Minneota is the defending Class 1A champion. The Vikings lost only once during the regular season, to Class 3A power Anoka. They deservedly have been ranked No. 1 in Class 1A all season. So how did they get the No. 2 seed in the state tournament?
There’s an opinion among veteran wrestling watchers that Kenyon-Wanamingo, the No. 1 seed, might be as good as any Class 1A team that Minnesota has produced. The Knights (31-3) have lost only to elite-level opponents: Anoka, the No. 3 seed in Class 3A; unbeaten Class 2A tournament entrant Kasson-Mantorville and national power St. Edward of Ohio. They qualified 11 wrestlers for the individual tournament, including three who are ranked No. 1 at their weights: Jeron Matson (106), Ethan Cota (113) and Ted Androli (170).
The seeding process used common opponents as a primary tool. Both teams lost to Anoka — Kenyon-Wanamingo by two points, Minneota by seven. Both defeated No. 3 seed Frazee, with Kenyon-Wanamingo routing the Hornets 42-15 and Minneota winning by 32-24.
Minneota boasts 14 wrestlers who played for the Vikings’ back-to-back Class 1A championship football teams, which means they’re accustomed to succeeding on the biggest stages. So which team is the best? That will likely be decided on the mat in Thursday’s championship match.
• There are 11 undefeated wrestlers, with six of them grouped in two weight classes. There are three at 113 pounds — St. Charles’ Mark Buringa (38-0), Pipestone’s Hunter Burnett (37-0) and Deer River’s Jace Geving (37-0) — and three at 120 pounds — Pipestone’s Michael Suda (32-0), Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville’s Noah Becker (36-0) and Spectrum’s Esteban Tiegan (8-0).
• Jackson County Central senior 182-pounder Keegan Moore is seeking a third consecutive title. Moore (30-0) has won 116 consecutive high school matches.