DeWaine Silker 1929-2020

Hall of Famer DeWaine Silker passed away on November 4th. He was 91 years old. A native of Rochester, Minn., Silker was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1988, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Mayo Civic Center Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007.

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National Girls High School Rankings

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame, USA Wrestling and FloWrestling on Thursday released the second national rankings for high school girls wrestlers for the 2020-21 season.

There are a few key changes in the rankings moving forward.

1) The athletes have been placed in the weight classes where they have competed in tournaments in the summer and fall of 2020, rather than where they competed prior to the pandemic. Because of the uncertainty of high school seasons, including some delays and cancellations of opportunities, competitions outside of the traditional scholastic season will be a key influence on the rankings.

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High School Class AAA Preview

Section 1

Teams that comprise Section 1 are as follows: Albert Lea Area, Austin, Faribault, Farmington, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester Century, Rochester Mayo, Rochester John Marshall, and Winona/Winona Cotter. Joel Messick is the new head coach for Rochester Century. This section has 15 returning state entrants, three returning placewinners, including one finalist, Landen Johnson of Owatonna. The team race will come down to three teams: Farmington, Northfield, and Owatonna. Teams that are clear underdogs are Albert Lea, Rochester Mayo, and Winona/Winona Cotter.

Owatonna has a lot of talent returning. The Huskies have nine returning starters, all with winning records with wins from 23 up to 48 wins from last season. Landen Johnson was a finalist last season and Cael Robb placed 4th in St. Paul. Junior Yves Evillard surprised some by punching his ticket to the state tournament. I’m sure head coach Adam Woitalla wasn’t surprised at all. Seniors Owen Thorn, Matt Seykora, Chase Dallman, and Kaden Nelson should bring a ton of experience. Juniors Jacob Reinardy and Kanin Hable will also add to Owatonna’s success.

Coach Geoff Staab’s Northfield Raiders will be a strong team again this season. They will be led by state entrants Chase Murphy, Beau Murphy, and Sam Holman. Nick Lopez and Gavin Anderson will provide their senior leadership. Junior Jake Messner recorded 45 wins last season and should be contending for a win in all of the Raiders duals. Underclassmen Nickolas Mikula and Jayce Barron will need to perform if Northfield is to win the section title.

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High School Class AA Preview

Class AA: A Different Adventure

A lot of things will be different this wrestling season, but in Class AA, a lot of things will remain the same. COVID-19 precautions will make for a season unlike any other, but at the end of the day, look for Simley to once again dominate the competition. The Spartans return seven state finalists and twelve starters from their 2020 state championship team. Four of those finalists won individual state titles. Simley simply looks unbeatable. It seems the only chance they would have of not winning the state title is if there is not a state meet this year.

The global COVID pandemic is going to change what this season looks like. No decisions have been made about the post-season at this point. Anything from a normal tournament series to no section or state competition is possible. For the fall sports, no individual or team state tournaments were held. Girls tennis had team sections, but not individual sections. Anything is possible. I think it is likely that we could have a team state tournament but no individual state tournament. The Minnesota State High School League has indicated they will make decisions about the wrestling post-season at their December 3rd board meeting.

We do have more answers regarding the regular season. Competition will start on December 10th and finish up by February 13th. The big news for this season is that there will not be any Friday or Saturday tournaments. Only dual meets or triangular meets will occur. That is a big change from years past. For the last thirty years, tournaments have been where our wrestlers and teams have sought out the level of competition they are looking for. With only 16 competition dates and 32 total matches per wrestler, this year will certainly give this season a retro 1970s feel.

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High School Class A Preview

Section 1A

Favorites: GMLOS Bulldogs and Chatfield Gophers

Dark Horses: Dover-Eyota Eagles and Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars

The Bulldogs of GMLOS look to be a big favorite as they have everyone back from their 23-5 dual meet campaign. No one graduated from their team; they have ten section placewinners, including eight state qualifiers, of which three were state placewinners. They will have 13 others back with a wide range of experience. Look for the Bulldogs to continue to build on their state tourney experience, where they did drop a pair of very close duals. If they continue to improve through the course of the season, they could be a challenge for anyone in Class A. Their key leaders should include Anthony Romero (44-4) 2nd State, Noah Sayles (43-6) 5th State, Cameron Sneed (33-12) 2nd Section, Rece Voigt (41-11) 2nd Section, Daniel Smith (20-8) 6th State, Donavon Felten (41-9) 3rd Section, Christian Jacobsen (42-7) 3rd Section, Lucas Winfield (29-18) 2nd Section, Cohen Wiste (39-6) 2nd Section, and James Jacobson (22-23) 2nd Section.

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