Brandon Paulson goes On The Mat

Anoka, Minnesota native Brandon Paulson is a wrestling-lifer. One of the brains behind one of the most successful youth and high school wrestling clubs in the country (PINnacle Wrestling School) along with Jared Lawrence, Paulson hasn’t spent much time away from wrestling mats during his life. An All-American at Minnesota and a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, Paulson is versed in every aspect of wrestling. He’s also watching his own kids excel on the football field and on the college gymnastics world.

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High School Class AAA Preview

Section 1 

Four teams will contend for the title in Section 1 this season. Northfield will be defending their third-place state finish and section championship, with seven returning state entrants. Senior Jayce Barron (152) leads the returning entrants, and he will have a strong sophomore class to back him up this season. Sophomores Keith Harner (113), Logan Williams (120), Owen Murphy (160), and Ryan Kuyper (182) were all state entrants last season, along with freshman Jackson Barron (132) and eighth grader Caden Staab (106).

Faribault, with new co-head coaches Jacob Staloch and Jesse Armbruster, will be a very strong challenger for Northfield. The Falcons return four state entrants in senior Gabriel Shatskikh (220), junior JT Hausen (3rd at 120), junior Isaac Yetzer (145), and sophomore Bo Bokman (126).

Rochester Mayo and Owatonna are two other teams capable of taking the team section title. Mayo returns freshman Juan Cobarruvias (106), sophomore Calder Sheehan (138), senior Dylan Peper (182), and junior Ethan Peper (285). The third-place finisher, senior Cael Robb (132), will head the Owatonna title hunt along with sophomore Lane Karsten (113).

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High School Class AA Preview

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.

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