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P-E-M grad and Southland grads qualify for Nationals for RCTC wrestling

Feb. 19—ROCHESTER — Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School graduate Martin Prieto and Southland High grad Cohen Wiste each won North Plains Region District Titles on Sunday.

Prieto and Wiste were two of five from the Rochester Community and Technical College wrestling team to capture titles at the Region XXI North Plains District, NJCAA National Qualifier held at RCTC. Three more Yellowjackets — including Dover-Eyota grad Gavin Gust — punched their ticket to nationals with second-place finishes. Hunter Gartmann finished third but secured a wildcard berth to give RCTC nine national qualifiers out of 10 weight classes. The Yellowjackets also won the team title, edging second place Minnesota North-Itasca 105.5-103.

The NJCAA national championships are set for March 1-2 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Wiste was the top seed at 149 pounds, needing just two wins to reach his first national tournament. The freshman did just that with a back-to-back pins in the semifinals and finals.

The same goes for Prieto at 197 pounds. The sophomore won by an 18-5 major decision in the semifinals, before collecting a pin 15 seconds into the second period to win the championship match. Tyson Wilson (133), Leo Tukhlynovich (165, Shakopee) and Anthony Tuttle (Stillwater) also won their respective weight bracket.

Gust will also be heading to nationals with a second-place finish at 157. He fell in the final via pin, but responded in the true-second place match with a 16-1 win by technical fall to qualify for nationals. Keichi Kong (125, Apple Valley) and Lucas Kritzeck (174, Park Rapids) also finished second. Gartmann (141, Baldwin-Woodville) dropped his first match but won the next two to earn the wildcard berth for the NJCAA national tournament.

RCTC coach Andy Hackenmueller was named the Minnesota College Athletic Conference and Region XIII Coach of the Year as well.