The Winona Matmen qualified four individuals for State at the Section 1AAA Wrestling Tournament with Ryan Henningson taking the Section Title at 120 pounds without a close match. Brother Logan Henningson (126 pounds) was knocked off by the top seed, but came back through the wrestlebacks in style, taking out the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded wrestlers in the process. Junior Drew Meyer was also defeated by the top seeded wrestler at 182 pounds, but also came back through the wrestlebacks with some great matches to secure the true second and qualify for State. Heavyweight Zander Rusert was defeated in the finals by the No. 1 seed, but had already beaten the third-place wrestler in the semifinals, so he was able to qualify for state without having to defend his second place.
It was off to State with all four wrestlers having hopes of placing somewhere in the top six of their respective weight classes. Logan, Drew, and Zander all drew seeded wrestlers since they finished second in their weight classes at Sections. Zander drew the No. 8 seeded wrestler and came out on the short end of a 3-1 match with his opponent going down in the next match to the No. 1 seed, thereby eliminating Zander from the wrestlebacks. Drew was defeated by the No. 1 seed and eventual champion, Roman Rogotzke from Stillwater, and faced the No. 8 seed in his first wrestleback match, only to come up short in a hard-fought bout. Logan faced the No. 5 seed in the first round and the No. 4 seed in his first wrestleback match. Both wrestlers were eventual placewinners and Logan was boxed in and unable to break through for a place at State.
Ryan Henningson came into the tournament seeded No. 2 behind Paxton Crease from Shakopee, the defending State Champion. Henningson had met Crease in the semifinals at 106 in his sophomore season, losing to Crease in a close match before coming back for third place. As a junior, Henningson met Crease in the State Finals at 113 pounds in a controversial final match, coming out on the short end of a 4-3 score. Henningson was in the process of reversing Crease as time ran out but the official ruled that time had expired before Henningson completed the reversal.
Both Henningson and Crease dominated each of their first three opponents by pin or technical fall. Henningson was taken down by Matt Hogue (No. 3 seed) from Stillwater in the semis, but held an 8-3 advantage when he pinned him in the second period. Hogue then came back to take third. The stage was set for another rematch of the two best wrestlers in the weight class and they did not disappoint. Crease started the scoring with an acrobatic takedown in the first period and from there it was a match of two quick, slick, and explosive wrestlers. Henningson’s superior conditioning and mental toughness allowed him to prevail in the match by a 6-4 score with all eyes in the Xcel Energy Center on those two wrestlers. State Champion Ryan Henningson can now take his place next to the four other individual state champs from Winona – Kermit Selke, Chuck Radechel, Joe Hoialmen, and Max Lossen.