The T-shirts, red with white lettering and worn by just about every Kenyon-Wanamingo supporter at Xcel Energy Center, said: “Small Towns, Big Dreams.”
Kenyon-Wanamingo turned those dreams into a reality with a 26-24 victory over a gritty Frazee team in the Class 1A championship match. The Knights, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, won just six of the 14 matches, but those victories were decisive enough to give them their first state championship.
“Everything we’ve done this season has pointed to this,” Kenyon-Wanamingo coach Matt Ryan said. “We tried to make the schedule as tough as we could to get them ready to wrestle here. Still, no matter what you do, you can’t duplicate this. I was just hoping we could win enough matches.”
Kenyon-Wanamingo won the first meeting 42-15 and, after getting pins in the first two matches for a 12-0 lead, it appeared another rout was on. But Frazee didn’t back down and won the next four matches to tie the match 12-12. Kenyon-Wanamingo won just enough after that, and just as importantly did not get pinned, to hold off Frazee.
“We’ve had some bad luck in the sections over the last few years, losing six years in a row in the finals,” Ryan said. “Whether we won by one point or 50, we just wanted to win three matches here and we did that.”