St. Michael-Albertville continued its tradition of punching a ticket to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament as a team Friday night, topping two ranked teams en route to the Section 7-3A Championship in convincing fashion.
The Knights were never threatened – they trailed only briefly in both the semifinals and finals – thanks to standout performances from wrestlers like Mitchell McKee (126 pounds), Jake Allar and Jordan Joseph, as well as 12 other wrestlers who all saw time on the mat and picked up wins.
“This team is so competitive, top to bottom. There’s always a guy willing to step up and get that win,” said head coach Dan Lefebvre. “There’s no weak link. That makes it pretty fun to be a coach.”
Four teams were ranked in The Guillotine’s most recent Class AAA rankings from the section – STMA, Coon Rapids, Anoka and St. Francis. The Knights easily dispatched of two of them – No. 9 St. Francis in the semifinals and No. 6 Anoka (who toppled No. 5 Coon Rapids in the semis) in the championship dual.
The Knights fell behind, briefly, in the team title when Tyler Eischens of Anoka, ranked No. 3 at 113 pounds, pulled off a win by fall over Zach Nygaard. But STMA quickly recovered with wins by Zach Dehmer at 120 pounds and a win by fall for Mitch Mckee at 126 pounds. McKee, ranked No. 1 in the state and in the top three in the nation at 126, won all three of his matches with pins.
That set up the match of the night at 132 pounds, as Calvin Germinaro moved up in weight to wrestle against Cody Schoen of STMA. Germinaro, ranked No. 5 at 126, avoided McKee and, Anoka hoped, could get the Tornadoes back into the match.
Instead, Schoen picked up an early takedown, built a 4-2 lead, and never looked back. He managed to hold off a couple of comeback attempts by Germinaro in the third period, and gave STMA a bigger lead with an 8-6 decision.
“That’s a great, great win for him and gives him some confidence heading into the individual tournament,” Lefebvre said. “Today was just a great team effort up and down, and Cody’s win was part of that.”
Jake Briggs, a senior for the Knights at 220 pounds, also provided a highlight for the evening. Moving up to 285, Briggs squared off against state-ranked Blaine Nordin of St. Francis. Briggs used his quickness to go low early and often on Nordin for takedowns, and won a major decision.
“Jake had a bit of a slump, maybe, in the middle of the season, but he’s really back on it now. It was a good night for him,” Lefebvre said.
The Knights, who have dealt with two deaths in the “family” over the year with a pair of wrestling parents passing away, have come out of that emotional struggle a tighter team than ever, Lefebvre said.
“You practice with someone, sweat with someone and spend all of that time during the summer and fall training with someone and you build a bond. It’s only natural. So the team has really bonded together and been a great support system for one another. Now, we’ll transition to the individual tournament and focus on each guy, and our goal will be to get as many through to the state tournament as possible. Our season schedule really prepares us for that, so we’ll be ready to go Saturday in Cambridge.”
St. Michael-Albertville 73, Andover 6
106 Patrice McKee (STMA) Tech Fall Michael Morell (AND) 1:21
113 Zach Nygaard (STMA) Fall Ryan Grant (AND) 5:21
120 Zach Dehmer (STMA) Won by Forfeit
126 Mitchell McKee (STMA) Fall Justin Dokken (AND) :39
132 Gibson Board (AND) Fall Cody Schoen (STMA) 3:15
138 Jake Allar (STMA) Fall Anthony Luca (AND) 1:20
145 Donnie Leuer (STMA) Tech Fall Graham Brown (AND) 3:18
152 Lucas Jeske (STMA) Dec. Hunter Wathen (AND) 9-7
160 Mitchell Zachman (STMA) Fall Brandon Oberhamer (AND) :15
170 Evan Ronsen (STMA) Won by Forfeit
182 Jordan Joseph (STMA) Fall Zachary Steckman (AND) :40
195 Evan Foster (STMA) Fall Dakota Hauk (AND) 1:15
220 Jake Briggs (STMA) Won by Forfeit
285 Randy Anderson (STMA) Fall Luke Harmon (AND) 5:59
St. Michael-Albertville 58, St. Francis 14
106 Patrick McKee (STMA) Tech Fall Colton Petrucci (SF) 4:34
113 Zach Nygaard (STMA) Dec. Mitchell Wilson (SF) 12-4
120 Daniel Worthington (SF) Tech Fall Zac Schoen (STMA) 5:28
126 Mitchell McKee (STMA) Fall Andrew Wasche (SF) 3:20
132 Mason Hall (SF) Dec. Cody Schoen (STMA) 9-6
138 Jake Allar (STMA) Dec. Aaron Wilson (SF) 6-0
145 Alex Wilson (SF) Fall Jeff Geiger (STMA) 5:37
152 Lucas Jeske (STMA) Fall Tyler Dahlstrom (SF) 2:44
160 Mitchell Zachman (STMA) Fall Cole Kirpach (SF) 3:35
170 Evan Ronsen (STMA) Fall Lucas Sherburne (SF) 3:23
182 Jordan Joseph (STMA) Fall Tim Wetenkamp (SF) 2:11
195 Alex Birk (STMA) Fall Anthony Norman (SF) 3:36
220 Ryan Jones (STMA) Fall Bo Blanske (SF) 3:00
285 Jake Briggs (STMA) Maj. Dec. Blaine Nordin (SF) 22-12
St. Michael-Albertville 49, Anoka 15
106 – Patrick McKee STMA Maj. Dec. Colby Njos ANK 14-5
113 – Tyler Eischens ANK FALL Zach Nygaard STMA 3:03
120 – Zach Dehmer STMA Dec. Richie Hammonds ANK 3-1
126 – Mitchell McKee STMA FALL Josh Schrodek 1:45
132 – Cody Schoen STMA Dec. Calvin Germinaro 8-6
138 – Jake Allar STMA Maj. Dec. Jason Rollins ANK 20-7
145 – Donnie Leuer STMA Dec. Hunter DeLeon ANK 9-2
152 – Lucas Jeske STMA FALL Liam Strong ANK :48
160 – Mitchell Zachman STMA FALL Dalton Miller ANK 1:00
170 – Matt Njos ANK Dec. Evan Ronson STMA 5-2
182 – Jordan Joseph STMA FALL Hunter Wallace ANK 1:37
195 – Evan Foster STMA Tech Fall Noah Vaillant ANK 20-4
220 – Jeremy Rodman ANK FALL Ryan Jones STMA 5:41
HWT – Jake Briggs STMA Dec. Jesse Heifort ANK 5-2