Meet the Gopher Freshmen: Tim Stapleton

Tim Stapleton, a Waconia, Minnesota native, reached the top of the podium at the MSHSL State Tournament, winning his state championship at 152 pounds in Class AA as a junior. Stapleton also was a 2018 state runner-up, and compiled a 159-29 record in his high school career.

Now, read about the incoming freshman’s aspirations as a Golden Gopher, as well as one interesting song choice that he must listen to before all of his matches.

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Strong support for wrestling to get green light this winter

Aesthetically, it might seem like wrestling is the one sport that has no chance of happening during the 2020-21 school year.

Pierz Pioneers head wrestling coach Skip Toops would argue his sport is the one best prepared to handle competing in the time of COVID-19.

Toops started a petition titled Let Them Wrestle MN that has 8,654 signatures as of 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. The #letthemwrestlemn hashtag can be found on Facebook and Twitter and Toops himself has been front and center to answer any questions or lesson concerns about wrestling during a pandemic.

“We all saw on Aug. 4 that all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under football and volleyball,” Toops said. “Whether it caught people off guard or not they had to be reactive. Our goal is to be proactive and create that support and put pressure on the people who make those decisions to show that there is support for this and there are statistics that show that this should happen. Continue reading at

Training Schools and Camps Wrestling With COVID-19

By Brian Jerzak

Businesses around the nation have all had to deal with several changes during the last six months. The business of wrestling has had to adjust too. While high school and college programs have had many challenges, so have wrestling training facilities. How are these training facilities dealing with our new reality, and how are they planning for an uncertain future?

I talked with four wrestling training school owners and one wrestling camp director/coach to find out their thoughts on wrestling with COVID-19.

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High School Coaches Wrestling With COVID-19

By Brian Jerzak

The 2019-20 high school wrestling season just got in under the wire before the sports world came to a screeching halt. Since that week in March – while we are nowhere near back to normal – the sports world has slowly come back. Some have been able to compete, while others wait – impatiently – for their time to get back to competition. Based on timing, the high school wrestling world has not lost any competitions, but as we have all seen, we do not know what is going to happen two days from now – much less two months from now. How have high school coaches approached an offseason like no other, and what – if any – plans have they made going forward?

I talked with the head coaches from four of Minnesota’s top high school wrestling teams to find out their thoughts on wrestling with COVID-19.

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MSHSL Board of Directors approve returning volleyball, football to fall season

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — The Minnesota State High School League’s Board of Directors today approved a reconsideration placement of fall activities, a decision that brings football and volleyball back to the fall season.

The plan, which fits within COVID-19 guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health, will have an approved football season beginning on Sept. 28 with the first of six regular season games scheduled for the week of Oct. 5. Since Sept. 14, member schools have had the option of participating in fall training sessions. In the framework that was adopted by the Board of Directors, a planned two-week football postseason will begin the week of Nov. 16.

Volleyball will begin an 11-week season on Sept. 28 and member schools may play their first matches on Oct. 8. In the framework that was approved by the board, two weeks of postseason play would begin the week of Nov. 30. Like football, member schools have had the option of participating in voluntary training sessions since Sept. 14.

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