Stephan Mincey is quite aware that this is his last shot.
The Simley senior 132-pounder wrestled at Apple Valley last year before moving to Inver Grove Heights with his father. His brother Matt was a three-time individual champion at Apple Valley, but circumstances never quite came together for Stephan, who is making his first individual state tournament appearance in the Class 2A field.
"In 10th grade, I was ranked No. 3 but I lost in the section finals," he said. "Last year, I had trouble making [weight at] 119 pounds and didn't get to wrestle much. So this year is very important."
Mincey battled nerves in his first-round match, hanging on at the end for a 5-2 victory over Mason Brownlee of Montgomery-Lonsdale/Le Center.
He then advanced into the semifinals with an 8-2 victory over Zach Baker of Detroit Lakes.
"My goal [was] to make it to the second day," he said. "It would have been bad to have been one-and-done."Size matters
Gabe Foltz of Detroit Lakes could not be happier that the weight classes were nudged upward this year.
Foltz is the only senior in the entire tournament at 106 pounds. He said that if the weight had stayed at 103 pounds, he might not have qualified.
"I probably would have wrestled at 112," said Foltz, who was ranked No. 4 in Class 2A at 106. "Those extra few pounds make a big difference."
Foltz lost to No. 5-ranked Anthony Luft of Worthington in the quarterfinals.Battles among the bigs
The heavyweight field, considered the most competitive in the tournament, was thinned when Simley's Matt Kadrlik upset Kasson-Mantorville's Sam Stoll 4-3 in the first round. Stoll entered the tournament ranked No. 2.
Scott West senior Michael Kroells, ranked No. 1, earned two more pins, giving him five in five tournament matches heading into Saturday's semifinals, where he'll face the sixth-ranked Kadrlik.
The other half of the bracket pits defending champion Austin Goergen of Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove against Dassel-Cokato's Brient Pokornowski.In Class 1A ...
A freak concussion ended Cooper Moore's state championship hopes in 2011.
Rather than sulk, the senior 170-pounder from Jackson County Central turned philosophical about it and, in the process, helped out younger brothers Keegan and Paden.
Keegan, an eighth-grade 138-pounder, and Paden, a freshman 145-pounder, won their opening-round matches.
"He's our role model," said Paden, who joins Cooper in Saturday's semifinals.
Star Tribune staff writer Brian Stensaas contributed to this report.