Prior Lake is stuck in third place. The Lakers easily claimed Class 3A bronze (34-21 over Owatonna) in Thursday's state wrestling team tournament, the same place they've finished the past two years.
"The first year we expected it. And probably the same the second year. This year, we thought we had a chance against them," Prior Lake 120-pound senior Tanner Johnshoy said. "Our program has a lot to build on."
State semifinal defeats to Apple Valley have become a regular part of Prior Lake's postseason. In 2011, the Lakers were shut out 70-0. In 2012, they were slightly improved in a 62-3 defeat. Thursday's 36-19 loss had a different feel to it. Prior Lake won six matches and put up a formidable fight.
A big step in the right direction, the group said.
"To be the third-best in [3A] is something to be proud of," coach Joe Block said. "I feel like our kids are getting better."
Expectations stayed on track for the most part throughout Thursday's team tournament. The only early round upsets were produced in Class 1A, though the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds still earn spots in each class championship.
Unseeded Sibley East defeated No. 3 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and No. 5 Chatfield topped No. 4 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.
Jayton Nisbit pinned Clay Mogard at 1:21 to rally Chatfield past Sibley East 35-32 in the final 285-pound match of the third-place meet. Class 2A Foley defeated New Prague 33-24 to finish in third place.
Moorhead (3A), Chisago Lakes (2A) and ACGC (1A) were the consolation champions.
Iowa up in arms
The controversial decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove wrestling from the 2020 Summer Olympics has apparently had little effect on the Minnesota high school wrestling community.
While Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad made news at the Iowa state meet last week by circulating a petition asking the IOC to reinstate wrestling, there was no such groundswell apparent at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.
Jeff Beshey of www.theguillotine.com, said he hasn't noticed much anger or outrage from Minnesota wrestlers.
"I don't think it has had much of an effect on high school or college wrestling," Beshey said. "Most of the focus has come from USA Wrestling and FILA, which is the international governing body. I think they have been joining forces."