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 — 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 XcelEnergyCenter in St. Paul. The three-day format features all of the team dual competition on Thursday, followed by exclusive individual competition Friday and Saturday.
This is the seventh year that the teams have been seeded. The 24 coaches of the section champions logged onto a special page of the League Web site and each coach ranked the other teams one through seven. The highest and lowest rankings for each team were discarded, leaving five rankings for each team. From those rankings, the top five teams were seeded. In conference calls with all eight head coaches of each class and gender, League Associate Director Craig Perry announced the top five seeds. A blind draw established the opponent for the top three seeded teams. Numbers four and five compete against each other automatically.
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 LincolnHI of Ivanhoe.
The four other returning teams are Atwater-Cosmos-GroveCity (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. PriorLake (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).
Class A Individual Highlights
106 pounds —Ethan Cota (42-1) of Kenyon-Wanamingo is the only returning medalist. He placed fifth in this weight class last year. There are no perfect records.
113 pounds — Three medal-winners return: Brock Buysse (34-3) of Minneota, runner-up at 106 pounds; Tanner Pasvogel (18-1) of Sibley East of Arlington, third at 106 pounds; and Trenton Coyer (29-7) of Osakis, sixth at 113 pounds. No one has a perfect record.
120 pounds — Three medalists from last year’s 113-pound class move up to compete for the title at 120 pounds. Jared Goldsmith (38-3) of Chatfield was runner-up, Joey Majerus (40-1) of Zumbrota-Mazeppa took third place, and Michael Suda (33-0) of Pipestone Area placed fifth. Anthony Kern (15-4) of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, who was sixth at 106 pounds last year, is the other returning qualifier. Suda has the only perfect record.
126 pounds — Two 2014 champions lead the field. Cameron Sykora (34-0) of Border West claimed the title at 120 pounds last year. Austin Anderly (38-1) of LeSueur-Henderson won gold at 113 pounds. One other medalist returns, Brendon Coyer (30-5) of Osakis. Sykora is the only undefeated competitor.
132 pounds — Louie Sanders (36-0) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area, champion at 126 pounds, is the top qualifier. Four other medalists return in search of gold. Blane Tschida (41-0) of Kimball Area was third at 126 pounds. Cody Weiland (31-0) of Crookston and Jason Meyer (30-5) of Sibley East, placed fourth and fifth at 132 pounds, respectively. Zach Scott (37-4) of Holdingford finished sixth at 126 pounds. Sanders, Tschida and Weiland each enter competition with a perfect record.
138 pounds — The champion at 132 pounds, Quinten Berres (40-0) of Kimball Area, leads the field. Bryce Bruner (36-3) of Minneota was last year’s runner-up in this class. Berres and Ben Baumgartner (35-0) of Park Rapids Area are the only undefeated competitors.
145 pounds — Hank Friederichs (39-1) of Chatfield, last year’s champion at 138 pounds, is among four returning medal-winners. He is joined by Jared Willaby (39-3) of Windom/Mountain Lake, who was third at 132 pounds; Austin Skillings (27-6) of Frazee, third at 138 pounds; and Nik Borchert (36-0) of Mille Lacs, sixth at 138 pounds. Borchert has the only perfect record.
152 pounds — Two medal-winners return: Kolton Eischens (39-0) of Pierz was runner-up at 145 pounds and Shane Siewert (33-2) of LakeCity placed fourth at 152 pounds. Eischens is the only undefeated wrestler in this class.
160 pounds — Two medalists lead the field in pursuit of a title. Paden Moore (39-1) of Jackson County Central finished third at 152 pounds last year. Ted Androli (38-4) of Kenyon-Wanamingo took sixth at 132 pounds. There are no perfect records.
170 pounds — Zachary Carlson (41-0) of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, who placed third at 160 pounds in 2014, is the only undefeated competitor. One other medal-winner returns, Luke Norland (38-2) of Jackson Country Central. Norland finished fourth at 160 pounds.
182 pounds — The only medalist in the field is the reigning champion at 170 pounds, Keegan Moore (40-0) of Jackson County Central. Moore and Kyle Lange (17-0) of Royalton/Upsala are the only undefeated competitors.
195 pounds — Hunter Fick (32-1) of West Central Area/Ashby/Evansville, placed fifth in this class last year. He is joined by two other medal-winners in Nathan Brinker (24-0) of Holdingford, who was sixth at 182 pounds, and Cole Hennen (34-2) of Minneota, who finished sixth at 160. Brinker has the only perfect record.
220 pounds — Dillon Card (8-0) of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale returns in this class, looking to improve on last year’s third-place finish. He is the lone returning medalist and the only undefeated competitor.
285 pounds — Three medal-winners return in this class from the 2014 field: Garrett Malstrom (34-0) of Frazee took third place last year; Tanner Welsh (35-3) of Dover-Eyota placed fifth; and Martin Granados (32-2) finished sixth. Malstrom and Logan Nibbe (37-0) of PrairieValley have the only perfect records.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area leads the Class A field with 11 qualifiers. Minneota has nine competitors and Frazee has eight.
Class AA Individual Highlights
106 pounds — There are no returning medalists in this class and of the competitors are undefeated.
113 pounds — Three medal-winners from last year’s 106-pound class move up to compete at 113 pounds. Cole Jones (32-2) of Grand Rapids was runner-up, Keaten Schorr (35-6) of Kasson-Mantorville placed third, and Jake Gliva (23-2) of Simley finished fourth. There are no perfect records.
120 pounds — Garrett Aldrich (37-4) of Albert Lea Area, the reigning champion at 106 pounds, leads the field. He is joined by returning medalist AJ Bethea (26-5) of Hibbing, who placed fifth at 106 pounds. There are no unblemished records.
126 pounds — Three medalists from 2014 move up to compete at 126 pounds: Paul Fitterer (35-2) of CannonFalls, runner-up at 113 pounds; Tanner Vassar (37-3) of Annandale/Maple Lake, third at 120 pounds; and Anthony Jackson (37-5) of Simley, fourth at 113 pounds. No one is undefeated.
132 pounds — Four returning medal-winners compete in this class. Ryan Epps (36-2) of CannonFalls was runner-up at 120 pounds while Dylan Connell (34-2) of ChisagoLakes of Lindstrom placed fifth in that class. David Flynn (40-3) of Scott West and David Brenden (23-4) of Grand Rapids finished third and sixth at 126 pounds, respectively. There are no perfect records.
138 pounds — James Berg (37-4) of New Prague looks to improve on his runner-up finish in this class last year. He is joined by returning qualifiers Logan Axford (35-2) of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove, who placed fifth at 132 pounds, and Kyle Nordstrom (29-9) of Simley, sixth at 132 pounds. No one in this class is undefeated.
145 pounds — Griffin Parriott (41-0) of New Prague, 2014 champion at 132 pounds, leads the field. The only other returning medalist is Nick Mergen (38-1) of Albany, who placed fifth at 138 pounds. Parriott has the only perfect record.
152 pounds — Brady Berge (42-0) of Kasson-Mantorville, who won the gold at 145 pounds last year, returns in search of a new title. Three other medal-winners join in the competition: Logan Kass (22-6) of Benilde-St. Margaret’s of St. Louis Park, took third at 138 pounds; Devin Fitzpatrick (31-2) of Mahtomedi placed fourth at 138 pounds; and Parker Jackson (39-2) of DetroitLakes was fourth at 152 pounds. Berge is the only undefeated wrestler.
160 pounds — Defending champion Andrew Fogarty (41-0) of Scott West pursues another title at 160 pounds. He is the only returning medal-winner and boasts the only unblemished record.
170 pounds — Carter Nielsen (41-0) of Foley, the 2014 runner-up at 152 pounds, is the only returning medalist in this class. Nielsen also has the lone perfect record.
182 pounds — Austin May (31-4) of Zimmerman looks to repeat as champion after claiming gold in this class in 2014. He will be challenged by one other medal-winner in Jackson Striggow (40-1) of Orono, who placed fifth in this weight class last year. There are no perfect records.
195 pounds — In a battle of undefeated competitors, defending champion in this class Lance Benick (39-0) of Totino-Grace leads the field. He will be challenged by two other wrestlers with perfect records: Carson Hagen (37-0) of Worthington and Wyatt Richardson (33-0) of GMLOKS. Benick is the only returning medal-winner in this class.
220 pounds — Jack Ryan (37-4) of Simley looks to improve on his third-place finish in this class last year. Two other returning medalists will compete: Triston Westerlund (40-3) of Albert Lea Area, third at 195 pounds; and Chase O’Connor (37-5) of Kasson-Mantorville, sixth at 195 pounds. No one is undefeated.
285 pounds — James Huwe (27-8) of DetroitLakes is the only returning medal-winner. He is looking to improve on last year’s third-place showing. No wrestlers have a perfect record.
Simley leads the field with 13 qualified wrestlers. South St. Paul and Totino-Grace each have eight qualifiers.
Class AAA Individual Highlights
106 pounds — There are no returning medal-winners and no perfect records in this weight class.
113 pounds — Four medal-winners return in search of a title; Alex Crowe (37-1) of Shakopee, sixth in this class; Rylee Molitor (34-1) of Sartell-St. Stephen, runner-up at 106 pounds; Kyle Rathman (31-4) of Apple Valley, third at 106 pounds; and Jack Bergeland (32-10) of Centennial of Circle Pines, fourth at 106 pounds. No one has a perfect record in this class.
120 pounds — Brent Jones (37-3) of Shakopee, who won at 106 pounds in 2014, leads a field of four returning medalists. The others are all jumping up from 113 pounds. Jamin LeDuc (36-3) of Farmington was the runner-up, Brian Maas (40-3) of Bemidji was third, and Jake Bergeland (36-5) of Centennial was fourth.
126 pounds — Two defending champions move up to compete for the title at 126 pounds. Wade Sullivan (36-5) of Lakeville North took top honors at 113 pounds in 2014. Mitchell McKee (40-2) of St. Michael-Albertville claimed the gold at 120 pounds. George Farmah (29-4) of Eastview of Apple Valley, runner-up in this weight class, is the other returning medalist. There are no undefeated competitors.
132 pounds — Five medal-winners return in this field: Adam Hedin (41-0) of Rosemount, fourth in this weight class; Austin Brenner (30-6) of St. Cloud Tech, fifth at 113 pounds; Sam Bennyhoff (37-2) of Mound Westonka, fifth at 120 pounds; Dylan Sogge (23-7) of Prior Lake, sixth at 120 pounds; and Mike Matheson (27-14) of Centennial, sixth at 126 pounds. Hedin boasts the only unblemished record.
138 pounds — Ben Brancale (39-1) of Eden Prairie is the highest returning medal-winner in this weight class. He placed second at 138 pounds in 2014. Brancale will be joined by two other medalists: Logan Saltou (38-1) of Rochester John Marshall, fifth at 126 pounds; and Grant Bolduan (35-7) of White Bear Lake Area, sixth at 132 pounds. No competitor has a perfect record.
145 pounds — Six 2014 medal-winners compete for a title at 145 pounds: Brock Morgan (32-8) of Apple Valley, third in this class; Ben Donnelly (35-7) of Woodbury, fourth in this class; Taylor Venz (35-6) of Farmington, third at 126 pounds; James Pleski (38-2) of Forest Lake, third at 138 pounds; Miles Patton (37-3) of Rochester Mayo, fourth at 138 pounds; and Elijah Muedeking (30-8) of White Bear Lake Area, fifth at 138 pounds. No one is undefeated.
152 pounds — Carson Brolsma (39-0) of Osseo leads the field. He was runner-up at 145 pounds in 2014. The other returning medal-winner is Brandon Moen (38-3) of Owatonna, who took third place at 132 pounds. Brolsma is the only competitor with a perfect record.
160 pounds — Four returning medalists compete for a title. The 2014 champion at 152 pounds, Owen Webster (35-2) of Shakopee, is joined by Lucas Westrich (37-3) of Lakeville North, runner-up at 160 pounds, and Garrett Beaman (39-1) of Henry Sibley of MendotaHeights, runner-up at 170 pounds. Matt Njos (34-3) of Anoka, who placed fourth at 160 pounds last year, rounds out the field. No qualifiers are undefeated.
170 pounds — Mark Hall (38-0) of Apple Valley, the defending champion at 170 pounds, is the only returning medalist in this class. Hall is also the only undefeated competitor.
182 pounds — There are no returning qualifiers in this class. No one enters with a perfect record.
195 pounds — Bobby Steveson (32-1) of Apple Valley, 2014 champion at 182 pounds, is the top returning qualifier. One other competitor won a medal last year: Tristyn Hanson (36-1) of Lakeville North was fifth at 195 pounds. No wrestlers in this class are undefeated.
220 pounds — Three 2014 medal-winners at 195 pounds move up to compete for a title. Gable Steveson (39-0) of Apple Valley, Rylee Streifel (37-2) of PriorLake and Jake Briggs (31-5) of St. Michael-Albertville took runner-up, third- and fourth-place honors, respectively. Adam Treptau (36-1) of Buffalo/West Lutheran is the other returning medal-winner, placing sixth at 220 pounds. Steveson has the only perfect record.
285 pounds — Alex Hart (31-0) of Prior Lake, the reigning champion at 220 pounds, pursues a new title as a heavyweight. He is the lone returning medalist. Hart and Andrew Piehl (35-0) of Rogers are the only undefeated competitors.
St. Michael-Albertville qualified 14 wrestlers, Willmar qualified ten and Apple Valley has nine.
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 XcelEnergyCenter.
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.