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Wrestling, Class AA Championship: Simley 46, New Prague 20

Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 9:49 PM


Top-ranked Simley staked its claim to being the top wrestling program during the 2022-23 season regardless of enrollment class by cruising through the Class AA field following a 46-20 victory over No. 2-seeded New Prague in the championship match on Thursday, March 2 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.

En route to winning the Class AA championship for the fifth consecutive season, the Spartans (30-0) outscored three state tournament opponents by a cumulative margin of 139-47. The Spartans’ closest margin of victory this season was a 31-30 win over St. Michael-Albertville on Jan. 20. That triangular featured the three state champions from the 2022 state meet. Simley also defeated Jackson County Central on Jan. 20. Jackson County Central defended its championship on Thursday, but STMA did not, as Hastings rallied in stunning fashion to win the Class AAA crown.

Simley topped the reining Class AAA championship, too. That came in a 34-24 victory over Hastings on Jan. 19 during the Metro East Conference schedule.

The Spartans recorded the first six victories in the dual. On the back end of the lineup, Gavin Nelson had a pin at 220 pounds and heavyweight Soren Herzog followed with quick pin to cap the season. It is the 16th championship overall for one of Minnesota’s most successful wrestling programs.

“It’s been a heck of a senior year,” said Nelson, who helped power the Spartans to the Class AAAAA football title in December. “All of the championships are special.”

Nelson will wrestle for the University of Minnesota next season.

Third place: Becker, which began the tournament as the No. 4 seed, finished one spot better than that with a 33-27 victory over No. 3 Kasson-Mantorville. The Bulldogs used victories in four of the final six matches to top the KoMets.

Consolation: Unseeded Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle/Montevideo United rebounded from a loss to Kasson-Mantorville in the quarterfinals to record two victories in the consolation series. The United capped the rally with a 35-32 victory over Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus in the consolation final. The United capped the run with a pin by Zach DeBeer at 220 pounds and a decision from Brady Rhode at heavyweight.

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Wrestling, Class A Championship: Jackson County Central 43, Caledonia-Houston 19