GRANITE FALLS -- Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg is going back in state.
It will be the first time in wrestling for the Fighting Saints, but the second time this school year for many on the squad.
"This is the best feeling I've ever had ... well, besides state football," said Aaron Zimmer, one of six seniors in the Saints' wrestling lineup that also played primary roles on the Class A championship team in fall. "Now we've got to match that."
KMS won its first section wrestling title by beating Yellow Medicine East 45-16 Saturday in the 3A championship.
The Fighting Saints (19-1), ranked No. 1 by the Guillotine, topped No. 11 Canby 38-21 in the semifinals Saturday, avenging last year's loss to the Lancers in the 3A championship.
YME (23-8), seeded No. 4, stopped No. 2-ranked and No. 1-seeded Minneota (22-1) by a 34-21 score in the other semifinal. The Vikings had shaded the Sting 32-26 in a Camden Conference dual on Feb. 12.
KMS joins another area team, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, in the Class A field. State seeding and first-round matchups will be announced today. The team tournament starts March 5 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
"This makes all the work worthwhile," said Zimmer. "We've been working for this since sixth grade."
The Saints feature four wrestlers ranked No. 1 in Class A with a cumulative record of 145-5; Kevin Steinhaus at 160 pounds, Mitch Hagen at 171, Joel Bauman at 189 and Brad Kneisl at 215.
"We knew we had to win down low and get a big lead going into those upper weights," said YME head coach David Wingert.
Casey Field, Austen Cole, Dylan Hoffman and Tongen would pick up early wins and give YME a 16-15 lead. But the rest of the matches all went to KMS.
"We were kind of flat after that," said Field, a two-time state individual runner-up.
It was a fast start for the Saints that practically ruined the YME chance at upsetting the No. 2 seed with 12 matches left.
Kurt Timmons dropped Evan Knudson in the second period and Tyler Carlson nipped Levi Specht at 112 for a 9-0 KMS lead.
"We're the bridesmaids again," said Field. "We were second twice to Adrian and twice to Canby and now to KMS."
KMS 45, YME 16
103: Kurt Timmons, K, pin Evan Knudson 3:42
112: Tyler Carlson, K, dec. Levi Specht 3-2
119: Austen Cole, Y, pin Jordan Rothers 4:41
125: Dylan Hoffman, Y, dec. Joey Paulson 4-0
130: Klinton Van Heuveln, K, dec. Logan Johnson 8-3
135: Aaron Doraska, K, dec. Dustin Baker 10-3
140: Casey Field, Y, dec. Jacob Engler 6-0
145: Justin Tongen, Y, maj. Casey Kreiger 15-3
152: Aaron Zimmer, K, dec. Mason Hegna 9-4
160: Kevin Steinhaus, K, pin Blake Danderand 2:14
171: Mitch Hagen, K, maj. Derek Dyrdahl 14-6
189: Joel Bauman, K, tecfl, Cody Sanfer 4:45
215: Brad Kniesl, K, won by forfeit
285: Adam Wentzel, K, pin Tim Savig 1:19
YME 34, Minneota 21
The Sting trailed 21-19 with four weights left in a match both sides expected would be a toss-up, despite Minneota's perfect record and No. 2 ranking.
At 160, the Sting's Derek Dyrdahl's takedown of Josh Van Overbeke in the first period was all the scoring and YME nudged into the lead 22-21. At 189, Cody Sanders rallied from three points down in the third period with an escape, takedown and a nearfall to edge Jared Longtin 6-5 and give YME a 25-21 lead.
Evan Stock locked up the victory with a 7-0 decision at 215.
103: Evan Knutson, Y, pin Isaac Josephson 4:41
112: Chris Skillings, M, maj. Levi Specht 12-1
119: Austen Cole, Y, maj. T.J. Bueltel 12-3
125: Beau Buysse, M, pin Holdyn Sand 3:54
130: Dylan Hoffman, Y, dec. Joe Kack 5-4
135: Alex Lessman, M, dec. Logan Johnson 6-1
140: Casey Field, Y, dec. Adam Josephson 10-3
145: Sam Derynck, M, tecfl, Steve Johnke 4:51
152: Justin Tongen, Y, dec. Blake Abraham 8-3
160: Adam Longtin, M, dec. Blake Danderand 9-5
171: Derek Dyrdahl, Y, dec. Josh Van Overbeke 2-0
189: Cody Sander, Y, dec. Jared Longtin 6-5
215: Evan Stock, Y, dec. Jason Vick, 7-0
285: Tim Savig, Y, won by forfeit
KMS 35, Canby 21
This was a rematch of last year's title match in which the Lancers handed KMS its only loss to gain its 27th state appearance.
Canby won five of the first six matches to lead 18-4 with Klinton Van Heuveln's major at 125 the lone KMS win. Jacob Engler's win by technical fall at 140 started a run by the Fighting Saints in which they'd outscore the Lancers' 31-0 through the 215-pound class.
Zimmer and Trevor Mahlum won decisions, followed by bonus-point wins from Steinhaus at 160, Hagen at 171, Bauman at 189 and Kneisl at 215.
103: Ted Berckes, C, dec. Kurt Timmons 2-1
112: Jake Long, C, dec. Tyler Carlson 8-5
119: Cedric Citrowske, C, dec. Jordan Rothers 9-7
125: Klinton Van Heuveln, K, maj. Chris Kaddatz 17-4
130: Matt Jellen, C, dec. Stuart Johnson 1-0
135: Brett Citrowske, C, pin Aaron Doraska 2:00
140: Jacob Engler, K, tecfl, Zach Gorder 4:46
145: Aaron Zimmer, K, dec. Tyler Baer 10-6
152: Trevor Mahlum, K, dec. Andrew Fokken 5-4
160: Kevin Stenhaus, K,, pin Ryan Nelson 3:33
171: Mitch Hagen, K, maj. Brock Claeys 11-2
189: Joel Bauman, K, maj. Ethan Kockelman 15-6
215: Brad Kneisl, K, pin Travis Longhenry 1:23
285: Brad Wollum, C, dec. Adam Wentzel 4-2