Wrestlers Finish Season

Wrestlers+Finish+Season

Erin Barkaskey

Senior Naser Ali

Anthony Metcalfe, Sports Editor

While the boys’ hockey team was making noise on their way to state, it wasn’t the only Eagan team that saw its athletes performing among Minnesota’s finest. Wrestling, led by coach Chad Gage, wrapped up their season by sending two boys, senior Naser Ali and junior Joe Dubbels, to the state tournament.

Following an up-and-down regular season, one that, as Gage said, had “some bumps in the road that [the team] had to figure out at the beginning of the season, the team knew that they would have a tough time in sections. In fact, with the section dominated by Apple Valley, a team that saw thirteen players place first in sections, the competition was tough. No matter that competition, however, Gage believed that the team was only “One or two players short of being a top ten team in the state,” and as such, he expected a strong sections showing. However, they faced a tough Apple Valley team, falling short of their yearly goal of reaching the section finals.

While they dealt with disappointment in their failure to to reach their goal, the team still saw two of their star competitors reach state. Senior Naser Ali, who, as Gage pointed out, has only been wrestling since seventh grade, was Eagan’s best. Although he too didn’t fulfill his goal, which was “to place third,” it didn’t stop Ali from being named an all-state wrestler, an achievement that, as he said, “felt good.”

Naser wasn’t the only Eagan wrestler to get past sections, however, as Dubbels also did well enough to reach state. Hampered by an injured wrist according to Ali, however, Dubbels was out of state in the first round. A disappointing outcome, Gage is still confident in him, stating that he “will be back next year.”

Along with Ali and Dubbels, the Wildcats saw four players in Riley White, Dawit Gabreab, Aaron Obermueller, and Nick Holt finish near a state qualifying position. Overall, the boys had a strong season. A nice summary of the season, Ali said: “We were definitely the underdogs but we did a good job overall.