State Wrestling Tournament
All three teams, 17 individuals return to defend titles
All three of the 2015 team champions return to defend their respective titles: Minneota in Class A, Simley of Inver Grove Heights in Class AA, and Apple Valley in Class AAA. The Minneota Vikings are looking for their second consecutive crown. Simley is seeking its third consecutive title and Apple Valley is working toward its 11th.
Minnetonka (Class AAA) is the only team making its debut appearance. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Apple Valley returns for its 34th consecutive and 35th overall appearance.
In the individual competition, seventeen champions return for more gold medals — eight in Class AAA, four in Class AA, and five in Class A.
The 2016 State Wrestling Tournament opens Thursday, February 25, and runs through Saturday, February 27 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.
This is the eighth 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
The defending champions from Minneota (Section 3) lead a field of four returning teams. The Vikings, who enter as the No. 2 seed, are making their second consecutive appearance under this name and their seventh overall. They made one additional appearance as a co-op with Lincoln HI of Ivanhoe in 2014.
The three other returning teams are West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville (Section 6), Pierz (Section 7), and Frazee (Section 8).
The Knights of West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville, who are unseeded this year, are making their second consecutive and overall appearance under this name. They placed sixth in 2015. West Central Area, which is located in Barrett, made one additional appearance in 1996.
The Frazee Hornets are making their fourth consecutive and 23rd overall appearance. They are seeded No. 3 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 No. 4-seeded Pierz Pioneers, who fell in the consolation semifinals last year, are making their sixth consecutive and 13th overall appearance. If they win it would be their third championship; they won previous back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.
The other teams in the Class A field are Sibley East of Arlington (Section 4), Caledonia (Section 1), Kenyon-Wanamingo (Section 2), and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (Section 5).
The Knights of Kenyon-Wanamingo, who are the top seed this year, return to tournament action for the first time since 2009. This is their third appearance overall. Unseeded Caledonia, which includes students from Houston, is making its first appearance as a co-op and its fifth overall. The Warriors made their last appearance in 1984 and claimed one previous championship in 1970.
The Fighting Saints of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, who enter as the No. 5 seed, are making their third appearance. They made their last appearance and won their only championship in 2009. Sibley East returns to the tournament after a one-year absence. The unseeded Wolverines are making their sixth appearance overall.
The 9 a.m. Thursday Class A seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication are: West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville (23-6 No. 8) vs. No. 2 Minneota (26-1 No. 1); Sibley East (31-8 No. 7) vs. No. 3 Frazee (20-2 No. 3); Caledonia (16-6 unranked) vs. No. 1 Kenyon-Wanamingo (31-3 No. 2); No. 5 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (16-1 No. 6) vs. No. 4 Pierz (26-6 No. 7).
Class AA Team Highlights
The Spartans of Simley (Section 4) return as the two-time defending champions. This is the ninth consecutive and 22nd appearance for the Spartans, who are the No. 2 seed this year. If they win, it would be their 12th championship. In addition to the past two years, 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 2015 field: Foley (Section 6); Scott West which includes students from Belle Plaine, Jordan, and Holy Family Academy of Belle Plaine (Section 2); Perham (Section 8); and Totino-Grace of Fridley (Section 5).
The No. 3-seeded Foley Falcons are looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place showing. This is their ninth consecutive and 23rd overall appearance and they won previous titles in 1989, 1993 and 1994. The Eagles of Totino-Grace, who are making their fourth consecutive and 14th overall appearance, placed fourth last year. They are not seeded this year.
Scott West, the No. 4 seed, is making its third consecutive appearance and its 16th overall. The Panthers claimed third-place honors in 2015. The unseeded Yellowjackets of Perham are returning for their second consecutive appearance and their ninth overall. They claimed consolation honors last year.
Mora (Section 7), Kasson-Mantorville (Section 1), and Wabasso/Red Rock Central (Section 3), are the other teams competing in the Class AA field. Unseeded Mora is making its second appearance, but first since 2009. The top-seeded KoMets of Kasson-Mantorville return after a one-year hiatus to make their ninth appearance. They KoMets are looking for their second championship; they won their first in 2013.
The final returning team is Wabasso/Red Rock Central. The Bobcats are making their second appearance under this name, but first since 2011. They enter this year’s tournament as the No. 5 seed. Wabasso made two additional appearances in 2004 and 2006. Red Rock Central, which is located in Lamberton, made one previous appearance as a co-op with Westbrook-Walnut Grove in 2001.
The 11 a.m. Thursday Class AA seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication are: Totino-Grace (18-4 No. 12) vs. No. 2 Simley (25-6 No. 2); Perham (24-6 No. 8) vs. No. 3 Foley (30-1 No. 5); Mora (24-4 No. 9) vs. No. 1 Kasson-Mantorville (22-0 No. 1); No. 5 Wabasso/Red Rock Central (30-2 No. 7) vs. No. 4 Scott West (15-5 No. 6).
Class AAA Team Highlights
Apple Valley (Section 3) returns as the 10-time defending champion. The Eagles, who are the top seed, are making their 34th consecutive and 35th overall tournament appearance. In addition to the past 10 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 5) are returning for their 18th consecutive and 26th 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 runner-up honors in 2015.
Three additional teams return from the 2015 qualifying field. Centennial of Circle Pines (Section 4) is making its second consecutive and 12th overall appearance. The unseeded Cougars fell in the consolation semifinals in 2015. Farmington (Section 1) also returns. The Tigers, who are the No. 4 seed this year, are making their second consecutive and overall appearance. They’re hoping to improve on last year’s sixth-place showing. The final returning team is Willmar (Section 8). The Cardinals, seeded No. 5 this year, placed fourth in 2015. They are making their fifth consecutive and seventh overall appearance.
The other teams competing in Class AAA are Minnetonka (Section 6), Anoka (Section 7), and Hastings (Section 3). The Hastings Raiders, who are not seeded this year, return to tournament action for the first time since 2014. They are making their 13th appearance and are searching for their second title. They won their first in 1996.
No 3-seeded Anoka is making its 19th appearance, but first since 2007. The Tornadoes won previous championships in 1977, 1978, and 1990. The Minnetonka Skippers, who are unseeded, 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: Minnetonka (17-4 No. unranked) vs. No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville (19-3 No. 2); Centennial (18-4 unranked) vs. No. 3 Anoka (24-1 No. 3); Hastings (26-9 No. 8) vs. No. 1 Apple Valley (17-1 No. 1); No. 5 Willmar (19-1 No. 7) vs. No. 4 Farmington (21-8 No. 5).
Class A Individual Highlights
106 pounds — Jeron Matson (40-1) of Kenyon-Wanamingo is the only returning medalist. He placed fourth in this weight class last year. There are no perfect records.
113 pounds — Two medal-winners return from last year’s 106-pound class: Ethan Cota (42-1) of Kenyon-Wanamingo, who won the gold, and Mark Buringa (38-0) of St. Charles who placed fifth. Buringa, Hunter Burnett (37-0) of Pipestone Area, and Jace Geving (37-0) of Deer River have perfect records.
120 pounds — This class features five returning medalists. Michael Suda (32-0) of Pipestone Area was runner-up at 120 pounds last year. Noah Bauer (28-2) of Pine Island and Tanner Pasvogel (29-4) of Sibley East of Arlington, were last year’s champion and runner-up at 113 pounds, respectively. Jake Nohre (39-2) of West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville and Austin DeVlaeminck (33-5) of Minneota were runner-up and sixth place at 106 pounds. Three competitors are undefeated: Suda, Noah Becker (36-0) of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville, and Esteban Tiegan (8-0) of Spectrum of Elk River.
126 pounds — Tanner Reetz (32-3) of Frazee, champion at 120 pounds in 2015, leads the field. The only other returning medal-winner is Rylan Molinaro (29-4) of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, who placed fourth at 113 pounds last year. No one in this class is undefeated.
132 pounds — Two medalists return: Brandon Ortman (35-3) of Pierz placed sixth at 120 pounds; and Jacob Tvinnereim (34-6) of Jackson County Central placed sixth at 113 pounds. There are no perfect records in this class.
138 pounds — Two 2015 medalists in this weight class return in pursuit of a championship: runner-up Ryan Keach (34-6) of Dover-Eyota, and Jake Mandt (27-3) of Chatfield, who placed fifth. Other returning medal-winners are: Grant Jepson (35-1) of Frazee, sixth at 132 pounds; Kyle Hennen (25-1) of Minneota, third at 126 pounds; and Brendon Coyer (33-5) of Osakis, fifth at 126 pounds. No one in this class is undefeated.
145 pounds — Tom Tellers (34-5) of United North Central and Jeremiah Colon (35-5) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area, both medalists at 138 pounds last year, move up one class to compete for a title. They placed fifth and sixth last year, respectively. No competitors have a perfect record.
152 pounds — Dietrich Balsbaugh (39-1) of Trinity School at River Ridge of Eagan, returns in this class, looking to improve on last year’s runner-up finish. He is joined by Kolton Eischens (37-2) of Pierz, who placed fifth at 152 pounds, and Damon Schmalzreidt (11-1) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area, who placed fourth at 145 pounds. There are no perfect records.
160 pounds — Five returning medal-winners will compete for the gold. Brad Kroll (35-2) of Royalton/Upsala was runner-up in this weight class last year while Noah Landrus (39-1) of Aitkin placed fourth. Moving up from 152 pounds are fourth-place medalist Justin Dravis (36-5) of Park Rapids Area and Leo Buysse (24-3) of Minneota, who placed sixth. Alex Erpelding (37-2) of Staples Motley claimed fifth at 145 pounds in 2015. Jacob Winjum (21-0) of Caledonia is the only undefeated competitor.
170 pounds — Jake Wentzlaff (41-0) of Sibley East of Arlington, runner-up at 182 pounds last year, and Ted Androli (36-6) of Kenyon-Wanamingo, third place at 160 pounds, are the only returning medalists in the field. Wentzlaff and Ethan Kimber (13-0) of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale both have perfect records.
182 pounds — Keegan Moore (30-0) of Jackson County Central, the reigning champion in this weight class, returns in search of another gold medal. He is the lone returning medalist and the only undefeated wrestler in the field.
195 pounds — Jonah Lange (32-0) of Frazee is the only returning medal-winner, claiming sixth place at 182 pounds in 2015. Lange also has the only perfect record.
220 pounds — Defending champion Manuel Garcia (38-2) of BOLD of Olivia, looks to repeat in this weight class. Karter VanHeuvein (35-4) of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg is the only other returning medalist; he placed fifth at 195 pounds last year. Tyler Oberg (31-0) of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton is the only undefeated competitor.
285 pounds — Tanner Welsh (38-2) of Dover-Eyota, third place in this class a year ago, returns in search of a gold medal. He is the only returning competitor and no one is undefeated in this weight class.
Pierz and Kenyon-Wanamingo lead the Class A field with 11 qualifiers apiece. Frazee and Minneota have 10 qualifiers each.
Class AA Individual Highlights
106 pounds — There are no returning medalists in this class and Ben Naddy (37-0) of Ottertail Central boasts the only undefeated record.
113 pounds — Two medal-winners from last year’s 106-pound class move up to compete at 113 pounds. Garrett Vos (33-2) of Waconia placed fifth and Hser Eh Pwae (35-1) of Worthington finished sixth. There are no perfect records.
120 pounds — Three medal-winners return from last year’s tournament: Jake Gliva (40-1) of Simley, runner-up at 113 pounds; Parker Huss (32-7) of Scott West, fourth at 106 pounds; and Ben Nelson (36-4) of Perham, sixth in this weight class. There are no unblemished records.
126 pounds —Keaten Schorr (36-7) of Kasson-Mantorville, defending champion at 113 pounds, leads a group of four returning medalists. The others are: Zach Glazier (36-6) of Albert Lea Area, third at 106 pounds; Tucker Sjomeling (40-0) of Delano, third at 113 pounds; and Jackson Stauffacher (37-4) of Scott West, fourth at 113 pounds. Sjomeling boasts the only undefeated record.
132 pounds — Garrett Aldrich (39-4) of Albert Lea Area, who struck gold at 120 pounds last year, is the highest returning qualifier. Five additional medal-winners will compete in this class: Tyler Wagener (30-5) of Waconia, runner-up at 120 pounds; Tanner Vassar (35-6) of Annandale/Maple Lake, runner-up at 126 pounds; Trevor Oberg (34-4) of South St. Paul, third at 126 pounds; Morgan Fuenffinger (38-0) of Hibbing, fifth at 126 pounds; and Jack Bourgeois (34-6) of Monticello, fifth in this weight class. Fuenffinger has the only perfect record.
138 pounds — Anthony Jackson (36-4) of Simley is the only returning medalist. He placed fourth at 126 pounds in 2015. No one in this class is undefeated.
145 pounds — Three medalists return: Ryan Epps (35-0) of Cannon Falls, fourth at 132 pounds; Logan Axford (38-0) of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook- Walnut Grove, fourth at 138 pounds; and Patrick Kennedy (23-4) of Kasson-Mantorville, sixth at 132 pounds. Epps and Axford have the only perfect records.
152 pounds — Griffin Parriott (35-1) of New Prague, who won the gold at 145 pounds last year, returns in search of a new title. Two other medal-winners join in the competition: Devin Fitzpatrick (38-22) of Mahtomedi, runner-up in this weight class; and Conner Denman (24-4) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, fifth at 145 pounds. There are no perfect records in this class.
160 pounds — Defending champion at 152 pounds, Brady Berge (41-0) of Kasson-Mantorville, pursues another title at 160 pounds. He also boasts the only unblemished record. Solomon Nielsen (38-3) of Luverne is the only other returning medalist; he placed fourth at 152 pounds last year.
170 pounds — Three medalists return in this class: Jared Florell (38-2) of Totino-Grace, runner-up; Ryan Duffy (37-3) of South St. Paul, third at 160 pounds; and Mason Rutt (32-6) of Tri-City United of Montgomery, sixth. There are no perfect records in this class.
182 pounds — Aaron Berge (36-6) of Kasson-Mantorville is the highest-returning medal-winner; he placed fifth at 160 pounds last year. He will be challenged by one other medalist in Spencer Elwell (38-3) of Foley, who placed sixth in this weight class last year. There are no unblemished records.
195 pounds — Noah Ryan (39-3) of Kasson-Mantorville is the only returning medalist and there were no perfect records. Ryan placed fifth at 182 pounds in 2015.
220 pounds — Kevin Kneisl (38-0) of Delano looks to improve on his runner-up finish from last year. He will be challenged by Brent Chambers (29-4) of Princeton, who placed sixth. No one is undefeated.
285 pounds — Three medal-winners from this weight class return: James Huwe (38-1) of Detroit Lakes, runner-up; Sam Anderson (18-2) of Totino-Grace, fourth; and Josiah Schatz (11-1) of Scott West, fifth. No wrestlers have a perfect record.
Simley leads the field with 10 qualified wrestlers. Kasson-Mantorville has nine and Perham follows with eight.
Class AAA Individual Highlights
106 pounds — Two medal-winners return at 106 pounds in pursuit of a championship. Aaron Cashman (40-0) of Mound Westonka and Israel Navarro (31-1) of Willmar placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at this weight in 2015. Cashman is the only undefeated competitor.
113 pounds — Victor Gliva (38-1) of Farmington, runner-up at 106 pounds last year, leads the field. He is joined by Nate Larson (35-5) of Apple Valley, who claimed third place at 106 pounds in 2015. Dylan Droegemueller (38-0) of Champlin Park is the only competitor with a perfect record.
120 pounds — Two defending champions move up to compete for the title at 120 pounds. Rylee Molitor (36-2) of Sartell-St. Stephen took top honors at 113 pounds and Peyton Robb (25-3) of Owatonna claimed the gold at 106 pounds. Zach Smith (19-2) of Prior Lake, who placed fifth at 113 pounds, is the other returning medalist. There are no undefeated competitors.
126 pounds — Brent Jones (36-1) of Shakopee, who won at 120 pounds in 2015, leads a field of three returning medalists. The other two are jumping up from 113 pounds. Tyler Eischens (38-2) of Anoka was last year’s runner-up and Kyle Rathman (35-6) of Apple Valley took third place. No qualifiers have a perfect record.
132 pounds — Adam Hedin (37-2) of Rosemount returns to defend his title at 132 pounds. He is joined by four other medalists: Jamin LeDuc (32-8) of Farmington, runner-up at 120 pounds; Tanner Day (32-3) of Mounds View, fourth at 120 pounds; Ty Okada (31-6) of East Ridge of Woodbury, sixth at 120 pounds; and Alex Crowe (32-2) of Shakopee, fourth at 113 pounds. No one is undefeated.
138 pounds — Mitchell McKee (42-0) of St. Michael-Albertville, the reigning champion at 126 pounds, is the top returning qualifier. Two other medalists at 126 pounds move up as well: Tyler Shilson (39-3) of Centennial of Circle Pines, who placed fourth; and Tanner Cole (25-6) of Owatonna, who placed fifth. McKee is the only competitor with a perfect record.
145 pounds — Four 2015 medal-winners compete for a title at 145 pounds: Austin Brenner (32-2) of St. Cloud Tech, runner-up at 132 pounds; Wade Sullivan (34-5) of Lakeville North, third at 126 pounds; Ryan Reid (37-3) of Mound Westonka, sixth at 138 pounds; and Isaac Loosbrock (37-5) of Chaska/Chanhassen, who placed sixth at 145 pounds in Class AA in 2015. There are no perfect records.
152 pounds — Brenden Olevson (39-0) of Chaska/Chanhassen looks to improve on his sixth-place finish in this class in 2015. He is the only undefeated competitor. Two other qualifiers won medals last year: Jake Allar (38-3) of St. Michael-Albertville, the runner-up at 138 pounds; and Kenny O’Neil (30-6) of Prior Lake, who took fifth place at 145 pounds.
160 pounds — Colten Carlson (38-1) of Willmar is the only returning qualifier in this class. He placed fourth at 152 pounds in 2015. No competitors are undefeated.
170 pounds — Mark Hall (41-0) of Apple Valley, the defending champion at 170 pounds, leads the field in this class. Also returning is this class is Cole Schreder (38-1) of St. Cloud Tech, who placed fifth in 2015. Hall, who will become the first six-time champion in state tournament history if he wins this year, is the only undefeated competitor.
182 pounds — Lucas Jeske (40-1) of St. Michael-Albertville, 2015 champion at 152 pounds, is the top returning qualifier. Taylor Venz (39-2) of Farmington, who placed third at 145 pounds, and Jonny Zarnke (30-6) of Chaska/Chanhassen, who took fourth at 182 pounds in Class AA, round out the field. No one enters with a perfect record.
195 pounds — Six medal-winners, all from other weight classes, compete for a title at 195 pounds. Evan Ronson (36-4) of St. Michael-Albertville was runner-up at 170 pounds and Brandon Moen (38-2) of Owatonna took third place at 152 pounds. Two 2015 medalists at 220 pounds compete here: Adam Treptau (27-4) of Buffalo/West Lutheran and Jeremy Rodman (26-1) of Anoka placed third and fourth, respectively. Mark Vaith (31-6) of Hastings claimed fourth at 182 pounds last year; Samuel Grove (37-2) of Moorhead placed fourth at 160 pounds. No qualifiers enter competition undefeated.
220 pounds — Gable Stevenson (39-0) of Apple Valley, the reigning champion in this weight class, pursues another gold medal. He is the only competitor with a perfect record. The other returning qualifier is Evan Foster (35-6) of St. Michael-Albertville, who placed fourth at 195 pounds.
285 pounds — Three 2015 medal-winners return to this weight class to compete for a championship: Andrew Piehl (39-0) of Rogers, placed third last year; Brady Reigstad (35-3) of Willmar took fourth; and Tim Duffy (30-6) of Eastview of Apple Valley, was fifth. Piehl is the only qualifier who is undefeated.
St Michael-Albertville qualified 11 wrestlers and Hastings qualified 10. Anoka and Apple Valley have nine qualifiers apiece.
The Schedule and Ticket Information
This year’s schedule features the team tournament running all day on Thursday, February 25. The action starts with the Class A and Class AAA quarterfinals at 9 a.m. They will be followed by the Class AA team quarterfinals at 11 a.m., which will be run simultaneously with the Class A and Class AAA consolation semifinals.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, all three classes will wrestle in the team championship semifinals and Class AA 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 26, the Class AA individual first round begins at 9 a.m. The Class AAA individual first round starts at 11 a.m., followed by the Class A individual first round at 1 p.m. On Friday evening, the Class AA individual championship quarterfinals begin at 4:30 p.m. The Class AAA and Class A 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.