Kyle Begin had plenty of open space around the center mat at Xcel Energy Center last Saturday night and another large crowd watching. But then he thought better of duplicating his back flip celebration from a year ago.
Sealing Anoka's 50th individual state wrestling championship was quite enough.
Begin, a senior 170-pounder, won his second consecutive state title with a 4-2 overtime victory against Albert Lea's Trey Hable.
Hable, the state's No. 2-ranked wrestler at the weight, caught Begin in a move he described as a "go-behind thing." But Begin, ranked No. 1, swung back around Hable for a takedown and championship No. 50 for the Tornadoes.
"That's pretty cool," said Begin, who is ranked No. 11 nationally by InterMat and finished the season 38-2. "I love the school, I love the history. I've had a lot of good friends on this team. To be No. 50 is even cooler."
As for that non-back flip?
"I did it up last year," he said. "I thought I better tone it down. I don't want to get too cocky."
Begin was joined atop the Class 3A podium by Coon Rapids junior Michael Burckhardt, the winner at 220 pounds.
Totino-Grace crowned two champions in the Class 2A bracket. Freshman Lance Benick won the 182-pound championship with a pin in the title match, and junior Joe Schiller eked out a 6-5 decision at 220 pounds.
In the team competition earlier in the week, Champlin Park lost both of its matches. Making their team tournament debut, the Rebels were rocked 57-6 by eventual state runner-up St. Michael-Albertville in the opening round. Champlin Park then fell 39-28 to Little Falls in the consolation round.
North Metro boys' hockey folds
Projecting player numbers only in the teens next season, the North Metro boys' hockey co-op of Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Fridley and Park Center is folding.
Park Center activities director Larry Lawler said that the team, formed in 2006, "is not going to exist in its current form" next season but that plans for returning players won't be finalized for about two weeks. Options include teams forming co-ops with other schools.
Lawler said the North Metro girls' program, which includes the schools above plus Osseo, will remain the same.
Staff reporter David La Vaque contributed to this report.