After beating No. 2-ranked Simley in the Section 1, 2A final on Feb. 17, Kasson-Mantorville was expected to win the Class 2A title. It was as close to a certainty as can be found in any state tournament. The KoMets, winners of the two previous state titles, rarely had been challenged, going undefeated and winners by more than 20 points in all but one match.
They accomplished what they set out to do, beating previously undefeated Fairmont/Martin County West 49-9 in the championship match.
The upshot is that it was the 2017 KoMets who were considered Kasson-Mantorville’s best team. It was living up to that group that drove this season’s team.
“Last year was motivation for this year,” senior 195-pounder Jim Paulson said. “Everybody thought last year’s team was the team. But we worked our butts off, we made it and we got it done.”
Despite being significant underdogs, Fairmont/Martin County West held out hope. The Red Bulls had wrestled well during their first two matches Thursday to improve to 27-0, rolling over South St. Paul in the quarterfinals and shocking No. 2-seeded Scott West in the semifinals.
But stopping Kasson-Mantorville’s unrelenting march to another title proved futile: It was pretty much inevitable.
The Red Bulls certainly didn’t roll over. They wrestled strong and surrendered very few bonus points, but Kasson-Mantorville just kept winning match after match, and eventually the inevitable became fact.
“We did what we were taught: Go out and fight,” Paulson said. “We didn’t take anyone lightly.”
Kasson-Mantorville sliced through both of its opponents, crushing Perham 48-10 in the semifinals after having made quick work of Totino-Grace 54-13 in the quarterfinals. The KoMets lost just six matches total through the first two rounds.
Collin Steuber’s second period pin at 195 pounds lifted No. 3-seeded Fairmont/Martin County West to a 30-28 victory over Scott West in the other semifinal.