Wrestling: Mayo’s Peters right at home facing the best
Marshall Peters has been on the state’s biggest stage. Twice.
He knows what the atmosphere is like. He knows what it’s like to step on a wrestling mat in front of 10,000 or so fans. And the Rochester Mayo sophomore knows that the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament can be an unforgiving place.
All of those experiences have only made Peters stronger and better. And he has a drive to get back to that stage in late February and prove that past outcomes are not indicative of future results.
“The experience is awesome,” Peters said. “I love the atmosphere there. Even though I’ve been 0-1 the two years I’ve been there, still just being there with my teammates and getting that level of competition has been great.
“It definitely drives me to get back. It’s crazy … everyone cheering for you or against you, it doesn’t matter. Everyone there is passionate about the sport. It’s pretty amazing.”
Peters qualified for state as an eighth-grader and again last year as a freshman. Each time, he lost his first-round match, then was eliminated from the tournament when the wrestler he lost to, lost his next match.
But Peters, the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the state at 138 pounds in Class AAA, has grown in many ways through those experiences.
And this weekend at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament, Peters looks right at home with some of the best wrestlers in the state and the country. Peters, seeded No. 8, went 2-0 on the opening day of the tournament Friday at UCR Regional Sports Center, to advance to this morning’s quarterfinals.
He’ll face Scott West senior Tyler Schackle in the quarterfinals. Shackle is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AA.
“So much fun,” Peters said of the competition at the Christmas Tournament, where he placed eighth a year ago. “Win or lose ... sometimes you’ll feel bad that you lost, but when you look back at it, at the level of competition, to just go out there and compete with these guys is a lot of fun.”
Peters (6-0 this season, 64-22 in his two-plus year varsity career) made relatively quick work of his two opponents Friday.
He led Wayzata’s Lucas Ojeda 9-1 after one period in a first-round match, extended that lead to 12-1, then pinned Ojeda with 23 seconds to go in the second period. In the second round, Peters built a 9-0 lead against Byron’s Parker Kline before pinning him at the 3:13 mark.
Those wins came on the heels of two big wins Friday night, when Peters helped Mayo beat rivals Century and John Marshall in the All-City Meet at Mayo’s McNish Gymnasium.
“I’ve put on some muscle, which helps me out a lot,” Peters said. “I feel just as strong as the guys I’m out there with. I did a lot of extra wrestling and lifting in the offseason and it’s really helped me out, technique-wise.”
Peters is in one of many loaded weight classes at the Christmas Tournament. It includes a No. 1-ranked wrestler (top-seeded Bryce Bosman of Luxemburg-Casco, Wis.) and two 138-pounders who are ranked No. 2 in their state polls (Shackle and Hunter Lyden of East Ridge).
Peters’ results Friday are indicative of how his season has gone. He has become a stronger defensive wrestler, which has led to an improved offensive attack. The only point he allowed on Friday came when he took down Ojeda in the first period of their match, then allowed him an escape.
“His defense ... the last couple of years, guys would maybe pick up some takedowns against him or score some points,” Mayo assistant coach Joe Lawler said. “This year he’s getting harder and harder to score against. He has really taken it to the next level.
“I think he’s only given up one takedown all year and that was in the last 10 seconds of a match. He’s putting himself in better positions. His defense has really opened up his offense and he’s wrestling his match.”