Simley's Kyle Gliva
Kyle Gliva had Brady Berge right where he wanted him.
The Simley senior had lost to the Kasson-Mantorville eighth-grader twice during the regular season, but he earned a hard-fought victory over Berge in Thursday's Class 2A championship match, winning in four overtimes.
Gliva said the match was crucial to his 5-4 victory over Berge in the 132-pound quarterfinals, one of the most highly anticipated matches of Friday's individual rounds.
"I got into his head," Gliva said.
Gliva won a state title at 113 pounds last year. Berge was the 106-pound champion in 2012.
"I knew what I had to do," said Gliva, who won with a takedown in the final minute of the third period, breaking a 3-3 tie. "I knew I could beat him."
Contributor off mat, too
Kasson-Mantorville heavyweight Sam Stoll wished he could have contributed more in Thursday's Class 2A victory over Simley, which gave the KoMets' their first team championship in school wrestling.
Stoll won by forfeit, giving Kasson-Mantorville the deciding points.
"That doesn't take anything away from the our victory, but it would have been fun to go out and win [and] wrestle for the championship," said Stoll, the No. 1-ranked heavyweight in Class 2A.
Before the match, Stoll's strength was credited by teammates with helping them escape a stuck elevator at their hotel that left them stranded for 75 minutes.
Stoll said wrestling in the individual tournament Friday was somewhat anticlimactic after the emotional team victory. After a first-round pin, he won his quarterfinal match over Zach Mahan of Orono, improving his record to 44-0.
Grateful to be wrestling
Rockford junior Ty Griffin won the 120-pound championship in 2012 and hoped for a similar result at 126 pounds this year. But an early-season knee injury in a match against Eden Prairie's Ben Brancale forced Griffin to reassess his goals.
"I still feel my knee pop every now and then," said Griffin, who missed six weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. "I don't feel it when I'm on the mat. The big problem is coming back from taking that much time off."
Griffin battled through a cut lip to win his 126-pound first-round match, beating Noah Bernier of Thief River Falls 6-2. He was grateful, he said, just to get the chance to wrestle in another state tournament.
"My moves aren't super-clean right now," Griffin said. "I'm just glad I could come back and wrestle here."
The champions from 2012who were still alive heading into Friday's semifinals were: Griffin; Simley's Juan Torres (126); Gliva (113); Kasson-Mantorville's Coltan Laganiere (138); Simley's Jake Short (152) and Nick Wanzek (170); Kasson-Mantorville's Broc Berge (195); and Totino-Grace's Lance Benick (182) and Joe Schiller (220).
Blue Earth Area junior Kysten Zierke shook off nerves to earn a first-round victory at 195 pounds, improving his record to 26-1, then beat Mitch Mesmaan of Holdingford 5-3 in overtime in the quarterfinals. Ranked No. 4 by the Guillotine before the meet, the muscular Zierke said wrestling was simply another tool to prepare for his first love: football.
"I do it to stay in shape and become mentally stronger," said Zierke, who quarterbacked Blue Earth to the Class 3A football championship last fall. "Football is number one for me."
After playing football into late November, Zierke wasn't sure about wrestling this season.
"At first I told my dad that I didn't want to go out for wrestling," he said. "I only had about a week off. But I'm glad I came back."
Seeking another title
Six wrestlers who won championships in 2012 are still in the hunt for another title. They are Sykora, who won at 106 pounds last year; New York Mills' 120-pounder Shane Novak (113); Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 138-pounder Taner Trembley (132); Cooling (145); Jackson County Central 170-pounder Darick Vancura (160) and Sibley East's Nathan Rose at 195.