Simley’s Anthony Jackson didn’t think he’d be wrestling this year, let alone win a state title.
But that’s what he accomplished Saturday, defeating Zach Glazier of Albert Lea 5-3 at 152 pounds for his second Class 2A individual title. Jackson has been wrestling only since January, coming off a suspension and dealing with family issues.
“It’s really shocking to be here,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t have seen myself here at the beginning of the season.”
The sophomore won a title last year at 138 but has dealt with turmoil since. His brother was sent to prison, he said, and he was hanging out with the wrong crowd and got into trouble with the police.
His suspension began before the wrestling season and he was placed on probation. Jackson said it was tough going to school without being able to wrestle. He wasn’t in shape and felt depressed.
“I was doing stuff I shouldn’t have been doing,” Jackson said. “Wrestling pretty much brought me back.”
Once Jackson was back on the mat, he picked up where he left off last year. He was 17-0 during the regular season, and finished the year with only one loss: a 26-9 technical fall to Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville in the Class 2A team finals on Thursday.
Berge won his fourth individual title in six years Saturday night.
“I’m just really glad to be back,” Jackson said. “Wouldn’t want anything else than being another state champion. Looking forward to being a four-timer.”
Team first for Berge
Berge’s 2A championship at 160 pounds, capping an undefeated season after suffering a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments in the 2016 state meet, brought a standing ovation from the Xcel Center crowd. Berge earned a technical fall victory over Collin Steuber in the finals, but said he was mostly satisfied by Kasson-Mantorville’s team performance.
“I’m so proud of what the team has done here,” Berge said. “We’ve won state championships before, but I’ve never won an individual championship and a team championship in the same season.”
“And to have Keaton Schorr (138) and Patrick Kennedy (170) and Noah Ryan (220) win championships at the same time, that makes it even better.”
Waconia senior Garret Vos knew what he was getting into when he wrestled Waseca’s Justin Sampson in the 2A 120-pound final. Vos defeated Sampson in the past two Section 2, 2A finals and again in the 113-pound championship match in 2016. He did it again Saturday, beating Sampson 4-0 in the finals.
“Wrestling someone that many times can hurt because he knows all your moves,” said Vos, who will wrestle at St. Cloud State next year. “But then again, I know all of his.”
Pipestone wrestlers repeat
It’s lucky that Pipestone juniors Michael Suda and Hunter Burnett have each other.
Both won Class 1A titles Saturday, Burnett at 120 and Suda at 126 as they both finished the season undefeated. They won their matches by big scores — Burnett won 11-6 and Suda won 17-4. It was the second title for each. Suda won at 120 last season, Burnett at 113.
The two practice against each other since their weights are close, Suda said, and the competition has only made them better.
“It’s almost like two cats in a bag going at it,” coach Brian Bos said. “They just keep going and going. They feed off each other and they really help each other out a lot.”
Mike Hendrickson is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.