Sophomore Ethan Lebrija and senior Dalton Rose placed third at the Class AA Individual State Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and 29, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Davin Rose went 1-2 in the 126-pound tournament in his second straight appearance at state wrestling.
“It was an awesome weekend,” MAHACA head coach Kyle Rose said. “We had an amazing following down at the state tournament and people watching online to support our three wrestlers. We had a pile of people down there. It was great to see and I hope it continues.”
This season is the first time that MAHACA has had wrestlers on the podium at the state wrestling tournament since Connor Metzger placed fifth in 2013. It is also the first time since 1999 that the Tigers sent more than two wrestlers to the state tournament. It speaks volumes to the direction this program is headed, coach Rose said.
“The program is going in the right direction, which is up,” Rose said. “Sometimes the coaches know it, but it’s not really proven in the public eye from the wins and losses point of view. But I think after this weekend, our success at state this weekend changes that and our coaches feel like it will be this way for multiple years.”
Lebrija went 4-1 to place third in the 120-pound tournament. He closed out his sophomore season 41-2.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lebrija said of his first state wrestling trip. “State was a realistic goal for me a few years ago, but I just never pulled through. I’d honestly say I’m really happy with how I did this season. I accomplished all my goals that I set at the beginning of the year.”
Lebrija finished his sophomore season with 18 pins and achieved his 50th pin this season. He has finished with 30-plus wins in three of his four seasons on varsity. He took third at sections in both 2019 and 2018, just missing out on state trips as the top two advance, so he was extra motivated for a spot at state this season.
“I mostly changed my mindset on things. I’ve struggled with the mental side of it for awhile, but I figured it out this year,” Lebrija said of his approach to the season.
Dalton Rose also went 4-1 for a third-place finish at 182 pounds. He took a major decision (12-2) over Nate Kujawa of Mahtomedi in the opening round and took a 7-5 decision over Jagger Greenwood of Hibbing in the quarterfinals. His lone loss came in the semifinals to Quaylin Short of Simley where Rose was pinned in 2:36. He wrestled back by beating Alex Nelson of Hutchinson by 2-1 decision for a spot in the third-place match where he majored Tanner Young of Pierz 14-6.
“Feels pretty good, better than the other years of not placing,” Rose said after last year’s third place finish at Section 3AA meet kept him from a state appearance.
This was Rose’s first state wrestling appearance, but he’s no stranger to the Xcel as he has watched younger brother Davin there last year.
“It was different seeing everyone in the stands when I stepped out on the mat,” Rose said. “I knew I could make it to state if I worked hard enough for it.”
Davin Rose and Lebrija return next season while Dalton graduates this spring.
For his father, and coach, Kyle Rose, “I’ve coached him since he was three. I was balling like a baby under the Xcel after his last match. The end of an era. He went out on top in my eyes.”