The wrestling state meet started impressively for Simley eighth-grader Charli Raymond. On Thursday she won a match in the boys team competition and is believed to be the first girl to score team points in the state tournament.
Her victory at 106 pounds helped the Spartans take a Class 2A quarterfinals victory over Totino-Grace.
"My coach said I had to set the tone, and I did just that," Raymond said.
It got significantly better Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, when she pinned Olivia Sackor of Fridley at 3:40 to win the girls 107-pound championship. It was her second consecutive state championship — she won at 100 pounds last year — and sets her up as a potential six-time state champion.
Only one wrestler in state history has won six individual titles: Apple Valley's Mark Hall.
"That's my main goal," she said. "But I've already accomplished one of the main goals I've had. and that's winning a match at the boys tournament."
Raymond finished the season 15-0.
Forest Lake's Blasko wins
Forest Lake junior 114-pounder Aspen Blasko knew the competition at the girls wrestling tournament had gotten better. By a large margin. So she spent much of her training working on things she hadn't had to use in a while.
"We worked on leg turks," said Blasko, referring to a move often used to build points but one she hasn't used often because it's ineffective against the boys she trains with.
It was just that move that earned her two late points in a 4-2 victory over Bernie Rock of Luverne 4-2 for the 114-pound title. It's her second state championship.
"It's really crazy to pull out a turk at the very end," she said. "I did not see that coming at all."
Little Soldier is champ again
Hastings junior Skylar Little Soldier wasn't nervous before her 145-pound final despite knowing she wasn't the only state champion in the match. Little Soldier and her opponent, Riley Myers of Eastview, both won titles last season.
"Not nervous," she said while warming up. "Excited. I'm excited to get out there."
Little Soldier, ranked No. 9 in the national pound-for-pound girls ranking, controlled the match from the outset and defeated Myers 8-0.
Northfield's Pagel repeats
Northfield's Ella Pagel won her second championship at 165 pounds. Pagel, a sophomore, played football for the Raiders this season and scored a touchdown. She admitted that the touchdown was a slightly bigger thrill, considering the circumstances.
"Since I'd already won one last year," she admitted, "the touchdown was definitely more exciting."
The other winners in the girls tournament: Caley Graber, Northfield, 100 pounds; Annabelle Petsinger, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, 120; Cassandra Gonzales, Shakopee, 126; Joel Makem, Shakopee, 132; Abby Ervasti, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, 138; Sarah Pulk, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, 152; Kami Senlycki, Cambridge-Isanti, 185; Camryn Kenning, St. Cloud Tech, 235.