Victor Gliva isn’t going to lie. It’s on his mind each day as he goes through workouts in the Farmington wrestling room, as he goes through an impressive senior season in which he’s lost just once in 36 matches.
The state’s top-ranked wrestler at 113 pounds in Class 3A is fixated on the number two — his second-place finish at last year’s state meet.
“You focus on the small things each day, but it’s still really in your mind,” he said of a state title. “It’s the big picture of what you’re working toward each day. It’s always on your mind a little bit.”
Lofty goals and even loftier expectations are common throughout the Farmington locker room this year. Ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, the Tigers (21-8) cruised through the Section 1 meet to qualify for its second consecutive state tournament — the only two in program history.
Farmington likely will have eight seniors in its lineup when the three-day tournament opens Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. They include three wrestlers with opportunities at individual titles: Gliva, Jamin LeDuc (132 pounds) and Taylor Venz (182 pounds).
“We have a great group of leaders that have set a great example for the young guys in the room, and they’ve set a great example for years,” coach Chad Olson said. “They take care of a lot of the daily staff, and as a coach we don’t have to worry about that. And it shows each time they get on the mat.”
Both LeDuc and Venz joined Gliva in reaching the podium in their respective weight classes at last year’s state meet. LeDuc was third in the 132-pound division, and Venz, who won the 106-pound title as a freshman, was third at 145 pounds.
None was overly pleased with the way his run ended, but each cited that state meet, the team’s first, as their favorite memory of high school wrestling.
“I didn’t expect it to be so fun,” Venz said. “We want everyone to be there again and get to experience that again.”
Team success is the No. 1 goal, they said. Making it back is something they are very proud of.
“It’d be right up there with being an individual state champion,” Venz said.
The team tournament will provide a difficult test for Farmington. National power Apple Valley is the top-ranked team, and St. Michael-Albertville is right behind the Eagles.
The Tigers will enjoy the challenge, Olson said. And he’ll try to enjoy the moment.
“We’ve never had a senior class this big, and it’s just such a great group,” he said. “Next year will be very difficult, but we’re very pleased with the season we’ve had.”
For Gliva, Venz and LeDuc, they want to make the most of their final trip to state. Venz will wrestle next year at Nebraska. Both Gliva and LeDuc have fielded offers from colleges, but are undecided if they will continue to compete.
Regardless, Gliva said he’s waited all season for this tournament, for one more shot at his ultimate goal.
“It’s kind of nice coming off [that success] last year, because expectations are high,” he said. “Our goals are high, too. We know what we have to do, we know how hard it is to get there and come out on top. We’ve put in the work.”