Apple Valley’s Mark Hall celebrated his victory at 182 pounds over St. Michael-Albertville’s Lucas Jeske in the Eagles’ 31-26 win in the Class 3A team finals. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune)
Ever the gentleman, Apple Valley wrestling coach Dalen Wasmund paused, then smiled before answering a question that would drive most coaches nuts: Does he ever get tired of others predicting his team’s demise?
Many thought Apple Valley’s streak of 10 consecutive Class 3A championships was in jeopardy before Thursday’s final against St. Michael-Albertville. And once again, many were proven wrong as the Eagles made it 11 in a row with a 31-26 victory.
“We could have lost, that could have happened, but we have guys that move up and do their jobs, how could that get old?” he said.
Wasmund’s counterpart, St. Michael-Albertville coach Dan LeFebvre, was equally gracious in defeat despite the lingering frustration of losing to Apple Valley in the finals. This was the fifth time since 2010 the Knights have lost to Apple Valley in the Class 3A finals. In 2013, the teams tied and were crowned co-champions.
“We just can’t seem to get that seventh victory,” LeFebvre said. “We get six, but can’t get that seventh one. Of course, a lot of that has to do with Apple Valley. That is one tough, well-coached team over there.”
Apple Valley won the coin flip to start the match, which might have been the biggest victory of them all. It allowed the Eagles to determine the matchups — who would wrestle at which weight — which turned out to be crucial. It allowed, for example, Brock Morgan to move up to 160 pounds, where he earned a key victory over St. Michael-Albertville’s Donnie Leuer. And, of course, Apple Valley has two dominant wrestlers at the top of their lineup in Mark Hall and Gable Steveson, both of whom earned convincing victories and vital points.
“To have kids like that, Mark and Gable, do what they do and lead the others, it says so much about what we do,” Wasmund said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”