Mound Westonka's Aaron Cashman wound up upside down when being rolled by winner Patrick McKee of St. Michael Albertville in the Class 3A 106-pound final. McKee's brother, Mitchell, won the 138 crown. (Matt Blewett, Special to the Star Tribune)
There was a lot more to the hug that Mitchell McKee gave younger brother Patrick than just congratulations following Patrick’s 9-4 victory over Mound Westonka’s Aaron Cashman in the Class 3A 106-pound final of the state wrestling championships Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
“I don’t know when the last time he’s hugged me like that,” said Patrick, a St. Michael-Albertville sophomore. “Probably two years ago, when we were going through everything with my dad. I think he was more happy for me than I was when he won his first championship.”
It was Steve McKee who left the hospital, where he was being treated for cancer, to watch son Mitchell, then a sophomore, win his first state championship in 2014. Steve passed away later that year, but the parallels, with Patrick getting his first title at the same age, are too big to deny.
Patrick McKee trailed Cashman 4-2 going into the third period. But, remembering a loss to Cashman in December, he changed his strategy and outworked Cashman in the final period.
“I didn’t think I’d get that excited,” Mitchell said. “I was jumping up and down in my seat. The way he wrestled in that third period made me want to go out and score some points.”
He did, dominating Tyler Shilson of Centennial to win by a technical fall in the third period for the 138-pound title, his third state championship. It was Mitchell’s third consecutive state championship. He finished the season 49-0.
“I think my dad would be very proud of both of us,” Mitchell said.
Patrick agreed. “I never want to put my dad behind us,” he said. ”It’s because of family that we’re here.”
Just as Farmington senior Victor Gliva was wrapping up his 8-0 victory over Willmar’s Cael Carlson for the 113-pound championship, his cousin Jake, a sophomore at Simley, was taking the adjacent mat to wrestle for the Class 2A 120-pound title.
The older Gliva found a spot in the stands to watch Jake beat Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Reed DeFrang 6-3. The two Glivas walked off the mats together, having achieved something they talked about many times at family gatherings: winning championships in the same year.
“We talked about it really for the first time years ago, when we first hit high school and started wrestling varsity level,” Victor said. “Even when we were kids, too, but it wasn’t that serious then.”
“It feels awesome,” Jake said. “We knew it was bound to happen sooner or later.”
• Shakopee junior Brent Jones won his second straight state championship, winning the 126-pound championship with a 7-3 victory over Tyler Eischens of Anoka. Two matches later, teammate Alex Lloyd won his first title, pinning Lakeville North 145-pounder Wade Sullivan.
• St. Michael-Albertville’s Jake Allar defeated Apple Valley’s Brock Morgan 3-0 in the 152 final, but two other Knights failed to win titles. Lucas Jeske lost to Farmington’s Taylor Venz 12-3 in the 182-pound final and Evan Foster lost to Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson by technical fall at 220 pounds.
It was the second state championship for both Venz, who won at 106 pounds in 2013, and Steveson, who was the defending 220-pound champion.
• Rogers’ Andrew Piehl completed a 43-0 season by beating Willmar’s Brady Reigstad 7-1 for the heavyweight championship.