Totino-Grace wrestler Kruse aims to turn losses into gains

The only two blemishes on Cy Kruse's wrestling record over the past two years are also the two most impactful matches he's had over that span.

Now the senior 215-pounder from Totino-Grace is counting on lessons learned in those matches to achieve a list of personal goals this season.

Kruse, the Eagles' captain, would like nothing more than to lead his team to a team state championship when Totino-Grace takes the mat at the Class 2A tournament on Feb. 29.

"We've never won one," he said. "We've never even been to the state finals, and I'd love to help us get there."

He also has his eyes on an individual state title after coming oh-so-close a year ago. He suffered his only loss of the season in the 215-pound final, falling to Simley superstar (and current Gophers 197-pounder) Gavin Nelson 8-4.

And he has the state record for pins in a season in his crosshairs. The record is 45, set by Stillwater's Ryder Rogotzke last year. Kruse, who calls himself "a pinner," already has racked up 41 this season and admits he is aiming for the record. "I could get it in the [individual] sections this week, but probably in the state team tournament," he said.

Kruse said the loss to Nelson last season taught him the value of not overthinking his wrestling.

"I prepared a lot for parts of what he did, but I focused too much on that and I wasn't totally present and he did a lot of things I hadn't seen before," Kruse said. "Scouting isn't always 100 percent."

Kruse said his most important match this year came early, when he wrestled Dreshaun Ross of Fort Dodge, Iowa, who is ranked No. 4 nationally at 215 pounds by

Kruse, ranked No. 13 in the nation, took Ross to overtime but lost 3-1 when he "got lazy," he said. He views the loss as an opportunity for improvement.

"When I'm not scoring, it gets me frustrated. But he never got impatient and he waited for me to make a mistake," said Kruse, who will wrestle at Cornell next season. "It's hard to get opportunities like that to make myself better. I'm never going to see a guy like that on film."