Class AA: Chasing Down the Champs
The target is on Simley again this year. The Spartans are the defending state champion after defeating Kasson-Mantorville by a 47-21 score in the state final match at the Xcel Energy Center last season, and it was the Spartans’ fourth straight state title. Overall, Simley returns six state placewinners this year and opens the season as heavy favorites to repeat as state champions in St. Paul this March.
Individually, seven state champions take to the mat again this year. Six of those champions will be defending their Class AA titles, while one defends her girls’ title from last March. Tyler Wells, a senior from Princeton, returns as a three-time champion. Wells has the opportunity to become the 30th four-time state champion in Minnesota state wrestling history. The last Class AA wrestler to win that many state titles was Bennett Berge of Kasson-Mantorville, who won his fifth individual title for the KoMets last season. The state’s first four-time champion was Jim Van Gorden from Minneapolis Marshall in 1940. The first four-time champion from a current Class AA school was John Miller from Renville-Sacred Heart - part of the current Quad County coop - in 1985.