-enter the tournament. Olson, though, beat Spoden 10-3 Thursday afternoon, ending Kennedy's campaign at 24-5.
Olson went on to lose 9-7 in overtime to Billy Morgan of Rosemount in the championship match. Morgan, ironically, beat Kennedy in the Section 3AAA finals. Kennedy’s state opponent, Spoden, went on to take third.
“Tyler was in a similar situation,” LaBrosse said. “His first match against (Spoden) — he was the No. 3 ranked kid. Tyler got caught a couple times on his back and it’s tough to come back.”
The tough-luck draw led to some disappointment for the Wolfpack wrestlers, but Van Horn and Kennedy know where they’re at as far as talent, LaBrosse said.
Van Horn finished with 104 career wins — Park’s third-highest all-time victory output. Both Van Horn and Kennedy were two-time state entrants, with Kennedy claiming all-state honors at 171 pounds a year ago.
They, along with a handful of other Wolfpack grapplers, are college-caliber athletes who could be back in action in a year at the collegiate level, LaBrosse said.
Together, they represented a Wolfpack squad that earned second place in the Suburban East Conference — despite struggles to fill lower weight classes.
“Obviously, as duels went, we didn’t get the wins we thought we’d get at the beginning of the year,” LaBrosse said. “But it’s tough to do when you were as light as we were at the (lower weights). The seniors carried the team as much as they could on their backs. I’m proud of them. Obviously, we’ve got some big shoes to fill for next year.”
The Wolfpack will officially wrap up its season Thursday, March 13, when it celebrates its year-end banquet at 6 p.m. at Park High School.
It will also mark the last season Park wrestlers meet in their current facilities, as Park is breaking ground on a new wrestling room. The 80- by 42-foot wrestling space is scheduled to be finished by next season.