They weren’t able to end Apple Valley’s streak of state tournament appearances in the Section 2, Class 3A finals two weeks ago, but Saturday provided plenty of salve for the Shakopee wrestling team.
The Sabers were 5-for-5 in Class 3A championship matches, getting victories from Aaron Cashman at 113 pounds, Carson Manville at 126, Brent Jones at 132, Alex Lloyd at 145 and Alex Crowe at 152.
“These guys know how to do it,” said assistant coach Marcus LeVesseur, himself a three-time state champion. “You look at this season: [Shakopee] Invitational, six champions; Rumble on the Red, 5-for-5; then here.”
This time, Cashman was operating with a full tank. The junior, who wrestled at Mound-Westonka last year, won his first state championship, beating Trayton Anderson of Farmington 10-2 in 113-pound final.
Cashman credited a loss to St. Michael-Albertville’s Patrick McKee in the 106 pound finals last year for his victory this year.
“There were times last year when I just didn’t have enough gas in the tank,” Cashman said.
His family moved to Shakopee, where the depth of the Sabers’ roster gave him that boost he needed.
“Wrestling with Carson Manville and Brent Jones just pushed me to get better and better every day,” he said.
Last summer, Cashman wrestled for Team USA in World Cadet Championships in Tblisi, Georgia, finishing eighth at 50 kg. He said Saturday’s championship almost matched the feeling of wrestling for a national team.
“This is right up there,” he said. “Making the national team was the best feeling, but this is a close second.”
Lloyd wrestled his best friend, Owatonna’s Peyton Robb, in the 145 pound finals. Robb, a two-time state champion, entered the tournament without a loss and had defeated Lloyd in the Minnesota Christmas Tournament in December.
Robb almost pulled off another victory, but Lloyd caught Robb with a leg sweep with 15 seconds left in the third period, getting a takedown and the two points needed to turn a loss into a 5-4 victory.
“We’ve been best friends since third, fourth grade,” said Lloyd, who earned his second-consecutive 145 pound crown. “I love him as a brother, but this is something we both know this is something we have to do. We love each other, but not out on the mat.”
Like Cashman, Manville’s victory came in his first year wrestling for Shakopee. The eighth-grader lived in Virginia before this season and moved to Shakopee to improve his wrestling future. “It’s been a great experience for me,” Manville said. “All of the great wrestlers guys in the wrestling room really helped me get better.”
Jones’ victory at 132 was the fourth of his career, having won previously at 106, 120 and 126 pounds before Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Clay Carlson of Willmar in the finals. “Winning four is pretty special,” Jones said. “I think I’m only the 23rd person to do it.”
Crowe, who, like Jones will wrestle at Minnesota next year, won his first championship with a third-period reversal for a 6-4 victory.
“All these great wrestlers, it says a lot about our program,” Lloyd said.
All is right for Allar
Things are right where St. Michael-Albertville senior Jake Allar wants them to be. Allar won his second consecutive state championship, winning by technical fall of Apple Valley’s Jalen Thul at 4:17 of the match.
Allar had signed with Iowa State last fall, but asked for his release when Iowa State and coach Kevin Jackson parted ways. He announced Sunday that he would wrestle at Minnesota next year.
“I committed last week and then was just able to focus on the state tournament,” he said. “Minnesota is where I’ve wanted to go since I was a kid. Everything feels right right now. Absolutely.”
Apple Valley heavyweight Gable Steveson, who has pinned all but one of his opponents this year, saved his most awe-inspiring performance for last. Steveson (42-0) won his third straight state title by pinning Anoka’s Brandon Frankfurth in 11 seconds, drawing gasps from the Xcel Center crowd.