By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Senior Isaac Carreon has been a pretty good wrestler for the St. James wrestling program for a number of years now and he has an old eighth-grade classmate to thank for it.
“I guess I can admit it now,” he said with a sheepish grin Saturday. “I went out for wrestling because some girl told me I was fat. I weighed about 140 pounds back then so I guess I was a little heavy.”
Five years later, Carreon is down to 132 pounds and finds himself ranked seventh in the state in Class A. He helped the Saints to a second-place finish at Mankato West’s Russ Hanson Quadrangular Saturday at the West gym.
Fourth-ranked Wabasso won the meet with a 3-0 record. The Saints were second at 2-1, Byron finished third at 1-2 and an injury-plagued West team finished fourth at 0-3.
Carreon’s philosophy for the season is pretty straight-forward: “If I shoot, I get points; if they shoot I get points. That’s the way I approach every match.”
Carreon placed sixth in the state last season and he’s looking to move up this winter.
“My goal is the same as every year. Win the section, win the state championship. It’s the same goal for our whole team.”
St. James opened Saturday’s meet with an impressive 65-9 win over West. Carreon was a 10-0 major decision winner over Carter Burroughs at 138 pounds.
Three other Saints had pins in the dual. Seventh-ranked Cody Hanson (120) had a fall in 2:44, senior Ryan Westman (170) had a pin in 3:06, sophomore Colin Hoppe (182) had a fall in 1:58, junior Adrian Torres (220) had a pin in 1:22 and fourth-ranked Victor Torres Jr. had a fall in 1:03.
West’s only two wins came from Charlie Dundas and Xaver Dahlgren. Dundas won by pin in 4:56 at 106 and Dahlgren was a 12-5 winner at 160.
Dundas went on to go 3-0 on the day with a pair of regular decisions against Byron and Wabasso. Until this season Dundas has been wrestling undersize but he has finally grown into a true 106-pounder.
“It feels good to finally be at the right weight,” Dundas said. “It gives me a lot more confidence.
“I want to get more wins than the 16 I had last year and hope to qualify for state. I just need to keep working hard.”
In the Scarlets’ final two duals, they lost 75-3 to Wabasso and 61-12 to Byron. West had to forfeit at least four weights in every dual due to some early-season injuries.
The Scarlets (0-3) begin Big Nine Conference action Thursday at Rochester Century.