With all respect to other Class 2A teams, likely the biggest team match in the class happened nearly two weeks ago when No. 1-ranked Simley upended No. 2 Kasson-Mantorville 46-19 in the Section 1 final at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center.
Since 2008, the state title has gone to one of those two schools. They were placed in the same section in 2018, resulting in the section final commanding considerable wrestling community attention.
Considered arguably the state's best team regardless of class, Simley is the favorite to win its second consecutive state championship and 13th overall.
The Spartans feature five wrestlers who carry the No. 1 ranking in their weight class: Reid Nelson at 113 pounds, Chase DeBlaere at 126, Cael Berg at 138, Ryan Sokol at 145, and Quayin Short at 195 (he will wrestle at 182 in the individual tournament). Three others are ranked No. 2: Nolan Wanzek (170), Gavin Nelson (182) and Bennett Tabor (220).
Should Simley stumble, the team most likely to emerge is No. 3-ranked Fairmont/Martin County West, the runner-up a year ago.
Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield and Orono are making their state tournament debuts.
• 106 pounds: Tyler Wells, Princeton, 43-0; 113: Christian Noble, Big Lake, 36-0; 126: Jaxon Rohman, Fairmont/Martin Co. West, 45-0; 145: Zack Wells, Princeton, 40-0; 182: Patrick Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville, 32-0; 220: Bennett Tabor, Simley, 43-0, and Danny Striggow, Orono, 13-0; heavyweight: Kalen Baase, Redwood Valley, 37-0.
113: Mason Gehloff, Waseca (106)
120: Joey Thompson, Totino-Grace (113, 106 in 2018)
126: Chase DeBlaere, Simley (120)
145: Ryan Sokol, Simley (132)
170: Bennett Berge, Kasson-Mantorville (160)
182: Patrick Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville
220: Danny Striggow, Orono
Toughest bracket: At 220 pounds, defending champ Danny Striggow and Simley's Bennett Tabor are undefeated. At 170 pounds, Kasson-Mantorville's Bennett Berge could earn a rematch with Simley's Gavin Nelson, who handed him his only loss of the season in the Section 1 finals. But it's hard to overlook 145 pounds. Simley's Ryan Sokol heads a top four that includes Delano's Carson Tschudi, Princeton's undefeated Zach Wells and Thief River Falls' Jake Davis, who has 200 career wins.
Band of brothers: Talented brothers abound — the Johnsons and the Manvilles at Shakopee, the Rogotzkes at Stillwater, the McEnellys at Waconia and the Godes at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville are a few examples. Princeton's Wells brothers are the only siblings in the meet who have not lost a match between them. Tyler, a freshman 106-pounder, is 43-0 and Zach, a junior 145-pounder, is 40-0. Tyler won the U15 title at 41kg at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in June.