Mark Hall of Apple Valley, top, wrestled Colten Carlson of Wilmar in the Class 3A, 152-lb championship match. Hall, a freshman, won his third state title.
A national presence in the center of three championship mats produced a result worthy of its hype. Lakeville South's Tommy Petersen held off Chase Morlock 3-2 in the 195-pound meeting of nationally ranked wrestlers on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.
In arguably the marquee match of the meet, Petersen kept Morlock low to the ground as time expired, giving him a repeat championship in the division.
"Just defense. Strong strategy of defense," Petersen said in describing how he slowed the 2012 182-pound champion. "There are a lot of athletes in that weight class."
Still catching his breath from the victory, Petersen said he thought both wrestlers weren't at their best for all three periods. The nerves and big stage of the event changed the mood, but Petersen kept his focus just long enough. "There were a bunch of nerves going," he said. But "a lot of blood, sweat and tears and broken noses" helped him remain consistent.
The best are staying
Apple Valley's Mark Hall is still on track to win a record six individual state championships. The freshman collected No. 3 on Saturday night and also confirmed that he has no plans to leave Apple Valley for a full-time spot training with the U.S. wrestling team in Colorado.
"Staying at Apple Valley is the thing that's really important to me," Hall said. "Right now, I love it here in Minnesota. There are no wrestling fans like here."
Though Hall is committed to Apple Valley for at least another year, he said he will seriously consider the move after his junior season, when he'll be 18 years old. He had hoped to earn a chance to wrestle in the 2020 Olympic Games, but now that wrestling has been removed as a sport, he has more time to consider the full-time commitment to U.S. wrestling. "At that point I real have to make a decision of what's best for my future," he said. "But for sure, I'm back next year."
Waiting for Danny Woiwor at the edge of his state championship mat was the best hug he'd had a in long time. Two state champions, and brothers, embraced to celebrate the Apple Valley sibling sweep.
"It's Woiwor all day," Danny (160 pounds) said, speaking for his younger state champion brother, Maolu (113 pounds). "We've tried to make it that each year."
The plan has worked well. Maolu, only a sophomore, already has two individual state championships and Danny finishes his career with a second title.
"Seeing him win almost brought tears to my eyes," Danny said. Then the other side of the brother came out about the siblings' plans tonight. "We'll probably takes digs at each other who's win was more impressive."
Three sets of brothers, including the Woiwors, competed in Saturday's individual state wrestling tournament's final day.
Irondale twins Dustin Weinmann and Ryan Weinmann each medaled. Dustin won the 126 state championship and Ryan finished in fifth in 120.
Voss brothers, Mark of St. Michael-Albertsville and Wayne of Simley, each medaled. Mark finished runner-up for the second straight year and Wayne returned to the podium in fifth place after a two-year hiatus from that state tournament that included personal trials that required him to transfer from STMA to Simley.
Apple Valley and STMA qualified 13 wrestlers for Saturday night's individual finals. The teams that shared the Class 3A title as co-champs collected nine individual state titles. The Eagles were 7-1 and the Knights 2-3.
The Thorn family is now among elite company. STMA's Tommy Thorn (120 pounds) won his third individual championship to give his family name 10 titles. Brothers Mike and David combined for seven. No. 10 ties the Thorns with the Sanders wrestling family, who's brothers Eric and Zach won five titles each.