After a win over Crookston advanced them into the final four of the Class A wrestling tournament, the Royalton-Upsala Royals squared off with he No. 1 ranked team in state — the Kimball Cubs.
Despite a fight from the Royals, they were unable to defeat the eventual-champion Cubs, falling 45-26.
“Our guys got better and better as the season progressed and Kimball was just better than us last Saturday,” said Royals head coach Terry Gorecki. “It just wasn’t enough. “
Lane Olson pinned his opponent at 106 pounds to put RU up early, but that score wouldn’t last.
A decision victory by Michael Zimmerman at 120 kept RU in the lead, but the Royals fell behind.
Jacob Leibold earned a tech fall victory at 152 pounds.
“It is just a great feeling being there with your coaches, your buddies,” Leibold said. “Getting to wrestle with the top competitors in the state is a great feeling.”
Seniors Aidan Olson (182) and Mason Novitzki (heavyweight) each earned pins for the Royals.
“The team really came along this year, and that really surprised me,” Leibold said. “Yeah, we lost that first match to Kimball, but we weren’t expected to win, so it is what it is.”
“As a coaching staff we are extremely proud of our wrestlers and how they competed all year,” Terry Gorecki said.
Leibold said that the both he and his teammates will need to work hard, and wrestle as much as possible this summer and leading up to next season in order to make another state run.
The Royals will need to replace Novitzki, Aidan Olson, Austin Wensmann, Brady Conrad and Ryan Latterell.
However, the Royals will return 10 other starters next season, including state entrants Will and Gabe Gorecki, Lane Olson, Leibold, Sawyer Simmons, Eli Psyck and Zimmerman.
“We will use this season as a stepping stone into next year,” Terry Gorecki said.