Heading into this strange season, St. Michael-Albertville wrestling was faced with a flurry of questions.
Could any wrestling team avoid a COVID outbreak, derailing its season?
What was this young Knights team capable of, with Wayzat emerging in Section competition and Shakopee with so much talent returning?
If they made it that far, could STMA be wrestling on its home mats for a State title, thanks to the MSHSL moving state wrestling tournaments out of the Xcel Energy Center for this season?
The answers? COVID was avoided, STMA rose to the top, again, of Section 5-3A, and yes, the Knights provided the hometown fans with an epic championship Thursday, placing second in the Team Tournament and putting seven wrestlers on the podium in Individuals.
The morning started early, with third-seeded STMA (ranked 5 in the state) taking on No. 2 Stillwater in the Team Semifinals.
Head coach Josh Joriman juggled his lineup, bumping several of his wrestlers up a weight class, to combat STMA’s season-long conundrum – STMA dominated in lower weight classes, but gave up many points on the back end due to young and inexperienced wrestlers at higher weights.
The Knights did, indeed, cruise out to an early lead, winning the first four matches and getting wins from returning state placewinners Jed Wester and Cole Becker in the middle. But Stillwater took four matches in a row between 160 to 195 pounds, closing the gap.
Marcus Mueller saved the day for the Knights at 220, earning a decision, and STMA was onto an unexpected championship dual against undefeated Shakopee.
In the championship, the Knights cruised out to a 24-3 lead, capped by a Wester pin at 145 pounds. But STMA couldn’t stop the Shakopee comeback, as the Sabres reeled off six winds in a row and took their third straight title, 30-24.
After some rest, the Knights looked to build on its success in the Individual Tournament. STMA rolled five wrestlers into the finals, with Cole Becker earning his first state championship at 138 pounds. The junior, who finished third last year, ended 2021 with a 39-1 record.
Here’s a look at the other placewinners:
106: Mason Mills-3rd place
113: Caleb Theonnes- 2nd place
120: Landon Robideau- 2nd place
126: Parker Janssen- 2nd place
132: Isaiah Mlsna-6th place
138: Cole Becker -CHAMPION
145: Jed Wester- 2nd place
Team Tournament – Semifinals
#3 St. Michael-Albertville 31 #2 Stillwater 27
106 – Mason Mills (St. Michael-Albertville) over Dylan Dauffenbach (Stillwater) Dec 5-1
113 – Caleb Thoennes (St. Michael-Albertville) over Audrey Rogotzke (Stillwater) Fall 2:22
120 – Landon Robideau (St. Michael-Albertville) over Cittadino Tuttle (Stillwater) TF 24-9
126 – Parker Janssen (St. Michael-Albertville) over Sam Bethke (Stillwater) Fall 1:11
132 – Reid Ballantyne (Stillwater) over Isaiah Mlsna (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 3-1
138 – Matt Hogue (Stillwater) over Eli Davis (St. Michael-Albertville) Maj 21-9
145 – Cole Becker (St. Michael-Albertville) over Hayden Carlson (Stillwater) TF 25-10
152 – Jed Wester (St. Michael-Albertville) over Ben Colagiovanni (Stillwater) Dec 10-5
160 – Antony Tuttle (Stillwater) over Jimmy Heil (St. Michael-Albertville) Maj 18-6
170 – Hunter Lyden (Stillwater) over Jon Mlsna (St. Michael-Albertville) Fall 4:00
182 – Zachariah Hunter (Stillwater) over Luke Williamson (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 6-0
195 – Roman Rogotzke (Stillwater) over Owen Vike (St. Michael-Albertville) Maj 11-2
220 – Marcus Mueller (St. Michael-Albertville) over Nicholas Dauffenbach (Stillwater) SV-1 5-3
285 – Andrew Rantila (Stillwater) over Titus Johnson (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 7-5
#1 Shakopee 30 #3 St. Michael-Albertville 24
106 – Mason Mills (St. Michael-Albertville) over Kyle Linville (Shakopee) Maj 22-8
113 – Blake West (Shakopee) over Caleb Thoennes (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 3-1
120 – Landon Robideau (St. Michael-Albertville) over AJ Smith (Shakopee) Maj 21-9
126 – Parker Janssen (St. Michael-Albertville) over Leo Tukhlynovych (Shakopee) Dec 8-5
132 – Isaiah Mlsna (St. Michael-Albertville) over Connor Warren (Shakopee) Maj 10-1
138 – Cole Becker (St. Michael-Albertville) over Seth Bakken (Shakopee) Dec 5-1
145 – Jed Wester (St. Michael-Albertville) over John Kroll (Shakopee) Fall 4:30
152 – Riley Quern (Shakopee) over Jimmy Heil (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 7-2
160 – Sam Treml (Shakopee) over Jon Mlsna (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 5-1
170 – DJ Smith (Shakopee) over Luke Williamson (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 8-2
182 – Jadon Hellerud (Shakopee) over Owen Vike (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 5-3
195 – Joey Johnson (Shakopee) over Marcus Mueller (St. Michael-Albertville) Fall 1:02
220 – Tommy Johnson (Shakopee) over Ethan Yantes (St. Michael-Albertville) Fall 1:45
285 – Jade Trelstad (Shakopee) over Owen Barthel (St. Michael-Albertville) Dec 2-0
Individual Tournament – Podium matches
3rd Mason Mills (St Michael-Albertville) 26-5, So. over Dylan Dauffenbach (Stillwater) 19-5, So. (Dec 3-2)
1st Blake West (Shakopee) 31-0, Sr. over Caleb Thoennes (St Michael-Albertville) 36-2, Jr. (Dec 6-2)
1st Jore Volk (Lakeville North) 34-1, Jr. over Landon Robideau (St Michael-Albertville) 36-2, 8th. (Dec 3-1)
1st Koy Buesgens (New Prague) 31-1, So. over Parker Janssen (St Michael-Albertville) 33-2, So. (Dec 5-0)
5th Calvin Lonnquist (Wayzata) 26-4, So. over Isaiah Mlsna (St Michael-Albertville) 33-6, Sr. (Dec 7-3)
1st Cole Becker (St Michael-Albertville) 39-1, Jr. over Brendan Howes (Anoka) 24-1, Jr. (Dec 5-2)
1st Nick Novak (New Prague) 30-1, Sr. over Jed Wester (St Michael-Albertville) 32-7, Fr. (TF-1.5 3:44 (15-0))