Kelliher named MWCA Mr. Minnesota of Wrestling; Jackson named Coach of the Year

Matt Kelliher of Apple Valley is this year’s Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Mr. Minnesota of Wrestling. He will be honored at the MWCA Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, April 9th in Benson, MN.

The MWCA annually presents the Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler award to the senior that best exemplifies the highest ideals of high school wrestling in Minnesota. Judging is based on past performances, citizenship, academics, leadership, and adherence to MSHSL rules.

Matt KelliherKelliher is a three-time state champion and a four-time state finalist. He won the Class AAA 135 pound title this year, the 125 pound title as a junior, and the 119 pound title as a sophomore. Matt also placed second at 112 pounds as a freshman.

He ended his high school career with a 174-14 record (winning 92.6%).

Kelliher was an Apple Valley team captain his junior and senior seasons and he helped the Eagles win state championships every year he competed for them.

Kelliher was a double All-American at the 2010 USA Wrestling Junior Nationals placing second in freestyle and eighth in Greco-Roman. He was an All-American as a cadet in 2009 placing third in freestyle.

Kelliher, Apple Valley’s third MWCA Mr. Minnesota Wrestler, will continue his wrestling career in college next year with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Matt’s brother Tom is a redshirt sophomore for the Badgers and his brother Craig is a redshirt freshman for Central Michigan.

Matt’s parents are Tom and Darla and his high school coach is Jim Jackson.

Also being honored at the Bartelma Hall of Fame Banquet will be Minnesota Head Coach of the Year selection Jim Jackson of Apple Valley, Assistant Coach of the Year Dave Pfaffinger of Blue Earth Area, and Lifetime Achievement honoree Dwight Burman of St. James.

Jackson and Pfaffinger, along with Kelliher now represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State award winners and may be selected for further honors at the Regional and National levels.

2011 MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame inductees are John Barrett, Jim Carrington, Jim Dotseth, Jeff Gallagher, Ed Homan, Bruce Thompson, Stephen “Pete” Saxe, and Joel Sharratt.

MWCA Mr. Minnesota Wrestlers:
2011 – Matt Kelliher, Apple Valley
2010 – Dylan Ness, Bloomington Kennedy
2009 – Kevin Steinhaus, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg
2008 – Jake Deitchler, Anoka
2007 – Zach Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg
2006 – Mike Thorn, Saint Michael-Albertville
2005 – Nate Matousek, Glencoe-Silver Lake
2004 – Charlie Falck, Apple Valley
2003 – Eric Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg
2002 – Jeff Pfaffinger, Blue Earth Area
2001 – Marcus LeVesseur, Bloomington Kennedy
2000 – Nate Baker, Jackson County Central
1999 – Jacob Volkmann, Battle Lake-Underwood-Henning
1998 – Luke Becker, Cambridge-Isanti
1997 – Chad Erikson, Apple Valley
1996 – Dan Duncombe, St. Michael-Albertville
1995 – Jon Fitzgerald, Martin County West
1994 – Chad Kraft, Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield
1993 – Brandon Howe, Totino Grace
1992 – Brandon Paulson, Anoka
1991 – Chad Nelson, Stewartville
1990 – Chad Carlson, Willmar