Last season Zumbrota-Mazeppa was somewhat of a surprising winner in the Class 1A team tournament. The Cougars, the No. 4-seed, ousted top-seeded Frazee in the semifinals and rode that momentum to a victory over No. 2-seeded Pierz in the final.
They’re not coming in the backdoor this year, however. The Cougars lost just one starter from last year, have been ranked No. 1 all season and have not lost to a Class 1A team all season. Their last losses? To Class 2A powers Kasson-Mantorville and Simley in January.
Perennial small-school power Frazee, making its 25th state tournament appearance, earned the No. 2 seed. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville, appearing in just its second state meet and first since 2003, picked up the No. 3 seed.
Chatfield 145-pounder Jake Mandt (35-0) is the only undefeated wrestler in the class. The senior is the defending state champion at that weight.
Other returning 2017 champions are Blake Legred of United South Central at 126 pounds (106 last year), Jeron Matson of Kenyon-Wanamingo at 113 pounds again, Hunter Burnett of Pipestone at 132 (120) and teammate Michael Suda (126). Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Caden Steffen is shooting for his second consecutive title at 182.