Don't write off Apple Valley yet
The prevailing wisdom in 2013 was that Apple Valley's reign, which at the time was seven consecutive Class 3A team titles and 13 of 14 dating to 1999, was coming to an end. St.Michael-Albertville was anointed the new powerhouse. Pundits got the second part correct. But Apple Valley proved more resilient than expected. The teams tied for the Class 3A title in the most anticipated championship final in nearly two decades. Plenty think Apple Valley's run, now at 10 titles, will end this season at the hand of deep and talented St. Michael-Albertville. But the Eagles have two wrestlers considered the best in the nation at their respective weights: 170-pound senior Mark Hall, shooting for an unprecedented sixth individual state title, and 220-pound sophomore Gable Steveson, who won a world championship at that weight in August. The Eagles have question marks at key lower weights but it's far too soon to write Apple Valley's obituary.
Familiar face at Shakopee
Look who's in charge of an improving south metro team? None other than former Apple Valley coach Jim Jackson (above), who has taken over the burgeoning program. Jackson stepped down from Apple Valley after the 2012 season with a mind-blowing career record of 618-27-3. He spent parts of the past two seasons as an unpaid assistant at Eden Prairie. There's plenty of talent at Shakopee for Jackson to work with, led by two wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the state by theguillotine.com: 126-pound junior Brent Jones, the defending champ at 120, and 182-pound senior Owen Webster. Circle the Jan. 7 on the 2016 calendar, when Apple Valley travels to Shakopee for a highly anticipated dual meet.
Is the record not a record?
Kudos to WCCO-TV sports reporter David McCoy, who asked some hard questions about Eden Prairie coach Scot Davis' national record for career victories. Davis has coached at five other schools but did most of his winning in 25 years at Owatonna. He has a published record of 1,046 dual-meet victories, the nation's only coach with more than 1,000. But that record is not recognized by either the Minnesota State High School League or the National Federation of High Schools, who claim that Davis loaded his schedule with more dual meets than allowed, which is currently 36. Davis has countered that the match limit was solely for individuals and that he added meets, which often totaled more than 50 per season, to accommodate the number of wrestlers in Owatonna's program. No official determination has been reached. Stay tuned.