Jan. 24 and 25
the STMA youth wrestling organization hosted “the BRAWL”! This was the fourth annual event that featured 32 of the best teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The tournament is the biggest youth team tournament in the mid-west. Last year alone the tournament boasted of teams that took 2nd, 3rd and 4th place at the state tournament later that year.
This year’s field of 32 teams had been confirmed since early October. As the morning of the event dawned, there were 3 teams that had to drop out due to extreme weather conditions. That said, the other 29 teams (many staying overnight in hotels) were at the STMA high school on time and ready to wrestle. The venue itself allows the tournament to fit 16 full size mats for the 32 teams to compete on.
First round action kicked off at 10 am with most of the higher seeds winning their first round matches quite convincingly. Local teams STMA (66-15) and Delano (55-23) both won first round matches. As the second round began, Delano ran into a tough LP/GE/Browerville team, losing a closely contested 35-32 match. Meanwhile STMA had a barnburner against Blaine, finishing with a tied score of 36-36 and winning on the second tie-breaker criteria (# of matches won 8-7). STMA was the sole local team to advance into the final 8 undefeated teams. STMA’s next dual was against Waconia. Last year Waconia was the state tournament runner up in Rochester. In this match STMA jumped out to a early 18-0 lead, saw the score creep back to 18-7, then extended the lead to 30-7, before wrapping it up with a final victory of 42-28. The win put STMA (seeded #3) in the final 4, with New Prague (seeded #1), St. Francis (seeded #5) and Shakopee (seeded #2).
As the final four began, STMA found themselves matched up against Shakopee in the semi-finals. STMA’s first 4 wrestlers pulled them out to a 22-0 lead, only to see the next five matches won by Shakopee to make the score 22-19, STMA. The final 6 STMA wrestlers went 4-2 to propel the team to a 44-27 victory in the match. STMA had advanced to the finals. In the other semi-final match, New Prague had defeated St. Francis 56-16 in another dominating performance. Their other three victories on the day were by the scores of 75-0, 83-0 and 47-18, as the steamrolled their competition on the way to the finals. As the gym prepared to see the #1 seeded New Prague team battle against the #3 STMA team, STMA would again need to see their early weights power the team to a large lead, and once again they did not disappoint. STMA won 4 of the first 5 matches, jumping out to a 21-6 lead. New Prague then won two matches in a row by pin, followed by two decisions to take a 24-21 lead over STMA. STMA followed up by rattling off 4 straight wins, one by pin, to take a 36-24 point lead over New Prague with just two matches remaining. New Prague won the next match by pin to make the score 30-36 and in the heavyweight match, STMA’s Toby Dehn pinned his opponent in 1:54 to give STMA the victory by a final score of 42-30! STMA had won “the BRAWL”!
Other area teams placing were Delano (9th), ANML (17th), Elk River (21st) and Buffalo (22nd). The event was once again a huge success, with nearly 700 registered wrestlers, over 100 coaches and 1200 fans, it is the largest non-state team tournament for kids in the Midwest.