Well wrestling fans, the moment we have all been waiting for is finally upon us! The Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament will kick off tomorrow at the Xcel Energy Center. In Class AA, the Foley Falcons will take the mat in the team portion of the state tournament. The Falcons will take on Totino-Grace, at 9 a.m. tomorrow, in the first round of the tournament. In Class A, the Pioneers from Pierz will compete against Frazee in their first round match-up tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.

The Individual portion of the state tournament will kick-off Friday morning, with the championships being held at 7:30 on Saturday evening. Below is a list of area schools that will be represented down in St. Paul.



Class AAA

St. Cloud Apollo's Peter Nelson
St. Cloud Apollo's Peter Nelson. (via St. Cloud Apollo Eagles Facebook page)

St. Cloud Apollo -- Apollo will send 4 wrestlers to the state tournament this week including their 106 pounder, Peter Nelson. Peter, who is an 8th grader, came into sections as the #1 seed and he didn’t disappoint. In the finals, he dominated the match on his way to a 7 to 0 decision and his first section 8AAA title. Apollo also sends two former state champions to the Xcel. Defending champion Grant Nehring will look to win his 2nd straight state title, and Mitch Bengston will try and top the podium for an incredible 4th time. Apollo also sends junior big man, Bryce Kirchner.


St. Cloud Tech -- The Tigers qualified 2 wrestlers this past weekend in Little Falls. Senior Jerrad Nieland will be headed back to the Xcel this year in search of a state title. Nieland placed 3rd in 2012 and is primed for another deep run. Jerrad will be joined this weekend by teammate Austin Klaverkamp who won his true second match at sections to qualify for the tournament.


Sartell -- For the second straight year, the Sabres will send sophomore Daniel Vitale. Daniel won his section final in impressive fashion, scoring a fall over Little Falls’ Joe Reis. Vitale, who is ranked 7th in class 3A, heads to St. Paul with just two losses on the season.


Sauk Rapids-Rice's Chris Keske celebrating after winning his section 8AAA championship match
Sauk Rapids-Rice's Chris Keske celebrating after winning his section 8AAA championship match. (Photo: Shelly Keske)

Sauk Rapids-Rice -- For the second time in their careers, Sauk Rapids seniors Chris Keske and Austin Walz will be competing at the X. Chris pinned Brainerd’s Luke Boran for his first section title last Saturday, while Walz won his true second match in dramatic fashion to clinch his state berth. The two will be joined by teammates Korey Keske (who is the younger brother of Chris) and Taylor Rau. Both freshmen are making their first state tournament appearance.



Class AA

Foley Wrestling
Foley Wrestling after place third at the state tournament in 2012. (via Foley High School Activities Department)

Foley -- The Falcons will be competing in the team portion of the state tournament on Thursday for an impressive sixth straight year. Foley won their section 6AA title by defeating Becker 35 to 13. First up for the Falcons will be Totino-Grace, who has posted a 12-1 record this season.

Individually, the Falcons qualified nine wrestlers, including two-time state placer, Tristan Manderfield. Other qualifiers for Foley include Tyler Funk, Randy Jenson, Keith Thell, Luke Kalvington, Tyler Midas, Mitchell Struffert, Mitch Keeler, and Cameron Svihla.

Becker -- Four Bulldogs will roll into St. Paul this weekend with state championship aspirations. Senior Colton Vekved, who has posted a 38-4 record this season, won his 160 pound 6AA title by way of a 6-1 decision over Princeton’s Billy McClay. Vekved will be joined by fellow senior Eric Dudek, and a pair of junior teammates, Zack Zimmer and Bobby Lee.



Class A

Pierz -- Is the third time the charm for Pierz? The Pioneers qualified for the state tournament last weekend for the third consecutive year when they defeated Holdingford, 39 to 18.  They will be tested right out of the gate at state on Thursday when they take on the undefeated Hornets from Frazee.

Individually, Pierz qualified seven wrestlers for state including senior Brad Meyer, who has a 37-3 mark on the season. Meyer won his section 7A title when he scored a slim 1 to 0 decision over Kyle Gerads of Holdingford. The Pioneers will also send Brandon Sullivan, Evan Woitalla, Travis Johnson, Ryley Smude and Curtis Brisk to the big dance.

Royalton / Upsala -- Two section champions will represent the Royals at the X on Friday. Junior Mitch Lange qualified for state by way of a major decision in his section final. Lange, who has just one defeat on the season, is currently ranked 3rd in Class A by TheGuillotine.com. Cory Wensmann also captured the section title at his weight class and will join Lange down in St. Paul.



Click here to see the team and individual brackets for the 2013 State Wrestling Tournament. Best of luck to all of our area’s student athletes this weekend!


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