OAK PARK HEIGHTS — The No. 3-ranked Stillwater wrestling team defended its Suburban East Conference championship, but also suffered just its second dual meet loss of the season in a quadrangular meet on Thursday, Feb. 6 at Stillwater Area High School.

The Ponies (9-0 SEC, 19-2) opened with a 57-24 victory over Park and followed with a 58-21 triumph over Irondale/Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony. But after wrapping up its third conference championship in the last four years, Stillwater dropped a 37-33 nonconference decision against Kasson-Mantorville, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AA.

The conference title was the program’s 13th dating back to 1971. Stillwater was especially dominating this season, recording five shutouts in nine duals and outscoring SEC opponents by a combined 614-98.

“One of the stepping stones to where we always want to go is to compete well, so the conference is always a nice part of it,” Ponies coach Tim Hartung said.

Stillwater, which is scheduled to compete in the Section 4AAA team tournament on Friday, Feb. 14 at Mounds View High School, closed out the regular season with a narrow loss to Kasson-Mantorville.

The Ponies won seven of the first eight matches to built a 33-3 lead, but then lost each of the last six — giving up bonus points in all six.

The Komets struggled early, but picked up a key victory when Logan Vaughan defeated Stillwater’s Reid Ballantyne, a three-time individual state champion, 7-1 at 132 pounds.

The Ponies answered with victories in each of the next three matches, but Ryder Rogotzke got caught and pinned near the end of the first period by Kail Wynia at 160 pounds. Another showcase match occurred at 195 pounds where Kasson-Mantorville’s Patrick Kennedy, who is ranked No. 1 in Class AA at 182 pounds, defeated Roman Rogotzke by 22-6 technical fall to pull the Komets within 33-25 with just two matches remaining.

The Komets closed out the meet with pins at 220 and 285 pounds.

Losing the coin flip also worked against the Ponies as they were unable to move Roman Rogotzke out of the match-up against Kennedy.

“A lot of things had to go wrong for us to not win it,” Hartung said.

Dylan Dauffenbach earned a technical fall for the Ponies at 106 pounds and Sam Bethke followed with a 10-2 major decision at 113 pounds. Matt Hogue followed with a pin in the first period against Preston Hitterdal and Javon Taschuk followed with a 10-0 major decision at 126 pounds.

After losing at 132 pounds, Stillwater responded with a 17-2 technical by Kieler Carlson at 138 pounds and Trey Kruse — one of nine who were honored as part of Senior Night — recorded a 5-3 decision over Tanner Paulson at 145 pounds.

Hunter Lyden followed with a pin over Carlso Ruffo at 152 pounds before the Komets started their comeback.

“It was a good tune-up and a nice reminder for our guys,” Hartung said.

The Ponies have weathered injuries to several of their top performers this season, but Hartung is confident his team will be ready for the postseason.

“We’re pretty much back to full strength and now it’s just sharpening the axe,” the coach said. “The hard work is done and we’re feeling good mentally, as much as physically, and just want to bring some positivity and focus and let it fly. We’re excited for the end and this is what we’ve been preparing for. We’re excited.”

Even though the earlier duals weren’t as close, there were some interesting match-ups. Kieler Carlson edged fourth-ranked Solomon Lankow of Park 6-5 in their match at 138 pounds.

“Kieler is coming back and his conditioning was great with a third-period, comeback win,” Hartung said.

This evening also provided an opportunity to honor the team’s nine seniors, who have helped carry the program to a new level following its state runner-up finish a year ago.

“What a great group of kids,” Hartung said. “They are hugely responsible for the huge push that has been made and they will be successful in life because they are such hard-working kids. They have been a joy to coach.”

• Stillwater also crowned five champions in the JV conference tournament that was held at SAHS on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Placing first in their weight classes for the Ponies were: Owen Bouthilet (132), Hayden Carlson (138), Corstian Riesselman (145), Zachariah Hunter (160) and Quentin Hayes (170).

Kasson-Mantorville 37, Stillwater 33

106 — Dylan Dauffenbach (St) tech fall Devan Andrist, 16-0; 113 — Sam Bethke (St) major dec. Joseph Kennedy, 10-2; 120 — Matt Hogue (St) pinned Preston Hitterdal, 1:42; 126 — Javon Taschuk (St) major dec. Giovanni Ruffo, 10-0; 132 — Logan Vaughan (K-M) dec. Reid Ballantyne, 7-1; 138 — Kieler Carlson (St) tech fall Henry Paulson, 17-2; 145 — Trey Kruse (St) dec. Tanner Paulson, 5-3; 152 — Hunter Lyden (St) pinned Carlos Ruffo, 2:46; 160 — Kail Wynia (K-M) pinned Ryder Rogotzke, 1:55; 170 — Bennett Berge (K-M) tech fall Anthony Tuttle, 20-5; 182 — Jackson Kennedy (K-M) pinned Nicholas Dauffenbach, 1:35; 195 — Patrick Kennedy (K-M) tech fall Roman Rogotzke, 22-6; 220 — Reed Parrish (K-M) pinned Logan Warren, 1:29; 285 — Anthony Moe-Tucker (K-M) pinned Andrew Rantila, :50.

Stillwater 58, Irondale/SLP/SA 21

106 — Dylan Dauffenbach (St) pinned Clayton Solberg, 1:14; 113 — Sam Bethke (St) major dec. Calvin Brinkman, 16-4; 120 — Matt Hogue (St) won by forfeit; 126 — Javon Taschuk (St) won by forfeit; 132 — Antonio Jensen (Ir/SLP/SA) pinned Logan Kelley, 3:10; 138 — Christopher Zuniga (Ir/SLP/SA) dec. Jacob Andreachi, 8-2; 145 — Trey Kruse (St) pinned Ashton Singer, 1:15; 152 — Eric Bratsch (Ir/SLP/SA) pinned Madi Horn, :39; 160 — Ryder Rogotzke (St) pinned Aziel Bestman, 1:09; 170 — Anthony Tuttle (St) pinned Chris Curtis, 1:40; 182 — Roman Rogotzke (St) pinned Anthony Medelkoch, :22; 195 — Josh Piechowski (St) pinned Senowa Baek, 1:37; 220 — Logan Warren (St) pinned Tenzin Lhawang, 2:14; 285 — Marvin Lamin (Ir/SLP/SA) pinned Andrew Rantila, :45.

Stillwater 57, Park 24

106 — Dylan Dauffenbach (St) pinned Gunner Mullen, 5:43; 113 — Zachary Silvis (Par) pinned Sam Bethke, 1:00; 120 — Matt Hogue (St) pinned Braden Lettner, 1:05; 126 — Javon Taschuk (St) pinned Will Deutsch, 1:15; 132 — Reid Ballantyne (St) won by forfeit; 138 — Kieler Carlson (St) dec. Solomon Lankow, 6-5; 145 — Trey Kruse (St) won by forfeit; 152 — Hunter Lyden (St) pinned Alex Carr, :14; 160 — Royce Hogue (St) pinned Sam Ruiz, 2:39; 170 — Ryder Rogotzke (St) won by forfeit; 182 — Roman Rogotzke (St) pinned Zeke Brown-Knot, 1:36; 195 — Khrystiyan Mullen (Par) won by forfeit; 220 — Antonio Davis (Par) pinned Logan Warren, 1:47; 285 — Reese Lanegran (Par) pinned Andrew Rantila, 1:59.

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