There’s a strange shortage of Shorts at Simley.
The top-ranked Spartans, who have won six of the past seven Class 2A team championships, are still coached by Will Short, who is also the school’s athletic director.
The patriarch of Simley wrestling, longtime head coach Jim Short, who was also both a co-coach and an assistant with son Will, died of cancer last May at the age of 67.
The wrestling lineup is also void of Shorts. Four of Jim Short’s sons — John, Wade, Chris and Will — and two grandsons — Jake Short, a Gophers wrestler, and Mack — combined to win 12 individual championships.
• The Spartans’ 26-5 record is deceiving. Three of those losses have been to St. Michael-Albertville and the others to top teams from Illinois, Oak Park-River Forest and Glenbard North, in the Clash Duals. They have victories over Class 3A entrants Prior Lake and Farmington, and Class 1A top seed Minneota.
• Scott West, the cooperative between Belle Plaine and Jordan, needed every point it could muster to make its seventh tournament appearance in the past eight years. The Panthers tied New Prague 31-31 in the Section 2 finals but won on a tiebreaker.
• Unless something unforeseen happens, Saturday’s finals will be the capstone on one of Minnesota’s most accomplished wrestling careers. Totino-Grace senior Lance Benick hasn’t lost a high school match in nearly three years. He has a 174-4 record, with championships in three of his four previous years as an Eagle. He is ranked No. 1 nationally at 195 pounds by three wrestling websites, has won numerous U.S. national championships and competed in the Cadet World Championships in Bulgaria in 2013. Benick will wrestle at Arizona State.
• Benick’s path to another state title is far from easy. Two others wrestling at 195 pounds are undefeated. Wyatt Richardson of Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland (GMLOKS) is 33-0 and Carson Hagen of Worthington is 37-0.
• There are four other undefeated wrestlers in Class 2A: Griffin Parriott, New Prague, 41-0 (145 pounds); Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville, 42-0 (152); Andrew Fogarty, Scott West, 41-0 (160); and Carter Nielsen, Foley, 41-0 (170).