The Monticello wrestling team knew this would be a tough time of year. The month of February includes a conference meet with two of the state’s top teams, as well as two section meets, both featuring Foley, the second-ranked team in Class AA.
To prepare, Monticello spent most of the regular season wrestling many of the best programs the state has to offer, caring not about wins but about getting better.
So far, it’s paying off.
Monticello finished third at the Mississippi 8 meet Friday evening, coming in behind powerhouse programs Cambridge-Isanti and St. Michael-Albertville.
Individually, Monticello had two wrestlers win championships, while a total of seven were named all-conference, earned by a top three finish.
“Overall, we wrestled pretty tough on the day,” said Coach Andy Zigan.
The Magic were led by Zach Beaumaster and Brent Riddle.
Beaumaster, a senior, who along with Jake Berthiaume, has moved into the top ten in program history for all-time wins, continued his strong season with a championship at 138 pounds.
Beaumaster made his way to the championship match with a technical fall in the first round and a 3-1 decision in the second round.
In the championship, he squared off with Philip Anderson, a senior from Rogers that entered the match with a record of 28-1, and had beaten Beaumaster twice in the last two years.
According to Zigan, Beaumaster grabbed a hold of the match from the start. He picked up a take down and back points in the early going, grabbing a lead he wouldn’t let go of on his way to a 6-2 decision.
“He doesn’t give up very many points,” said Zigan, about Beaumaster. “So if he can have even a slight lead, a lot of times he ends up winning the match.”
The victory moved Beaumaster to 24-5 on the season.
Junior Brent Riddle, wrestling at 285 pounds, made his way to the championship with a first-period pin in the opening round backed up by 7-4 decision in the semifinals.
In the finals, Riddle squared off with an opponent he had beaten 6-3 recently, according to Zigan.
This time, Riddle beat him 9-3.
The junior pulled away in the final 30 seconds when his opponent was called for three consecutive stalls as Riddle tried to get him in pinning position and seal the match.
“Riddle was being an animal,” said Zigan. “You don’t see three stalling calls in 30 seconds too often.”
The Magic also picked up a second-place finish and four third-place finishes at the event, hosted by Monticello.
Carter Barnes, wrestling at 152 pounds, made his way to the championship match in impressive fashion, picking up two major decisions in the first two rounds.
In the championship match, Barnes fell to a second-period pin, earning a runner-up finish.
“Carter wrestled really well,” said Zigan.
Monticello’s four third place finishes came from Tevin Zavadil (120 pounds), Jack Bourgeois (126 pounds), Berthiaume (145 pounds) and Luke Palmer (195 pounds).
The Magic finished with 142.5 points. Cambridge won the meet with 214.
Monticello travels to Mound-Westonka for an invite Friday, beginning at 5 p.m.