St. Michael-Albertville claimed the team title (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Despite an absolutely disastrous championship semifinal round, in which No. 5 St. Michael-Albertville, Minn., went 3-6 with four of those losses coming by either one or two points, the Knights overcame to win the Minnesota Christmas Tournament on Saturday night. They bounced back with a 5-2 record in consolation semifinals, and then went 7-3 in placement matches.
Championships from No. 2 Tommy Thorn (120) and Cole Sladek (138) led the way for St. Michael-Albertville on the way to 256.5 points. Michael Kessler (220) placed second; Aaron Dick (106), No. 10 (at 106) Mitch McKee (113), and Ricky Briggs (195) placed third; while another pair each finished in fourth and fifth place.
Mark Hall won his third straight Minnesota Christmas Tournament title (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Despite the absence of nationally ranked Seth Gross (126/132), a two-time state champion and two-time Cadet National freestyle champion, Apple Valley, Minn., still had a solid performance in taking second place. The Eagles were led by a trio of champions: Gannon Volk (113), No. 1 Mark Hall (152), and Paul Cheney (220): on the way to 247.5 team points. They were also bolstered by runner-up finishes from Dayton Racer (160) and No. 7 (at 160) Daniel Woiwor (170), a third-place finish from Malou Woiwor (120), and two sixth-place finishes.
Even with a tournament-high five weight class titles, No. 18 Kasson-Mantorville, Minn., was only able to finish in third place with 245 points. Champions for the KoMets were Gabe Shea (106), Nate Thomas (126), Brady Berge (132), No. 5 Broc Berge (195), and No. 4 Sam Stoll (285); Colton Laganiere (138) placed in second; while another KoMet took sixth, and two others finished eighth.
Jake Short and Brady Berge shared Outstanding Wrestler honors (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Impressive about Brady Berge, who is the nation's No. 2-ranked junior high wrestler, is the fact he is winning against juniors and seniors despite being in eighth grade. A state champion last year at 106, Brady Berge moves up four weight classes this year, defeats two-time state placer Mark Voss 6-4 in the semifinals, and then knocks off two-time state champion Kyle Gliva (Simley, Minn.) 4-3 in the finals, scoring a last-second takedown to claim the victory.
Broc Berge was extended to overtime in a championship match battle of state champions, as he beat No. 15 (at 182) Lance Benick (Totino-Grace, Minn.) by a 5-3 score. Stoll also had a nationally ranked opponent in the finals, but he was much more dominant in a 9-1 major dec. over No. 15 Michael Burckhardt (Coon Rapids, Minn.).
Fourth in the team standings with 177.5 points was No. 14 Simley, Minn. The Spartans were led by a pair of weight class champions: No. 1 Jake Short (145) and No. 4 Nick Wanzek (170). In the final, Wanzek earned an 11-2 major dec. over fellow ranked opponent Daniel Woiwor. As mentioned earlier, Gliva came in second, while additional Spartans wrestlers finished fourth and fifth.
Rounding out the weight class champions were No. 9 Ryan Blees (Bismarck, N.D.) at 160 and No. 7 (at 195) Preston Lehmann (West Fargo, N.D.) at 182.
Team Standings (Top Ten):
1. No. 5 St. Michael-Albertville 256.5
2. No. 4 Apple Valley 247.5
3. No. 18 Kasson-Mantorville 245
4. No. 14 Simley 177.5
5. Cambridge-Isanti 161
6. West Fargo, N.D. 160.5
7. Albert Lea 144.5
8. Prior Lake 137
9. Scott West 129.5
10. Owatonna 127
106: Gabe Shea (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. Kael Knowlen (Bismarck, N.D.), 4-2 SV
113: Gannon Volk (Apple Valley) dec. Garrett Wangsness (Albert Lea), 6-4
120: No. 2 Tommy Thorn (St. Michael-Albertville) maj. dec. Tanner Johnshoy (Prior Lake), 13-4
126: Nate Thomas (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. Jordan Shearer (West Fargo, N.D.), 6-5
132: Brady Berge (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. Kyle Gliva (Simley, Minn.), 4-3
138: Cole Sladek (St. Michael-Albertville) dec. Colton Laganiere (Kasson-Mantorville), 9-4
145: No. 1 Jake Short (Simley) pinned Travis Holt (Cambridge-Isanti), 1:13
152: No. 1 Mark Hall (Apple Valley) pinned Andrew Fogarty (Scott West), 1:42
160: No. 9 Ryan Blees (Bismarck, N.D.) dec. Dayton Racer (Apple Valley), 7-3
170: No. 4 Nick Wanzek (Simley) maj. dec. No. 7 (at 160) Daniel Woiwor (Apple Valley), 11-2
182: No. 7 (at 195) Preston Lehmann (West Fargo, N.D.) dec. Porter Secrist (Wabasha-Kellogg), 5-0
195: No. 5 Brady Berge (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. No. 15 (at 182) Lance Benick (Totino-Grace), 5-3 SV
220: Paul Cheney (Apple Valley) dec. Michael Kessler (St. Michael-Albertville), 4-3
285: No. 4 Sam Stoll (Kasson-Mantorville) maj. dec. No. 15 Michael Burckhardt (Coon Rapids), 9-1