After a 32-year absence, Caledonia wrestling will compete for a state title this week.
The Warriors will take on Kenyon-Wanamingo Thursday morning in the Class A Quarterfinals at the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament in St. Paul. Five individuals will also compete for state titles beginning Friday morning at Xcel Energy Center - Zach Schneider (132), Jacob Winjum (160), Alex Goergen (195), Eli Craig (220) and Blake Mauss (285).
The last time Caledonia wrestled as a team at state was in 1984, when current head coach Dan Goergen was a senior. Now, he will coach his son Alex and a talented Warriors lineup under the bright lights..
"They came through when they needed to in the clutch times," Dan Goergen said of his team. "One guy picked up the next guy and they just kept following it."
That was true at the sectional tournament, as Caledonia rallied from a 22-7 deficit against Zumbrota-Mazeppa to earn the state berth. The back end of the lineup has provided most of the points, and leadership, this season. That experienced group will be expected to contribute again on Thursday.
"We've been working pretty hard since we were little to get there," said Mauss, a senior. "It feels really good to accomplish that again."
Mauss has experienced success as a defensive tackle and offensive lineman for the football team, winning the Class AA state title last fall. He finished fifth at state as a sophomore, but battled injury last season. Now he gets two chances at a trophy.
Alex Goergen, a junior, is in a similar position after missing the state tournament last year due to a broken foot. He finished third his freshman year, but now is on a mission.
"This year I took it into a whole new perspective that I want to get that title, I want to work hard," he said. "I try to bust my butt every day, so getting there is not a goal anymore, it's winning that state title."