Class AAA State Wrestling Recap
Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 9:28 PM
Class AAA championship
Top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville completed its season-long run of dominance with a 39-20 victory over No. 2 Stillwater in the Class AAA championship match of the Minnesota State High School League’s Wrestling State Tournament on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. For the Knights, it was a fitting conclusion for a season filled with purpose after dropping a state championship opportunity a year ago on its home floor during a pandemic-shortened season.
It is the third Class AAA championship for the Knights (24-0) and first since 2018. In 2013, St. Michael-Albertville shared the big-school crown with Apple Valley. Before its move to Class AAA, St. Michael-Albertville was a dominant force in Class AA with four consecutive championships from 2004 through 2007.
Stillwater (30-3), looking for its first state championship in 10 tournament trips, finished second in the big-school field for the third time since 2019.
Throughout the 2021-22 season, St. Michael-Albertville enjoyed success against Minnesota teams. The closest was Stillwater, which lost to the Knights 44-29 on Jan. 15. The next-closest was Bemidji, 43-27, in the season opener. The closest any team came to St. Michael-Albertville was Vacaville (Calif.) in a 35-30 victory during the Clash Duals.
In the championship dual, St. Michael-Albertville wasted little time in building a 39-0 lead with victories in the first nine weights. Eighth-grader Chase Mills opened with a victory at 103 pounds and the wins flowed through a pin by sophomore Jed Wester at 160.
St. Michael-Albertville advanced to a big-school championship dual for the ninth time since 2010 with a 43-23 victory over Anoka in the semifinals. It was the Knights’ second victory over the Tornadoes this season. The other was a 52-15 win during the Clash Duals. St. Michael-Albertville raced to a powerful lead that wouldn’t be threatened with pins in the first four weights and a major at 132 to build a 28-0 lead. Anoka made a mini-run midway through the dual by winning three of the next four matches before St. Michael-Albertville senior heavyweight Owen Barthel recorded a pin to close out the dual.
Stillwater advanced to the Class AAA final for the second time in three seasons with a 43-20 victory over Shakopee in the other semifinal. The loss dethroned the Sabers, the three-time defending Class AAA champion. The Ponies broke open a close dual with victories in five of the final six matches, capped by a quick pin from senior Anthony Tuttle, a 195-pounder, who moved up to heavyweight for the dual.
Shakopee bounced back from its semifinal loss to Stillwater with a 37-31 victory over Anoka. The Sabres built an 18-0 lead with victories in each of the first four weights.
Northfield edged Hastings in a back-and-forth consolation final for an eventual 36-33 victory. Senior Mason Pagel clinched the victory for the Raiders with a pin at 220 pounds.