The Royals’ historic 2019-20 season ended on Feb. 14 at St. Michael-Albertville High School in Albertville. Rogers (14-5-1) lost to Wayzata in the semifinal of the Section 5-Class 3A tournament 50-27. 

Co-head coach Chris Donnay said the Royals didn’t match well against the Trojans.

“Our guys hung with them,” Donnay said. “I think we made it respectable, but our guys wanted more than that. That’s why this team has done what they’ve done lately.” 

Rogers won five matches against Wayzata. Sophomore Max Ricks defeated Wayzata sophomore Elijah Wald in the 106-weight division. Ricks is 26-4 this season. Senior Sam Essendrup defeated Wayzata junior Louis Scott in the 120-weight division. Juniors Ross Meskimen and Wil Yasseri along with senior Evan Braesch all won their matches, but it wasn’t enough. 

Braesch said Rogers wrestled hard each match and competed with passion.

“We could’ve eliminated a few mistakes here and there,” Braesch said. “When it got down to the grit of the matches, we could’ve capitalized on a couple things, maybe take a couple team points. It was getting in odd positions, giving up points we usually don’t give up, nothing too serious, nothing we can’t fix this week. I cannot be more proud of how our team wrestled this year. I can’t wait ’til next week.”

Royals dominate Maple Grove to advance to section semifinals

The Royals defeated Maple Grove 62-13 to advance to the section semifinals on Feb. 14. Ricks, freshman Cole Jordan and sophomore Chris Dietl all won their matches to give Rogers an early 14-0 lead, one which they would not relenquish. 

Donnay said the Royals’ lightweights are wrestling well at this point in the season.

“They give us a big lead and the ball just kept rolling,” he said. “We maximized our team points. That’s been our goal all year—get as many as you can and if you’re going to lose, only give up three points. We did a great job at that. We came out aggressive and wrestled well.”

What’s next

Rogers will compete in the Section 5-3A individual tournament on Feb. 22 at St. Michael-Albertville High School. If some of the Royals win their matches, individual wrestlers will advance to the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 27-29 at Xcel Energy Center.

Donnay said he doesn’t want Rogers to stop peaking.

“We want to peak next week and at state,” Donnay said. The team season might technically be over, but we need everybody to support the team. If they’re not wrestling, we need them pushing the guys who make the [cut] for sections. We want to get as many guys to the X as we can.”

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