For the first time in its more than decade of competition at the “big school” level, St. Michael-Albertville won’t have Apple Valley standing between it and a State Wrestling Championship team title.
That doesn’t mean this Thursday’s tournament of section champions is going to be easy.
The Knights are just the No. 3 seed, ranked behind Anoka (Section 7) and Shakopee, who knocked off the reigning champions in last week’s Section 2 Tournament.
STMA will wrestle Stillwater at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 1 to kick off the Class 3A team tournament at the Xcel Energy Center. Should they advance, they’ll see No. 2 Anoka, provided the Tornadoes can get by the Section 3 champs, Hastings.
AHS and STMA were section rivals until recently, when the Knights moved to Section 5. Since then each school has handled their team tournament fairly easily. Anoka finished second to STMA two out of the last three years they were both in Section 7.
On the other side of the bracket, top-ranked Shakopee will have Minnetonka in the first round. They’ll square off with the winner of the 4/5 battle, Willmar vs. Albert Lea Area, in the other semifinal.
The Knights have wins in hand (in the regular season) over Albert Lea, Willmar and Minnetonka. They lost by just two points to No. 1 Shakopee earlier this year.
In the individual tournament, the Knights pushed nine wrestlers through to the State AAA Tournament, including defending champion Patrick McKee at 126 pounds.
Joining him are (placing at section, ranking according to The Guillotine):
113 Brandon Psyk 1st place, ranked fourth statewide.
120 Nathan Nygaard 1st place, ranked eighth.
145 Hayden Lemonds 2nd place, unranked.
152 Carl Leuer 1st place, ranked fifth.
170 Wyatt Lidberg 1st place, ranked ninth overall.
182 Gabe Anderson 1st place, ranked seventh.
195 Nolan Schmitz 2nd place, ranked fourth.
HWT Allen Winters 2nd place, unranked.
Individual action will kick off at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday afternoon. You can follow results here: