The name Kyle Schweisthal rolls off the tongues of those Owatonna sports fans dedicated to Huskies athletics back in 2005. Wrestling remained the winter king, and coach Scot Davishad assembled a lineup so strong that it was ready to go headgear-to-headgear with the Apple Valley dynasty.
Owatonna had defeated Apple Valley 40-24 early in the regular season, ending the Eagles' 199-match winning streak against Minnesota teams. And now on late Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, they were set to meet again in the Class 3A semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.
"Usually, the fans for the wrestlers that are done for the afternoon … they leave,'' said Davis, then Owatonna's coach. "Not that time. Everyone stayed. There had to be more than 10,000 fans. It was nuts in there.''
Apple Valley had won six titles in a row entering that showdown with its longtime, oft-beaten Owatonna rivals. Apple Valley would win 12 more titles in a row, including a co-championship with St. Michael-Albertville in 2013.
But on that day in St. Paul …
"The match was tied [24-24] going into the heavyweights,'' Davis said. "Apple Valley had an outstanding heavyweight, big, strong kid, and we had Schweisthal … a 198-pound sophomore.
"Kyle got a takedown in the last minute and won the match for us. Kyle Schweisthal and that takedown live on in Owatonna athletics.''
Owatonna rolled over Simley on Saturday night to win the 3A title. There were these notations of dual meet records in the Star Tribune coverage: Owatonna, 60-1, and Simley, 23-7.
Which takes us 17 winters into the future, to Thursday evening at Maple Grove High School, where the St. Cloud Crush — a wrestling cooperative of Cathedral, Apollo, Tech and Granite City Baptist high schools — was set to take on Osseo and Maple Grove as part of a triangular meet.
This put Davis, in his first St. Cloud season, on the cusp of 1,200 dual wins, according to his meticulous records from quick stops at three high schools before his tremendous 25 seasons at Owatonna, and stops at seven high schools in five states since the winter of 2012-13.
The big, round 1,200th came decisively, with the Crush defeating Osseo 57-18 in the first match. A few minutes later, there was a public address announcement of Davis' historic victory, the small crowd stood and applauded, and then out came a large congratulatory banner for the wrestlers to display along with their coach.
This was followed by a 49-28 win over host Maple Grove, No. 1,201, and then the bus ride back to St. Cloud, followed by Davis' 35-mile drive to Upsala, where he stays with a long-ago coaching buddy during the week rather than commute from home in Owatonna.
Sorry, Scot: As enjoyable as it was to see the happiness of family members, including wife, Mary, and granddaughter Taylan, on Thursday, it's now time to address those less-than-huge controversies at Owatonna.
There was the one-year suspension based on Minnesota State High School League rules for alleged "recruiting'' that wound up ending Davis' career at Owatonna after the 2009-10 season.
This was caused by the arrival in Owatonna of a wrestler from California. It does seem likely the MSHSL's dispute with Davis' arithmetic on the piling up of wins caused the league to be skeptical of his explanations.
That math problem was triggered by Davis' wonderful job building up Owatonna wrestling to the point he had as many as 70 worthy upperclassmen in the varsity room.
"Everyone wants to wrestle varsity,'' Davis said this week. "If they don't get to, you're going to lose some of them, and knowing what wrestling does for these young people … you don't want to see that.''
According to Davis, it said right there in the MSHSL guidelines that unlimited team matches were permitted, along with 36 bouts per wrestler.
Davis took advantage of the "unlimited" by sending out a couple of different varsity teams to different locations on occasion.
Thus, 2005: Owatonna 61 duals, finals foe Simley 30.
It came to be that Dave Stead, the MSHSL's executive director, would not sign off when Davis submitted paperwork for his win tabulations to be recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The league's bottom line is this: A school can only have one varsity team, not two or more.
Davis is the first high school coach to reach 1,200 wins in duals. I saw that with my own eyes Thursday night. Sadly, the NFHS is sticking with Rex Peckinpaugh, the retired coach at New Castle, Ind., as the record-holder at 1,001.
Yet, onward goes Scot Davis, invigorating programs, adding wins. A coaching career that started at Bellecourt, N.D., on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in 1976 has put him in seven high schools in five states since the winter of 2012-13, and now he's teamed with Bob Boeck trying to put some life back into St. Cloud's once-dynamic high school wrestling scene.
"We only have 30-some wrestlers, grades seven through 12,'' Davis said. "We had that many in the ninth grade at one time in Owatonna. But wrestlers still want to compete, want to get better, want to win.
"They were 9-12 here last winter. We're 18-4 now.''