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High School Tournament Time

State Wrestling Tournament Preview

All three teams return to defend titles; Twenty-one individual champions return; New three-day format to debut

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All three of the 2010 team champions return to defend their respective titles: the Jackson County Central Huskies in Class A; the Simley Spartans in Class AA; and the Apple Valley Eagles in Class AAA. Jackson County Central is looking for its second consecutive title, Simley of Inver Grove Heights is looking for its fourth consecutive title, and Apple Valley is seeking its sixth consecutive title.

All of this year’s qualifying teams have previous tournament experience. Monticello, Hopkins, and White Bear Lake Area are both making their second appearances, while Apple Valley is making its 29th consecutive appearance and its 30th overall.

In the individual competition, 21 champions return for more gold medals -- nine in Class AAA, six in Class AA, and six in Class A.

The 2011 State Wrestling Tournament opens Thursday, March 3, and runs through Saturday, March 5, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The new three-day format features all of the team dual competition on Thursday, followed by exclusive individual competition Friday and Saturday.

This is the third year that the teams have been seeded. The 16 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 four seeds were selected. In conference calls with all eight head coaches of each class, League Associate Director and Tournament Director Craig Perry announced the top four seeds and then conducted a blind draw of the four remaining teams to establish the opponent for the seeded teams.

Class A Team Highlights

Six teams that competed in the 2010 tournament, including the defending champions from Jackson County Central, return to this year’s field. The Huskies are also the top-seeded team this year. The other returning teams are: Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (Section 4); Frazee (Section 8); Border West, which is a co-op between Wheaton, Herman-Norcross, and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (Section 6); Minneota (Section 3); and Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Section 1).

The Frazee Hornets, who are the No. 3 seed this year, are making their sixth consecutive and 19th overall appearance. They earned runner-up honors in 2010 and are in the hunt for their fourth title. They won previously in 1992, 1999, and 2002.

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial returns for its third consecutive and fourth overall appearance under this name. The Knights, who earned consolation honors in 2010, also made one additional appearance as a co-op with Mankato Loyola in 2004.

The Buccaneers of Border West lost in the consolation semifinals for the past two years and are making their third consecutive and overall appearance under this name. This is the 11th appearance for Wheaton, which made appearances in 1993 and 1994, and six additional appearances as a co-op with Herman-Norcross. As a co-op with Herman-Norcross, Wheaton’s last appearance was in 2007. That program also claimed a state title in 1996.

The Cougars of Zumbrota-Mazeppa, who placed fourth last year, are making their second consecutive and sixth overall appearance.

Minneota is the final returning team. The Vikings enter this year’s tournament as the No. 4 seed and they’re hoping to improve on last year’s third-place showing. This year marks their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance.

Kimball Area (Section 5) and Pierz (Section 7) round out the Class A field. The Cubs of Kimball Area, who are the No. 2 seed this year, are making their fourth appearance. Their last was in 1998. Pierz is making its eighth tournament appearance, but first since 2006. If the Pioneers win it would be their third title. They won previous back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005.

The 9:00 a.m. Thursday Class A seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication: No. 2 Kimball Area (31-1 No. 3) vs. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (20-1 No. 6); No. 3 Frazee (20-3 No. 2) vs. Border West (24-5 No. 9); No. 1 Jackson County Central (24-1 No. 1) vs. Pierz (22-5 No. 12); No. 4 Minneota (23-5 No. 4) vs. Zumbrota-Mazeppa (24-5 No. 8).

Class AA Team Highlights

The Spartans of Simley (Section 4) return as the three-time defending champions. This is the fourth consecutive and 17th overall appearance for the Spartans, who are the No. 1 seed this year. In addition to this past three years, Simley also won championships in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1992.

Four other teams also return from the 2010 field: Kasson-Mantorville (Section 1); Scott West, a co-op between Belle Plaine, Jordan, and Holy Family Academy of Belle Plaine (Section 2); Foley (Section 6); and the co-op of Thief River Falls/Goodridge (Section 8).

Foley and Scott West are both making fourth consecutive appearances. The Foley Falcons are the No. 4 seed this year and are looking to improve on last year’s runner-up showing. This is their 18th overall appearance and they won previous titles in 1989, 1993, and 1994. The Scott West Panthers, who placed sixth last year, enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed. This is their 12th appearance.

Thief River Falls/Goodridge and Kasson-Mantorville are both making their second consecutive appearances. The Prowlers of Thief River Falls/Goodridge are making their third overall appearance. They lost in the consolation semifinals of the 2010 tournament. The KoMets of Kasson-Mantorville, who are making their fifth overall appearance, finished in third place last year. They enter this year’s tournament as the No. 2 seed.

The co-op of Wabasso/Red Rock Central (Section 3), which also includes students from Cedar Mountain of Morgan, is making its first appearance under this name. Wabasso made two additional appearances in 2004 and 2006, and Red Rock Central, which is located in Lamberton, made one additional appearance as a co-op with Westbrook-Walnut Grove in 2001.

Grand Rapids and Monticello are the final teams competing in the Class AA field. The Grand Rapids Thunderhawks are making their 11th appearance, but first since 2007, and the Monticello Magic are making their second appearance, but first since 1981.

The 9:00 a.m. Thursday Class AA seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication: No. 2 Kasson-Mantorville (27-3 No. 2) vs. Wabasso/Red Rock Central (24-2 No. 5); No. 3 Scott West (22-0 No. 3) vs. Monticello (23-2 No. 6); No. 1 Simley (28-2 No. 1) vs. Grand Rapids (19-8 No. 11); No. 4 Foley (25-4 No. 4) vs. Thief River Falls/Goodridge (18-6 No. 9).

Class AAA Team Highlights

Apple Valley (Section 3) returns as the five-time defending champion. The Eagles, who are the No. 1 seed, are making their 29th consecutive and 30th overall tournament appearance. In addition to the past five years, they also won previous team championships in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Two other teams also return from the 2010 qualifying field. St. Michael-Albertville (Section 7) returns for its 13th consecutive and 21st overall appearance. The Knights placed second last year and are the No. 2 seed this year. If they win it would be their seventh title. They won previously in 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

White Bear Lake Area (Section 4) is making its second consecutive and overall appearance. The Bears lost in the consolation semifinals on the 2010 tournament.

The other teams competing in Class AAA are: Centennial of Circle Pines (Section 5); Albert Lea Area (Section 1), which includes athletes from Glenville-Emmons and Alden-Conger; Hopkins (Section 6); Prior Lake (Section 2); and Bemidji (Section 8).

Centennial and Albert Lea Area are both returning after a one-year absence. The Cougars of Centennial are returning for their ninth appearance, while the Tigers of Albert Lea Area are making their 11th. The Tigers, who are the No. 3 seed this year, won previous championships in 1977 and 1981.

The Hopkins Royals are making their second appearance, but first since 1989, and the Prior Lake Lakers are returning for their third appearance, but first since 2008. The Lakers enter this year’s tournament as the No. 4 seed.

The Bemidji Lumberjacks are the final qualifying team in Class AAA. This is their sixth appearance; their last was in 2005.

The 11:00 a.m. Thursday Class AAA seeded quarterfinal pairings and the team records followed by the final rankings of The Guillotine wrestling publication: No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville (31-4 No. 3) vs. Centennial (21-12 No. 11); No. 3 Albert Lea Area (27-3 No. 4) vs. Hopkins (19-6 unranked); No. 1 Apple Valley (33-1 No. 1) vs. White Bear Lake Area (20-5 No. 10); No. 4 Prior Lake (22-10 No. 7) vs. Bemidji (21-9 unranked).

Class A Individual Highlights

103 pounds -- There are no returning medalists and no perfect records.

112 pounds -- Isaac Novacek (38-1) of Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, last year’s champion at 103 pounds, leads the field. Zack Kuhns (34-5) of Maple River of Mapleton is the only other returning qualifier. He placed fifth at 103 pounds last year. No one has a perfect record.

119 pounds -- Three medalists return at this weight: Will McCarthy (38-3) of Border West, third in this weight class; Mitchel Lexvold (38-4) of Kenyon-Wanamingo, runner-up at 103 pounds; and Taner Trembley of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (31-4), fourth at 103 pounds. There are no perfect records.

125 pounds -- This weight class features five returning medal-winners: Gus McCarthy (38-4) of Border West, runner-up at 103 pounds; Christian Skillings (36-2) of Minneota, runner-up at 119 pounds; Marcus Hamer, fourth at 103 pounds; Tanner Ellenberg (38-3) of Frazee, fifth at 119 pounds; and Jake Wirtjes (32-5) of Blue Earth Area, sixth at 119 pounds. There are no unblemished records.

130 pounds -- Hayden Zillmer (39-1) of Crookston, champion at 112 pounds last year, is the highest returning qualifier. The only other returning medalist is Beau Buysse (35-2) of Minneota; he placed third at 125 pounds last year. No one has a perfect record.

135 pounds -- Bronson Steuber (29-3) of Jackson County Central returns in search of more gold. He took top honors at 125 pounds last year. Brett Schwartz (31-7) of LeSueur-Henderson, who placed sixth at 130 pounds in 2010, also returns. No one has a perfect record.

140 pounds -- Clint Poster (38-0) of Pierz and Larry Bomstad (38-1) of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City lead this year’s field. Poster placed third at 135 pounds last year and Bomstad placed fifth at 130 pounds. Poster boasts the only perfect record.

145 pounds -- Curt Maas (33-0) of Medford, who won the title at 135 pounds last year, leads the field of three returning medalists. The others are Darick Vancura (35-7) of Jackson County Central, third at 130 pounds, and Grant Hegge (40-1) of Southland of Adams, sixth in this weight class. Maas has the only unblemished record.

152 pounds -- The 2010 runner-up at 140 pounds, Brett Pfarr (39-0) of LeSueur-Henderson, leads this year’s qualifiers. Two other medalists also return: Anthony Caputo (38-0) of Crookston, fourth at 145 pounds, and Alex Steffel (33-7) of BOLD of Olivia, fifth in this weight class. Caputo, Pfarr, and Joe Franta (36-0) of Blue Earth Area all boast perfect records.

160 pounds -- Four 2010 medal-winners, led by defending champion Cooper Moore (36-1) of Jackson County Central, return in this weight class. The other returning medal-winners are: Stephen Erlandson (35-1) of Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah, runner-up in this weight class; Sean Huls (29-5) of Pierz, third in this weight class; and Alex Cooling (31-2) of Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther, fifth at 145 pounds. There are no perfect records.

171 pounds -- Defending champion Josh Willaert (36-2) of LeSueur-Henderson is the only returning medalist in this weight class. No one enters undefeated.

189 pounds -- Kody Sorenson (40-1) of Frazee and Chad Matthees (41-2) of Zumbrota-Mazeppa are the only returning medal-winners. Sorenson placed fourth in this weight class in 2010, and Matthees was fifth at 171 pounds. There are no perfect records.

215 pounds -- Two medal-winners from 2010 return in this field: John Gorter (38-1) of Pipestone Area was the runner-up in this weight class, and Jordan Phibbs (32-8) of Jackson County Central was third in the heavyweight class. No one has an unblemished record.

Heavyweight -- Alex Yeager (33-3) of Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, who earned runner-up honors in this weight class in 2010, is one of two returning medalists. Cody Torkelson (30-11) of Osakis is the other; he placed fifth in this class last year. No one has a perfect record.

Frazee leads the Class A field with 11 qualifiers. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City qualified 10 wrestlers, and Minneota qualified nine.

Class AA Individual Highlights

103 pounds -- Kyle Gliva (37-1) of Simley, who earned runner-up honors in this weight class last year, is the only returning medalist. Skyler Petry (38-0) of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton boasts the only unblemished record.

112 pounds -- Nate Thomas (22-2) of Kasson-Mantorville, who took championship honors at 103 pounds last year, leads this class. Dru Strand (33-10) of Adrian Area is the only other returning medal-winner. He placed fourth at 103 pounds in 2010. No one enters the tournament undefeated.

119 pounds -- Mike Fuenffinger (34-0) of Hibbing returns in search of more gold. He earned top honors at 112 pounds last year and has this year’s only perfect record. Four additional 2010 medalists also return: John Weeding (39-1) of Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley, third at 103 pounds; Jacoby Bergeron (41-2) of Thief River Falls/Goodridge, fifth at 112 pounds; Jordan Hanan (24-7) of Annandale/Maple Lake, sixth at 103 pounds; and Mitch Dunlap (31-7) of Foley, sixth at 112 pounds.

125 pounds -- Joey Munos (37-0) of South St. Paul, who won the 119-pound title last year, is the only returning medalist. He also has the only perfect record.

130 pounds -- Four medal-winners return: Drake Borsgard (33-1) of Windom Area/Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin, runner-up at 119 pounds; Matt Nelson (36-1) of Big Lake, runner-up at 125 pounds; Jake Kostik (31-2) of North Branch, third at 119 pounds; and Coltan Laganiere (26-12) of Kasson-Mantorville, fourth at 125 pounds. No one has a perfect record.

135 pounds -- Garret Garness (40-2) of Kasson-Mantorville and Zach Frederich (39-1) of Montgomery-Lonsdale/Le Center are the only returning medalists. Garness was the runner-up at 130 pounds last year and Frederich was sixth at 130 pounds. No one has a perfect record.

140 pounds -- Jake Short (39-3) of Simley jumps two weight classes in his quest for more gold. He took championship honors at 130 pounds last year. Dustin Ellsworth (26-3) of St. Paul Harding, who placed fourth at 135 pounds in 2010, also returns. There are no perfect records.

145 pounds -- Three medal-winners return: Nick Wanzek (40-3) of Simley, runner-up in this weight class; Shawn Hatlestad (38-1) of New London-Spicer, third at 140 pounds; and Joey Stadnick (35-3) of Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran, fourth in this weight class. No competitors enter with a perfect record.

152 pounds -- The 2010 champion at 145 pounds, Tyler Mergen (40-0) of Monticello, returns in search of more gold. He also has the only perfect record. Two additional medal-winners also return: Dan Dick (32-6) of Simley, runner-up at 140 pounds; and Jesse Munos (37-3) of South St. Paul, fifth at 145 pounds.

160 pounds -- Micah Barnes (33-3) of Simley, last year’s runner-up finisher at 152 pounds, is back. Taylor Lewandowski (37-4) of Foley and Jamison Evans (37-5) of Grand Rapids also return. Lewandowski was sixth in this weight class last year, and Evans was sixth at 152 pounds. No one has a perfect record.

171 pounds -- Sebastian Gardner (38-2) of Monticello, runner-up in this weight class last year, leads the field. He is joined by returning medal-winner Pat Faber (35-3) of Fridley, who finished sixth at 160 pounds last year. No one has a perfect record.

189 pounds -- Broc Berge (33-1) of Kasson-Mantorville, last year’s fourth-place finisher in this weight class, is the top returning qualifier. Cody Welch (33-2) of Wabasso/Red Rock Central also returns, after placing sixth in this weight class in 2010. There are no perfect records.

215 pounds -- Michael Kroells (37-0) of Scott West and Anthony Gullickson (35-2) of Totino-Grace of Fridley both move up from 189 pounds. Kroells earned runner-up honors last year, and Gullickson followed in third place. Kroells is the only undefeated wrestler in this class.

Heavyweight -- Austin Goergen (34-0) of Caledonia/Houston returns to defend his title. He may face Jesse Hein (39-0) of Perham, who placed fourth in this weight class last year. Goergen and Hein have the only perfect records in this weight class.

Simley leads the field with 13 qualified wrestlers. Both Scott West and Monticello have 10 qualifiers. Nine individual wrestlers qualified for Foley.

Class AAA Individual Highlights

103 pounds -- There are no returning medalists and no perfect records.

112 pounds -- Five 2010 medal-winners from the 103-pound class return to compete at 112 pounds: Nick Scheffert (19-7) of Owatonna, last year’s runner-up; Jordan Kingsley (39-3) of Apple Valley was third; Michael Pleski (34-7) of Forest Lake finished fourth; Cole Sladek (39-3) of St. Michael-Albertville placed fifth; and Lucas Hansen (17-13) of Albert Lea Area finished sixth. There are no perfect records.

119 pounds -- Two 2010 champions will compete for another title at a new weight. Mitch Bengtson (37-0) of St. Cloud Apollo won the 112-pound title and Sam Brancale (33-1) claimed gold at 103 pounds. Three other medalists return: Tyler Isaacson (32-3) of Forest Lake, third at 112 pounds; Evan Green (28-4) of Owatonna, fourth at 112 pounds; and Corey Latuff (34-8) of Hastings, fifth at 119 pounds. Bengtson enters the tournament with the only perfect record.

125 pounds -- Dakota Trom (36-2) of Apple Valley returns in search of more gold. He was the champion at 119 pounds last year. He is joined by four other returning medal winners: Austin Leibel (32-3) of St. Francis, runner-up at 119 pounds; Eric Bauer (36-6) of Hastings, runner-up at 112 pounds; Zack Gawboy (35-6) of Maple Grove, fifth at 112 pounds; and Patrick Casey (30-7) of Shakopee, sixth at 112 pounds. No one enters with an undefeated record.

130 pounds -- Ben Morgan (36-3) of Forest Lake looks to improve on last year’s third-place finish at this weight. He is joined by one other medalist, Brady Johnshoy (37-3) of Prior Lake, who was third at 119 pounds. There are no perfect records.

135 pounds -- Matt Kelliher (38-4) of Apple Valley, who won gold at 125 pounds last year, is the top returning qualifier. Two other 2010 medalists at 125 pounds move up in search of a title. Sam Stewart (36-3) of Andover finished fourth, and Grant Nehring (30-9) of St. Cloud Apollo placed sixth. Adam Hammer (34-0) of Osseo is the only wrestler with an unblemished record.

140 pounds -- Last year’s champion at 135 pounds, Brandon Kingsley (39-2) of Apple Valley, leads the field. Colten LaChance (19-3) of Hastings, who placed third at 135 pounds in 2010, is the other returning medal-winner. No one in this weight class enters with a perfect record.

145 pounds -- Five 2010 medalists return in this weight class. Daniel Woiwor (33-4) of Apple Valley, last year’s champion at 130 pounds, is the top returning qualifier. The other medal-winners are: Zach Rohr (34-4) of Hastings, who was runner-up at 140 pounds; Tanner Carlisle (38-4) of Prior Lake, fourth at 145 pounds; Dalton Westerlund (36-6) of Albert Lea Area, fifth at 130 pounds; and Luke Boroda (29-3), sixth at 145 pounds. No wrestlers are undefeated.

152 pounds -- Destin McCauley (42-0) of Apple Valley, the defending champion at 152 pounds, leads this weight class. If McCauley wins it would be his fifth individual title. McCauley is the only returning qualifier and has the only perfect record.

160 pounds – Steven Keogh (30-1) of Apple Valley looks to defend his title at 160 pounds. Two other medalists also return. Cory Hansen (37-5) of Albert Lea Area, placed fourth at 135 pounds last year. Kyle Begin (37-2) of Anoka finished fifth at 152 pounds. None of the competitors enters with a perfect record.

171 pounds -- Two 2010 medal winners at 171 pounds return. Jake Waste (41-1) of Apple Valley was runner-up and Eric Hensel (37-0) of Lakeville South was the fourth-place medalist. They are joined by Clayton Jennissen (36-6) of Cambridge-Isanti, who placed fourth at 152 pounds last year. Hensel has the only unblemished record in this class.

189 pounds -- Matt Hechsel (32-5) of Apple Valley, who placed fifth in this weight class last year, returns. Coyte Kuefner (29-9) of Owatonna, the only other returning qualifier, placed sixth at 215 pounds in 2010. No one has a perfect record.

215 pounds -- Two medalists who competed in 2010 will vie the title at 215 pounds. Zane Peterson (37-1) of Lakeville South, finished fifth in this weight class. Zack Vine (35-5) of Centennial, Circle Pines, placed sixth as a heavyweight. There are no undefeated competitors.

Heavyweight -- Defending heavyweight champion Donny Longendyke (39-1) of White Bear Lake Area seeks another gold medal. Parker Betts (40-2) of St. Michael-Albertville, last year’s third-place finisher in this weight class, is also back to chase the title. There are no perfect records.

Apple Valley qualified 13 wrestlers and Owatonna qualified 12. Albert Lea Area and Hastings were next with nine individual qualifiers apiece.

The Schedule and Ticket Information

This year’s schedule features the team tournament running all day on Thursday, March 3. The action starts with the Class A and Class AA quarterfinals at 9 a.m. They will be followed by the Class AAA team quarterfinals at 11 a.m., which will be run simultaneously with the Class A and Class AA consolation semifinals.

At 1 p.m. on Thursday, all three classes will wrestle in the team championship semifinals and Class AAA will also have its consolation semifinals. The 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, March 4, the Class A individual first round begins at 9 a.m. The Class AA individual first round starts at 11 a.m., followed by the Class AAA individual first round at 1 p.m. On Friday evening, the Class A individual quarterfinals begin at 5 p.m. The Class AA and Class AAA individual championship quarterfinals will follow at 6 and 7 p.m., respectively. The evening session will conclude with all wrestlebacks at 8 p.m.

On Saturday there will be five rounds of competition. The first starts at 10 a.m. and will consist of all individual consolation quarterfinals. The second round will start approximately at 11:15 a.m. and will entail all individual championship semifinals. Round Three begins approximately at 1:15 p.m. and will encompass all individual consolation semifinals. At approximately 5 p.m., all individual fifth- and third-place matches will begin, followed by awards. The day will end with all individual championships beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m. Awards will also 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.

Live Web Streaming

The championship semifinals and championship matches of the team and individual competition for all classes will be streamed live by www.45.GrandStadium.tv on the Web and are available at no charge.