High School Girls Preview

We are ready to embark on a third exciting - and barrier-breaking - year of girl’s wrestling in Minnesota. Participation numbers continue to grow, Apple Valley returns as the defending state champions, and a thirteenth weight has been added for competition.

This preview will be a combination of information for the upcoming season and a feature we call “Better Know A Senior,” where some of the wrestlers from around the state can tell some of their own stories.

Wrestlers to Watch

Senior Skylar Little Soldier of Hastings is undefeated over the last two years, compiling a 22-0 overall record in high school. Four wrestlers have the opportunity to win their third state championship this year. Those wrestlers who have won two state titles are:

  • Skylar Little Soldier, 12th, Hastings
  • Aspen Blasko, 12th, Forest Lake
  • Ella Pagel, 11th, Northfield
  • Charli Raymond, 9th, Simley
View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

November National Girls High School Rankings, Pound-For-Pound Rankings Released

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame, USA Wrestling and FloWrestling have released the November National Girls High School and Pound-for-Pound rankings.

This national ranking evaluates all girls enrolled in grades 8-12, and athletes from all 50 states are eligible for selection.

The preseason has concluded, with all of the major events held prior to the start of the high school season, including Super 32, the USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals, FreakShow and many others. In some states, early season high school tournaments have already started, with most of the nation competing regularly throughout December.

Continue reading →

High School Class A Preview

The Minnesota High School wrestling season is set to kick off, and with it comes the excitement of intense competition and the pursuit of state championship glory. The goal of these previews is to provide a glimpse into the top contenders, rising stars, and dark horses that are poised to make a mark this season. From Section 1A to Section 8A, the talent pool is deep, and the battles for section supremacy and state tournament berths promise to be fierce.

Section 1A

The Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights and the Chatfield Gophers are the frontrunners in Section 1A, while the Dover-Eyota Eagles and the GMLOS Bulldogs are considered dark horses.

The section boasts sixteen returning state qualifiers, including seven state medalists. State champions Kail Schott and Javier Berg from Chatfield are back, along with medalists Gage Bartels (6th) and Bolton Thesing (4th) from Dover-Eyota, and Will VanEpps (5th) and Gavin Johnson (3rd) from Kenyon-Wanamingo.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

High School Class AA Preview

Class AA: A Bright New Day

A competitive high school wrestling season looms on the horizon in Minnesota for Class AA. Heavy graduation losses accompanied by an exodus of talent to Class AAA opens up both the team and individual races to the state tournament in March. This season will also see an adjustment in weight classes as we drop to thirteen weights. They will start at 107 pounds. The top four weight classes have been consolidated into three, with a jump from 172 directly to 189, virtually eliminating the old 182-pound class.

Simley is the defending state champion after beating New Prague by a 46-20 score in last year’s final. It was the Spartans' fifth straight state title. This year, they return three state placewinners and are the early favorite to win a seventeenth overall Class AA team title this season.

Individually, six returning state champions take the mat this year. However, only three of those champions will defend their Class AA titles, while three others will move to Class AAA. Jack Nelson, a senior from Mound-Westonka, returns as a three-time champion. Nelson has the opportunity to become the state’s thirty-third four-time champion. The last Class AA wrestler to win four state titles was Tyler Wells from Princeton. He won his fourth title last season. The first four-time champion from a current Class AA school was Marcus LeVesseur from Minneapolis Roosevelt, who won titles from 1998 to 2001.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

High School Class AAA Preview

With one of the most exciting championship finishes in State Tournament history last season, this season’s class AAA race looks to be one of the deepest in a long time. It will be hard to beat Hastings’s dramatic twenty-four-point comeback, but the depth of the teams this year may bring even more excitement to the X.

Section 1

With the addition of Albert Lea, Section One is even deeper than last year, with five teams capable of winning this section. The Tigers return four AA state entrants, three of them placewinners. Senior Michael Olson will try to improve on his second-place finish at 113 last season. Junior Logan Davis (3rd at 120), Nick Korman (5th at 132), and freshman Ryan Collins (106) will be the leaders on a strong Albert Lea team. Rochester Mayo and Owatonna are the two most experienced teams.

Mayo, who punched their first ticket to state last season, return six state entrants led by junior fifth-place finisher Calder Sheehan (145). Junior Juan Cobarruvais (113), senior Ethan Peper (220), freshman Kellen Burger (132), freshman Caleb Loomis (285), and eighth grader Andrew Trimble (106) also competed at state. Owatonna graduated state runner-up Cael Robb but still return seven state entrants.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Legendary Wabasso wrestling coach Gary Hindt dies

WABASSO — Gary Hindt, former long-time Wabasso wrestling head coach and football head coach, died of cancer Thursday at the age of 78.

Hindt, Wabasso’s first head wrestling coach up until his retirement in 2017, bowed out of the Wabasso wrestling program with a 49-year career record of 807-214-6. That record saw him finish as the second winningest coach in state history.

The legendary coach was a two-time Minnesota Class A Coach of the Year and a Section Coach of the Year six times. He also coached Wabasso and Wabasso/Red Rock Central to state team tournaments in 2004 (second place), 2006 (fourth place), 2011 (fifth place) and 2016 (sixth place).

He was inducted into the Dave Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994 and earned a National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service to Wrestling award in 2018. Continue reading at nujournal.com →

Fighting For The Kids – Travis Hoffarth and Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus

By Brian Jerzak

When Pequot Lakes-Pine River-Backus head wrestling coach Travis Hoffarth took over the Roadcrew's head job, he did so with hall-of-fame mentors to back him up. All three of his varsity high school coaches from Albany are in their sports' Minnesota coaching halls of fame. Even though he didn't always listen to them when he competed for them, how he approaches dealing with his wrestlers now proves he listened when it counted.

"It is all about fighting for the kids," Hoffarth said, "making sure they know you are going to do anything you can."

The Roadcrew coach has been involved in wrestling his entire life.

"Wrestling has been part of our family since I have known. My uncles wrestled. My dad wrestled for part of his high school career. My brother (Brad) is ten years older than I am. He was a wrestler. He was the key for me – showing me the moves in the living room when I was four or five years old. He became a head coach at Osakis, the athletic director, and now is the high school principal."

With a future wrestling coach learning his craft in the living room teaching his younger brother, the younger Hoffarth had an advantage early.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.