Stillwater's Hunter Lyden went 53-0 in his senior season and repeated as 170-pound state champion, Photo by AARON LAVINSKY, Star Tribune
The third one was the best one, according to Hunter Lyden.
The Stillwater senior won his first individual championship at the wrestling state meet as a sophomore in 2020, winning the Class 3A 152-pound title just before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the high school tournament season.
He followed with a 170-pound championship in 2021, but he had missed most of the season because of an injury and won the title at St. Michael-Albertville High School, where the meet was held because of lingering pandemic precautions.
“That one didn’t really feel like a state tournament,” Lyden said.
This year was exactly how it was supposed to be. He won another championship at 170, putting the final touches on an undefeated (53-0) season with an 11-3 victory over Cole Han-Lindemyer of Farmington in the finals. That made him the 2022 Star Tribune Metro Wrestler of the Year.
“This was a lot more satisfying, to end my career in the traditional style at the [Xcel Energy Center],” said Lyden, the third generation of wrestling excellence in his family. His father and his grandfather, both named Larry, passed down a passion for the sport that Hunter will bring to the Gophers in college next year.
His grandfather was a Greco-Roman wrestler for the U.S. Olympic team in 1968, and his father wrestled for Augsburg in the late 1990s. His father remains a frequent training partner.
“My dad is my best friend,” Hunter said. “I’m thankful to him for always keeping on me to never settle and helping me be the wrestler I can be and the best person I can be.
“I’m very blessed to be part of this family. I hope I can fill their shoes.”