|State Wrestling Tournament
Two teams, 19 individuals return to defend titles
Two of the 2014 team champions return to defend their respective titles: Simley of Inver Grove Heights in Class AA and Apple Valley in Class AAA. Simley is looking for its second consecutive title and Apple Valley is working toward its 10th.
Two teams are making their first appearances: West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville in Class A and Farmington in Class AAA. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Apple Valley returns for its 33rd consecutive and 34th overall appearance.
In the individual competition, 19 champions return for more gold medals ó seven in Class AAA, six in Class AA, and six in Class A.
The 2015 State Wrestling Tournament opens Thursday, February 26, and runs through Saturday, February 28 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The three-day format features all of the team dual competition on Thursday, followed by exclusive individual competition Friday and Saturday.
Class A Team Highlights
Minneota (Section 3) leads a field of five returning teams. The Vikings, who enter as the No. 1 seed, are making their sixth appearance under this name and their seventh overall. In 2014, they fell in the consolation semifinals as a co-op with Lincoln HI of Ivanhoe.
The four other returning teams are Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (Section 5), Pierz (Section 7), Frazee (Section 8), and Jackson County Central (Section 2).
The Falcons of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, who are unseeded this year, are making the third consecutive appearance and their 10th overall. If they win, it would be their second title. They won their one previous championship in 2007.
The Frazee Hornets are making their third consecutive and 22nd overall appearance. They are seeded No. 2 this year and are hoping to improve on last year's fourth-place showing. The Hornets are in the hunt for their fifth title; they won previously in 1992, 1999, 2002, and 2011.
The unseeded Pierz Pioneers, who claimed the consolation hardware last year, are making their fifth consecutive and 12th overall appearance. If they win it would be their third championship; they won previous back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.
The final returning team is Jackson County Central. The Huskies are the No. 5-seeded team this year and are looking to improve on last year's third-place showing. Jackson County Central is making its sixth consecutive and seventh overall appearance under this name. If the Huskies win, it would their sixth title. They claimed their other championships in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Jackson County Central, as a co-op with Southwest Star Concept of Okabena, made four additional appearances between 1998 and 2007 and won titles in 1999 and 2000. Jackson also made three appearances as a co-op with Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield between 1993 and 1997.
The other teams in the Class A field are West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville (Section 6), Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Section 1), and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area (Section 4). The unseeded Knights of West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville are making their first tournament appearance under this name. West Central Area, which is located in Barrett, made one additional appearance in 1996.
The Cougars of Zumbrota-Mazeppa, who are seeded No. 3 this year, return to tournament action after a two-year absence. This is their eighth appearance overall. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area, which includes students from Nicollet, is making its eighth appearance. The Knights made six appearances as a single school and one as a co-op with Mankato Loyola. They last competed in the tournament in 2012. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area earned the No. 4 seed this year.
The 11 a.m. Thursday Class A seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication are: Pierz (25-4 No. 11) vs. No. 2 Frazee (15-2 No. 2); West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville (24-2 No. 8) vs. No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa (29-5 No. 3); Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (17-7 No. 12) vs. No. 1 Minneota (32-2 No. 1); No. 5 Jackson County Central (21-7 No. 9) vs. No. 4 Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area (18-8 No. 4).
Class AA Team Highlights
The Spartans of Simley of Inver Grove Heights (Section 14) return as the defending champions. This is the eighth consecutive and 21st appearance for the Spartans, who are the top seed this year. If they win, it would be their 11th championship. In addition to last year, they won three consecutive titles between 1987 and 1989 and they won again in 1992. Simley also won five consecutive championships between 2008 and 2012.
Four other teams also return from the 2014 field: Foley (Section 6); Milaca/Faith Christian (Section 7); Scott West which includes students from Belle Plaine, Jordan, and Holy Family Academy of Belle Plaine (Section 2); and Totino-Grace of Fridley (Section 5).
The unseeded Foley Falcons are looking to improve on last year's third-place showing. This is their eighth consecutive and 22nd overall appearance and they won previous titles in 1989, 1993 and 1994. The Eagles of Totino-Grace, who are making their third consecutive and 13th overall appearance, tied for consolation honors last year. They enter this year's tournament as the No. 4 seed.
Scott West, the No. 3 seed, is making its second consecutive appearance and its 15th overall. The Panthers claimed runner-up honors in 2014. The unseeded Wolves of Milaca/Faith Christian are returning for their second consecutive appearance and their 12th overall. They fell in the consolation semifinals last year.
Albert Lea Area, which includes students from Glenville-Emmons and Alden-Conger (Section 1), Worthington (Section 3), and Perham (Section 8), are the other teams competing in the Class AA field. Albert Lea Area is making its 12th appearance, but first since 2011. The Tigers are on the prowl and are looking for their third championship; they won previously in 1977 and 1981. Albert Lea Area earned the No. 2 seed this year.
The Perham Yellowjackets return after a one-year hiatus to make their eighth appearance. They are the No. 5 seed this year. The final returning team is the Worthington Trojans. This is their 10th appearance, but first since 1997. The Trojans were not seeded this year.
The 9 a.m. Thursday Class AA seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication are: Foley (26-5 No. 8) vs. No. 2 Albert Lea Area (33-1 No. 2); Milaca/Faith Christian (24-8 No. 11) vs. No. 3 Scott West (15-2 No. 6); Worthington (21-6 No. 12) vs. No. 1 Simley (26-5 No. 1); No. 5 Perham (25-3 No. 4) vs. No. 4 Totino-Grace (15-8 No. 5).
Class AAA Team Highlights
Apple Valley (Section 3) returns as the nine-time defending champion. The Eagles, who are the top seed, are making their 33rd consecutive and 34th overall tournament appearance. In addition to the past nine years, they also won team championships in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.
The No. 2-seeded Knights of St. Michael-Albertville (Section 7) are returning for their 17th consecutive and 25th overall appearance. If they win it would be their eighth title. They won previously in 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. St. Michael-Albertville settled for third-place honors in 2014.
Three additional teams return from the 2014 qualifying field. Moorhead (Section 8) is making its third consecutive and 10th overall appearance. The unseeded Spuds took consolation honors in 2014. Prior Lake (Section 2) also returns. The Lakers, who are the No. 5 seed this year, are making their fifth consecutive and seventh overall appearance. They're hoping to improve on last year's runner-up showing. The final returning team is Willmar (Section 6). The Cardinals, seeded No. 3 this year, placed sixth in 2014. They are making their fourth consecutive and sixth overall appearance.
The other teams competing in Class AAA are Centennial of Circle Pines (Section 5), White Bear Lake Area (Section 4), and Farmington (Section 1). The Centennial Cougars, who are not seeded this year, return to tournament action for the first time since 2013. They are making their 11th appearance overall. Unseeded White Bear Lake Area is making its fourth appearance, but first since 2011. The Farmington Tigers, who enter as the No. 4 seed, are making their debut appearance.
The 9 a.m. Thursday Class AAA seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication are: Moorhead (18-6 No. 12) vs. No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville (24-2 No. 2); Centennial (18-7 unranked) vs. No. 3 Willmar (27-0 No. 3); White Bear Lake Area (20-7 unranked) vs. No. 1 Apple Valley (19-2 No. 1); No. 5 Prior Lake (22-9 No. 6) vs. No. 4 Farmington (24-10 No. 5).
The Schedule and Ticket Information
This year's schedule features the team tournament running all day on Thursday, February 26. The action starts with the Class AA and Class AAA quarterfinals at 9 a.m. They will be followed by the Class A team quarterfinals at 11 a.m., which will be run simultaneously with the Class AA and Class AAA consolation semifinals.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, all three classes will wrestle in the team championship semifinals and Class A will also have its consolation semifinals. The consolation and third-place team matches for all three classes will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday evening, followed by the team championship matches for all three classes at 7 p.m.
On Friday, February 27, the Class AAA individual first round begins at 9 a.m. The Class A individual first round starts at 11 a.m., followed by the Class AA individual first round at 1 p.m. On Friday evening, the Class AAA individual championship quarterfinals begin at 4:30 p.m. The Class A and Class AA individual championship quarterfinals will follow at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. The evening session will conclude with all wrestlebacks at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday there will be five rounds of competition. The first starts at 9:30 a.m. and will consist of all individual consolation quarterfinals. The second round will start approximately at 10:45 a.m. and will entail all individual championship semifinals. Round Three begins approximately at 12:45 p.m. and will encompass all individual consolation semifinals. At approximately 4:30 p.m., all individual fifth- and third-place matches will begin. The day will end with all individual championships beginning at approximately 7 p.m. Awards will then follow the final round.
Other than the first matches of each session, all subsequent rounds will start immediately following the conclusion of the previous competition in that session. Thus, most of the start times are approximate. Fans should bear that schedule in mind in planning their arrival at Xcel Energy Center.
Ticket prices are $14 per adult and $9 per student for each session. Daily passes are available for $26 for adults and $17 for students. Season passes, good for the entire tournament, are available to adults for $78 and to students for $51.
Prep45.com Web Streaming
Starting this year all 1,512 matches, dual and individual for all classes, over the three-day tournament will be streamed live by Prep45.com and are available for a $4.97 daily fee.
|The Hall Of Champions Adds Title Number Five
|Posted by John Millea(firstname.lastname@example.org)- Updated 2/28/2015 9:50:30 PM
|Mark Hall is probably the biggest name in Minnesota high school wrestling, and the spotlight on the Apple Valley junior will only grow in the next 12 months.
Hall won the Class 3A title at 170 pounds Saturday night, capturing his fifth state championship at Xcel Energy Center and joining an elite club. Border West senior Cameron Sykora also joined the five-crown club with a title at 126 in Class 1A; he and Hall are only the fifth and sixth wrestlers to win five.
Next season Hall (pictured in gold) will have an opportunity to break new ground and become the stateís first six-time champion. Thatís probably a pretty safe bet, too, considering that he hasnít lost a high school match since his ninth-grade year.
Hallís gold-medal victory Saturday came with a second-period pin against St. Michael-Albertville junior Evan Ronsen. Long before title No. 5 was in sight, however, he was being asked about being a six-time champion.
ďAll the time. Itís endless,Ē he said of the topic. ďFirst and foremost, to be in this position is a blessing for me and my family. The way I respond to those people is I have to win my fifth one before I can win my sixth one. I have to stay focused, I can only win the state title thatís in front of me; I canít go for my sixth state title this year. Iíll wait until next year for that.Ē
Hall said it can be difficult to maintain a one-match-at-a-time attitude, especially away from the wrestling room and wrestling season.
ďItís really hard. Itís really important for me to keep wrestling hard and keep a good mindset, not get off track and stay motivated. It can be hard; summer comes along, spring break, stuff like that. Itís hard to stay focused. But if I can keep wrestling one match at a time, thatís the most important thing.Ē
--Sykora defeated Austin Anderly of LeSueur-Henderson 4-3 in the championship match, ending Anderlyís quest for a third state title.
FOUR TIMES THE GOLD
Totino-Grace senior Lance Benick ended his high school career with his fourth state title, taking home a gold medal at 195 pounds in Class 2A. He beat undefeated wrestlers in his final two matches, outscoring Wyatt Richardson of Grand Meadow 13-1 in the semifinals and Carson Hagen of Worthington 17-7 in the title round. Benick finished the season with a 42-0 record and celebrating by performing a cartwheel and back flip on the mat.
Benick said his tournament experience has changed over the years.
ďMy freshman and sophomore years I was a little bit nervous, but now Iím taking it all in, spending as much time here as I can and making the most of it, just trying to remember it,Ē said Benick, who will wrestle at Arizona State University.
Jim Richardson, Wyattís father and the Grand Meadow coach, said there is no easy way to prepare for or compete against Benick.
ďHeís so explosive in all areas. You have to try to turn it into a Greco match, and we got out of our stance twice and it was two takedowns, it was as simple as that. And thatís why heís the best in the country and thatís why heís a great wrestler and a great kid.Ē
--Two Class 1A seniors won their third state titles: Louie Sanders (132) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and Quinten Berres (138) of Kimball. Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville (152) did the same in Class 2A.
--St. Michael-Albertville and Apple Valley each won three state titles in Class 3A, as did Jackson County Central did the same in Class 1A.
--Sight of the day: Lucas Westrich of Lakeville North noticed a contact lens slipping out of place during his semifinal match at 3A 152. During a stoppage, he handed the lens to one of his coaches, who placed it inside an overturned water bottle cap, poured a little water over it and set it on the floor.
--Total attendance over the three days of the tournament was 49,218.
HERE ARE THE 2015 STATE CHAMPIONS
106 State Champions
1A/ Ethan Cota, Kenyon-Wanamingo
2A/ Josh Tarum, St. Thomas Academy
3A/ Peyton Robb, Owatonna
113 State Champions
1A/ Noah Bauer, Pine Island
2A/ Keaton Schorr, Kasson-Mantorville
3A/ Rylee Molitor, Sartell-St. Stephen
120 State Champions
1A/ Tanner Reetz, Frazee
2A/ Garrett Aldrich, Albert Lea
3A/ Brent Jones, Shakopee
126 State Champions
1A/ Cameron Sykora, Border West
2A/ Paul Fitterer, Cannon Falls
3A/ Mitchell McKee, St. Michael-Albertville
132 State Champions
1A/ Louie Sanders, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial
2A/ David Flynn, Scott West
3A/ Adam Hedin, Rosemount
138 State Champions
1A/ Quinten Berres, Kimball
2A/ Treyton Austvold, New London-Spicer
3A/ Ben Brancale, Eden Prairie
145 State Champions
1A/ Hank Friederichs, Chatfield
2A/ Griffin Parriott, New Prague
3A/ James Pleski, Forest Lake
152 State Champions
1A/ Shane Siewert, Lake City
2A/ Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville
3A/ Lucas Jeske, St. Michael-Albertville
160 State Champions
1A/ Paden Moore, Jackson County Central
2A/ Andrew Fogarty, Scott West
3A/ Matt Njos, Anoka
170 State Champions
1A/ Luke Norland, Jackson County Central
2A/ Carter Nielsen, Foley
3A/ Mark Hall, Apple Valley
182 State Champions
1A/ Keegan Moore, Jackson County Central
2A/ Jackson Striggow, Orono
3A/ Jordan Joseph, St. Michael-Albertville
195 State Champions
1A/ Nathan Brinker, Holdingford
2A/ Lance Benick, Totino-Grace
3A/ Bobby Steveson, Apple Valley
220 State Champions
1A/ Manuel Garcia, BOLD
2A/ Jack Ryan, Simley
3A/ Gable Steveson, Apple Valley
285 State Champions
1A/ Garrett Malstrom, Frazee
2A/ Brent Riddle, Monticello
3A/ Alex Hart, Prior Lake
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 396
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 7,785
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