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Dueling in the trenches carries over to the mat for Class 2A heavyweights

02/26/2016, 11:17pm CST
By Cody Stavenhagen, Star Tribune

The proliferation of football linemen in the heavyweight class is evident at the Clas 2A state meet.


The heavyweight quarterfinal match between Totino-Grace’s Sam Anderson and Becker’s Casey Vesledahl was equal parts wrestling match and battle in the trenches.

Anderson and Vesledahl are both accomplished linemen for their schools’ respective football teams, and both carry that style onto the mat.

Anderson said he didn’t start Friday’s match wrestling well, but he ended it with a pin on Vesledahl at the 2:52 mark.

So what changed?

“Anger,” Anderson said.

Anderson channeled the frustration with his performance into a victory by fall, advancing to Saturday’s semifinals. He will face Mankato East’s Logan Swanson, who is signed to play football at Augustana College.

The proliferation of linemen in the heavyweight class makes sense, Anderson said, because the sports are good complements. Anderson, a defensive tackle, said wrestling helps him be lighter on his feet and quicker with his hands, thus giving him an edge when rushing an opposing quarterback.

“I think it’s the best two-sport co-op,” he said.

Gliva games

Simley’s Jake Gliva and cousin Victor Gliva of Farmington won’t wrestle each other Saturday, but bragging rights still could be on the line.

The cousins have grown up together, and Jake, a sophomore, currently has an advantage. He gave Victor, a senior, his only loss of the season earlier this year.

Both advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. Jake did it with a 13-1 major decision over Sauk Centre/Melrose’s Jordan Winter in the Class 2A 120-pound division. Victor won by technical fall over St. Albert-Michaelville’s Zachary Nygaard in the Class 3A 113 bracket.

“We’re really close,” Jake said. “We have been our whole life. We’ve always been at the same tournaments, and he’s usually a weight ahead of me, a grade ahead of me or something.’’

Victor said family gatherings are often full of wrestling. Though things usually stay friendly, it couldn’t hurt to add a state championship to the conversation.

“We joke about who’s going to win, but we never actually worry about it,” Victor said.

Family matters

The Class 2A bracket could become subject to the rule of family dynasties.

Ben and Sam Naddy of Ottertail Central will both vie for state titles Saturday, and Ben will be looking to keep a perfect record intact in the 106-pound division.

Brady and Aaron Berge will try to add to the team title they won for Kasson-Mantorville. Brady has a chance to become a five-time state champion, and Aaron can add to an already impressive tournament. His win by fall in the team final was the turning point that led to the KoMets capturing the championship.

Keaten Schorr, Patrick Kennedy and Noah Ryan have also advanced for Kasson-Mantorville.

In the 132-pound class, Donny Bothun of Dawson-Boyd-Montevideo-LaquiParl Valley lost in the first round to Annadale-Maple Lake’s Tanner Vasser, but his 10-brother family nonetheless has a tough mark to beat.

In January, Donny helped the Bothun family establish a state record with a combined 714 victories by the brothers.

Upset special

Monticello’s Jakob Thompson had possibly the biggest upset of the day in 2A when he defeated second-seeded Brent Chambers of Princeton in the opening round of the 220-pouind division. Thompson lost to South St. Paul’s Paxton Woods in the ensuing match.

Class 2A undefeated wrestlers

106: Ben Naddy, Ottertail Central, 39-0

126: Tucker Sjomeling, Delano, 42-0

145: Ryan Epps, Cannon Falls, 37-0

160: Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville, 43-0

220: Kevin Kneisl, Delano, 40-0

Defending champs

2015 champions who are alive in championship brackets. Last year’s championship weight in parentheses:

126: Keaten Schorr, Kasson-Mantorville (113)

132: Garrett Aldrich, Albert Lea (132)

152: Griffin Parriott, New Prague (145)

160: Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville (152)



Class 1A undefeated wrestlers

113: Hunter Burnett, Pipestone, 39-0; Jace Geving, Deer River, 39-0; Mark Buringa, St. Charles, 40-0

120: Noah Becker, LP-GE/Browerville, 38-0

160: Jacob Winjum, Caledonia, 23-0

182: Keegan Moore, Jackson Co. Central, 32-0

195: Jonah Lange, Frazee, 37-0

220: Tyler Oberg, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 32-0

Defending champs

2015 champions who are alive in championship brackets. Last year’s championship weight in parentheses:

113: Ethan Cota, Kenyon-Wanamingo (106)

120: Noah Bauer, Pine Island (113)

126: Tanner Reetz, Frazee (120)

182: Keegan Moore, Jackson Co. Central (182)

220: Manuel Garcia, BOLD (220)


Thursday’s sessions drew a total of 15,873 fans. Friday’s first session drew an announced 11,698. Friday’s total was not available.

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