The Minnesota Christmas tournament, the biggest individual-format wrestling event of the regular season, will take place Friday and Saturday in Rochester. Wrestlers from 35 teams in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa will compete. (HERE IS A LINK to the official tournament website.)
The field includes nine of the top 11 ranked teams in Class 3A, five of the top seven in 2A and one ranked 1A team, as well as a raft of individual state champions. Perennial power Apple Valley, which is ranked No. 1 in 3A and No. 2 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, is the two-time defending champion; in fact, the Eagles have won 11 of the past 13 Christmas tournament titles. Apple Valley’s run of titles was interrupted by St. Michael-Albertville in 2005 and Hastings in 2006.
Other ranked 3A teams in the field are No. 2 Hastings, No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville, No. 5 Cambridge-Isanti, No. 6 Albert Lea, No. 7 Coon Rapids, No. 8 Wayzata, No. 10 Forest Lake and No. 11 Bloomington Kennedy. Ranked teams from 2A competing are No. 1 Simley, No. 3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville, No. 4 Scott West, No. 5 Kasson-Mantorville and No. 7 Totino-Grace. From 1A, Jackson County Central is No. 9.
From North Dakota, Bismarck is ranked No. 1 and West Fargo is No. 3 in that state.
Four Apple Valley wrestlers and one from Simley are ranked nationally by Amateur Wrestling News. Apple Valley’s Matt Kelliher is No. 8 at 130 pounds, Brandon Kingsley is No. 7 at 140, Destin McCauley is No. 3 at 152 and Jake Waste is No. 12 at 160. Bloomington Kennedy’s Dylan Ness is ranked sixth at 145.
In addition, West Fargo’s Tyler Lehman (a transfer from Apple Valley) is ranked third nationally at 189 and teammate Scott Schiller is No. 5 at 215.
After the holidays, Rochester will again become the hotbed of Minnesota wrestling when The Clash national duals tournament is held Jan. 8-9.
Both tournaments take place at The Regional Sports Center.
John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/stribjohn