STMA wrestlers win Christmas tourney

Thorn, Sladek win individual titles

The 2012 Minnesota Christmas Tournament Champions include front row, left to right, Coach John Thorn, Mitchell McKee, Mark Voss, Owen Gammell, Tommy Thorn, Tanner Mills, Cole Sladek and Aaron Dick. Back row: Jayson Ness (tourney staff), Coach Chris Vike, Mikey Kessler, Thor Holstad, Jake Briggs, Jordan Joseph, Coach Joe Grygelko and Coach Dan Lefebvre.

The 2012 Minnesota Christmas Tournament Champions include front row, left to right, Coach John Thorn, Mitchell McKee, Mark Voss, Owen Gammell, Tommy Thorn, Tanner Mills, Cole Sladek and Aaron Dick. Back row: Jayson Ness (tourney staff), Coach Chris Vike, Mikey Kessler, Thor Holstad, Jake Briggs, Jordan Joseph, Coach Joe Grygelko and Coach Dan Lefebvre.

The St. Michael-Albertville wrestling team emerged as team champions in the annual Minnesota Christmas Tournament in Rochester on Dec. 14 and 15.

After a somewhat disasterous semi-final round in which the Knights won only 3 of 9 matches and dipped to third place in the team race, STMA came roaring back in the wrestlebacks and overtook nationally ranked teams Apple Valley and Kasson-Mantorville, to win the title. Apple Valley placed second, as a team, followed by Kasson-Mantorville, and another nationally ranked team, Simley, was fourth.

ऀSTMA’s Tommy Thorn and Cole Sladek each won individual titles at 120 pounds and 138 pounds, respectively. Mikey Kessler (220 pounds) was runnerup losing a close match to Apple Valley’s Paul Cheney in the finals. Aaron Dick (106), Mitchell McKee (113), and Ricky Briggs (195) each placed third, while Mark Voss (132) and Jordan Joseph (170) earned fourth place finishes. Tanner Mills (126) and Lincoln Mallinger (145) took fifths to round out the placewinners. Thor Holstad (152) and Jake Briggs (182), each won 3 matches and Owen Gammell (160) won 2 matches, but did not place, all 3 contributing to the championship point total.

ऀIt was the 2nd time that the Knights captured the team title in the Christmas Tourney, after winning it in 2005. Apple Valley had won the team title the past 6 years and 12 of the last 14 years.

ऀThis year’s tourney had a total of 36 teams competing including most of Minnesota’s top teams in classes “A,” “AA,” and “AAA,” along with some of the top teams from North and South Dakota and teams representing Iowa and Wisconsin. The Christmas Tourney is considered by most to be tougher, in many ways, than the Minnesota State Tourney.

ऀSTMA head coach Dan Lefebvre said, “We had a true team effort. All thirteen guys that we entered in the tournament contributed to the team scoring and all 13 won at least 2 matches. Tommy and Cole were outstanding, both winning their second straight Christmas Tournament titles. That is quite an accomplishment.”

ऀIn junior varsity competition, the STMA JV wrestling team won 4 duals to capture the Anoka JV Christmas dual tournament at Anoka on Saturday, Dec. 15. The Knights defeated Owatonna in the finals, by a score of 36-24.

ऀAnother highly competitive tournament with nationally ranked teams in it, coming up for the Knights is “The Clash,” a 32-team dual meet tournament at Rochester on Dec. 28 and 29. The Knights received one of the top seeds and will wrestle their first dual on Friday December 28th at 4 p.m. against Kimball in pool play competition. This Friday Dec. 21, the Knights host Scott West, a perennial Minnesota class “AA” powerhouse, in a dual meet at STMA High School.

Finals Round results for STMA wrestlers at the Christmas Tourney:

1st place matches:

120-Tommy Thorn (STMA) won by major dec. over Tanner Johnshoy (Prior Lake) 13-4

138-Cole Sladek (STMA) dec. over Colton Lagainere (Kasson-Mantorville) 9-4

220-Paul Cheney (Apple Valley) dec. over Billy Kessler (STMA) 4-3

3rd place matches:

106-Aaron Dick (STMA) dec. over Tanner Cole (Owatonna) 3-2

113-Mitchell McKee (STMA) dec. over Hunter Marko (Amery, WI) 6-4, OT

132-Luke Rowh (Hastings) dec. over Mark Voss (STMA) 8-6, OT

170-Derick Vancura (Jackson) dec. over Jordan Joseph (STMA), 2-1

195-Ricky Briggs (STMA) dec. over Alex Hart (Prior Lake), 7-5, OT

5th place matches:

126-Tanner Mills (STMA) dec. over Brock Morgan (Apple Valley) injury default

145-Lincoln Mallinger (STMA) dec. over Jake Hanson (Rochester Mayo) 5-3

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