ST. MICHAEL — Tyson Meyer met little resistance on the path to proving he’s one of the state’s best.
The top seed in the Class A 182-pound bracket, the Minnewaska senior capped off a 36-0 season by winning his third straight state championship Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
In the finals, Meyer scored six takedowns on the way to a 14-4 major decision over Chatfield’s Grady Schott.
“I don’t know what else to say other than Tyson’s a solid wrestler,” said Minnewaska head wrestling coach Justin Viss.
Meyer is the third West Central Tribune-area wrestler to win three or more championships, joining Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Kevin Steinhaus (2007-09) and Renville-Sacred Heart’s John Miller (four from 1982-85).
“It feels good to finish my career with three state titles,” Meyer said.
Also winning state Class A individual titles Saturday were Benson 195-pounder Thomas Dineen and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 145-pounder Blaine Fischer.
Meyer came out of the gate fast with a first-period fall on Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted’s Isaac Busse. Then in the semifinals, a familiar opponent awaited in West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville’s Nathaniel Kisgen. Before Saturday, the two wrestled twice this season, with Meyer winning a pair of decisions, 3-0 and 5-3.
“After you’ve wrestled somebody two times, you know their game plan and what you’ve got to do to succeed,” Meyer said. “I had to take good, smart shots.”
Up 3-0 through two periods, Meyer had a pair of takedowns in the third to beat Kisgen 7-2 and clinch a spot in the finals.
With no break between sessions at this year’s state tournament because of COVID-19 protocols, Meyer and Viss didn’t have much of a chance to scout Schott before the finals.
But, Viss, a 2013 Chatfield High School grad, did get some insider knowledge on Schott earlier this year.
“We had a weekend off earlier this year so I saw them wrestle one weekend when I went to visit my parents,” Viss said.
Meyer stayed in control throughout the final and the result was never in doubt.
“It was my last match as a Minnewaska Laker, so I wanted to leave it all out there,” Meyer said.
Finishing his high-school career with a 227-30 record, Meyer will continue his wrestling career in college at Division II St. Cloud State.
Dineen gets it done
Dineen also wrapped up an undefeated season with a state championship.
The Benson sophomore was the top seed and the top-ranked wrestler at 195.
Even with that resume, Dineen was tense about the high expectations for the day.
“I was nervous,” Dineen said, “but I knew I could do it.”
Dineen is Benson’s first state champion since Ryan Thompson won the 152-pound championship in 2010.
With wins over United North Central’s Torrey Carlson (9-4 decision) and fourth-ranked Carter Holtz of Kimball (5-2 decision), the momentum was building as he prepared to face Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Ethan Kovars in the finals.
“I could tell with every point he was getting more confident,” said Braves head coach Scott Thompson. “By the finals, he was in high gear.”
Dineen added: “It was building a lot throughout the day. I knew the finals would take care of itself.”
In the finals, Dineen shut out Kovars and won his first state championship with an 8-0 major decision.
“I just trusted my stuff and it worked,” Dineen said.
Said Thompson: “That was a lot of fun to watch.”
Dineen concluded the season with a 38-0 record.
Fischer nets first title
Blaine Fischer’s first state title was a long time coming, according to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa head coach Jack Mueller.
“Since the end of the season, we’ve gone by the motto: ‘Good things happen to good people,’” Mueller said. “And this couldn’t happen to a better person. Blaine grinds day in and day out.”
In his fourth state tournament, the Jaguars junior 145-pounder reached the championship round for the first time after wins over Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Beau Jurrens (7-0 decision) and Minneota’s Zack Fier (9-2 decision).
Facing third-ranked Jacob Leibold of Royalton/Upsala in the finals, Fischer took the bottom position in the second period after a scoreless first. With six seconds remaining, Fischer got a reversal to go ahead 2-0 with two minutes to go.
“(The opening) was kind of there and I took advantage,” Fischer said.
With top position in the third, Fischer, who came into the quarterfinals ranked second, rode out Leibold to preserve the victory.
“It was an absolute battle,” Mueller said.
Fischer ends 2021 with a 39-1 record.
Around the area
- Minnewaska’s other state entrant, senior 285-pounder Jakob Swalla, also made it to the state final.
Despite being the top-ranked heavyweight in Class A, Swalla was the No. 4 seed in the final eight. He opened Saturday with a second-period fall of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s Logan Sherwood, who was ranked second. In the semifinals, Swalla beat top-seeded Luke Mertens with a 6-4 decision.
But during a scramble in the third period, Swalla went down to the mat with a leg injury.
“He twisted up his ankle a little,” Viss said.
Facing Canby’s Shane Noyes in the championship, Swalla was unable to beat the defensive-minded Noyes, who won the match with a 3-0 decision.
“Jakob knew he would have to battle from the four seed,” Viss said. “To come through where he was (on the bracket), he had a good day.”
- Fischer was one of three BBE wrestlers to compete in the finals along with junior Walker Bents (126) and freshman Ryan Jensen (120).
Looking to win his second state championship after winning at 106 last season, Bents opened with a 6-1 decision over Maple River’s Boden Simon. In the semis against Jackson County Central’s Logan Butzon, Bents scored a takedown with seven seconds to go to reach the finals on a 4-3 decision. In the championship, Bents lost 5-2 to top-seeded Derek Steele of Sibley East, who was also a state champion in 2020 at 113 pounds.
After not placing at state in 2020, Jensen secured a trip to the finals with victories over Crookston’s Zach Brown (3-1 overtime decision) and top-ranked Marshall Larson of Aitkin (fall in 3:26). Caledonia/Houston’s Brandon Ross, the state runner-up at 120 in 2020, defeated Jensen in a 6-1 decision.
At 138 pounds, BBE’s Tyler Jensen placed fifth.
- Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s Jevon Williams made the finals at 113. Both the top seed and the No. 1-ranked wrestler, the Falcons freshman opened with a technical fall against Trinity’s David Gregory, then beat Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie’s David Revering in an 8-1 decision.
But in the finals, Williams fell behind 9-3 to Pipestone’s Hudson Burnett before Burnett finished the match with a fall at 5:01.
ACGC’s three other quarterfinal entrants — Brady Holien (sixth, 138), Jaxon Behm (third, 220) and Logan Sherwood (fifth, 285) — all finished in the top six.
At 285, Peppel won by first-period fall in his opening match against Royalton/Upsala’s Mason Novitzki before falling in the semis to Noyes in a 7-3 decision. In his final match, Peppel pinned Mertens in the second period.
The Warriors’ Austin Kiecker finished in sixth place at 132.
Competing at 132, Gunderson started off with a 6-5 decision against Dover-Eyota’s Brodie Kellen. Eventual state champion Drayden Morton of Sibley East ended Gunderson’s hopes for a title with an 8-0 major decision. In the third-place match, Gunderson lost a 3-1 decision against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Ayden Horner.
Class A championships
How Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City fared
113: Jevon Williams: Quarterfinals: Williams tech fall David Gregory, Trinity, 15-0 (2:50); Semifinals: Williams dec David Revering, B-H/V/PP, 8-1; Championship: Hudson Burnett, Pipestone, pinned Williams, 5:01 … 138: Brady Holien: Quarterfinals: Dane Niemi, New York Mills, dec Holien, 2-1; Consolation semifinals: Holien dec Sawyer Simmons, Royalton/Upsala, 6-3; Fifth-place match: Tyler Jensen, BBE, dec Holien, 8-5 … 220: Jaxon Behm: Quarterfinals: Behm pinned Brennon Hoffman, Medford, 4:49; Semifinals: Daniel Erlandson, Breckenridge, maj dec Behm, 15-4; Third-place match: Behm pinned Jojo Thompson, Deer River, 4:43 …285: Logan Sherwood: Quarterfinals: Jakob Swalla, Minnewaska, pinned Sherwood, 3:01; Consolation semifinals: Sherwood pinned Joshua Golombowski, Mille Lacs, 1:14; Fifth-place match: Sherwood pinned Mason Novitzki, Royalton/Upsala, 1:30.
How Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa fared
120: Ryan Jensen: Quarterfinals: Jensen dec Zach Brown, Crookston, 3-1 (UTB); Semifinals: Jensen pinned Marshall Larson, Aitkin, 3:26; Championship: Brandon Ross, Caledonia/Houston, dec Jensen, 6-1 … 126: Walker Bents: Quarterfinals: Bents dec Boden Simon, Maple River, 6-1; Semifinals: Bents dec Logan Butzon, Jackson County Central, 4-3; Championship: Derek Steele, Sibley East, dec Bents, 5-2 … 138: Tyler Jensen: Quarterfinals: Maddox O’Reilly, Goodhue, dec Jensen, 6-2; Consolation semifinals: Jensen pinned Tucker Wills, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 2:21; Fifth-place match: Jensen dec Brady Holien, ACGC, 8-5 … 145: Blaine Fischer: Quarterfinals: Fischer dec Beau Jurrens, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 7-0; Semifinals: Fischer dec Zack Fier, Minneota, 9-2; Championship: Fischer dec Jacob Leibold, 2-0.
How Benson fared
195: Thomas Dineen: Quarterfinals: Dineen dec Torrey Carlson, United North Central, 9-4; Semifinals: Dineen dec Carter Holtz, Kimball, 5-2; Championship: Dineen maj dec Ethan Kovars, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 8-0.
How BOLD fared
132: Austin Kiecker: Quarterfinals: Ayden Horner, TMB/WWG, maj dec Kiecker, 10-2; Consolation semifinals: Kiecker dec Jake Nagel, Frazee, 5-3; Fifth-place match: Brodie Kellen, Dover-Eyota, dec Kiecker, 5-3 (OT) … 285: Tim Peppel: Quarterfinals: Peppel pinned Mason Novitzki, Royalton/Upsala, 0:49 … Semifinals: Shane Noyes, Canby, dec Peppel, 7-3; Third-place match: Peppel pinned Luke Mertens, Blue Earth, 4:26.
How Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg fared
132: Coy Gunderson: Quarterfinals: Gunderson dec Brodie Kellen, Dover-Eyota, 6-5; Semifinals: Drayden Morton, Sibley East, maj dec Gunderson, 8-0; Third-place match: Ayden Horner, TMB/WWG, dec Gunderson, 3-1.
How Minnewaska fared
182: Tyson Meyer: Quarterfinals: Meyer pinned Isaac Busse, HLWW, 0:40; Semifinals: Meyer dec Nathaniel Kisgen, WCA/A/BE, 7-2; Championship: Meyer maj dec Grady Schott, Chatfield, 14-4 … 285: Jakob Swalla: Quarterfinals: Swalla pinned Logan Sherwood, ACGC, 3:01; Semifinals: Swalla dec Luke Mertens, Blue Earth, 6-4; Championship: Shane Noyes, Canby, dec Swalla, 3-0.