Shakopee ends Apple Valley’s decades-long reign

By Brian Jerzak

35 straight trips to the state tournament. 12 straight State titles and 18 of the last 19 titles. Twenty-six total state championships.

That was the history facing the Shakopee Sabers’ wrestling team at Lakeville North High School when they advanced to the Section 2AAA championship match against defending state champion Apple Valley. When 220-pound freshman Tommy Johnson recorded a fall to give his team a ten-point lead with one match to go, the Sabers made history. They would go on to win the match 34-30 and return to State for the first time since 2004.

“It was so intense,” Shakopee junior Tyler Jones said. “Every match counted. They have been to State I think 35 years in a row, and we broke that streak. That feels amazing.” Continue reading

The Guillotine Grapevine: Before and After the Steveson-Kerkvliet supermatch – GG40

In the lore of Minnesota wrestling, Friday, February 2 might go down as one of the most important in the state’s history. Not because the dual outcome impacted a state or sectional title, but because you saw two world champions collide as two of the state’s power programs met in front of a capacity crowd at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.

Episode 40 of The Guillotine Grapevine goes before and after the Gable Steveson-Greg Kerkvliet super match. Steveson, a three-time world champion at the international age-group levels at heavyweight faced off with Simley 220-pounder Kerkvliet, the 2017 Cadet world champion at 100kg.

We talk with fathers Robert Steveson, Greg Kerkvliet, then we talk with the combatants before finishing up with Simley AD and wrestling coach Will Short about setting up the match.

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Apple Valley vs. Simley and Steveson vs. Kerkvliet – Why Not?

With the Super Bowl just two days away, high school wrestling was treated to a Super Bowl of sorts at Simley High School on Friday night. Not only was Simley – the number two ranked AA team in the state rolling with the number one ranked team in AAA – Apple Valley – in a match many wrestling fans across the nation have been talking about, Simley’s Daniel Kerkvliet was moving up from 220 to 285 to face Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson. With both teams being in different classes and both headlining wrestlers being in different weight classes, in the scope of Minnesota high school wrestling the result of the match was going to change little in the grand scheme of the high school wrestling season. Some might say way do it. Like Kerkvliet said – why not?

The gym was packed to capacity as the two teams took the mat.

Apple Valley got out to an 8-0 lead, but Simley’s Cael Berg cut into the lead with a first-period fall. Apple Valley’s Peyton McLagan got the Eagles back on track with a 6-2 win to give his team an 11-6 lead. While Steveson and Kerkvliet was the headliner, Valley’s Sebas Swiggum against Simley’s Jake Gliva was an excellent undercard bout. Gliva was more active in the first period, but neither wrestler was able to score. Swiggum took a 1-0 lead with an early escape and seemed to push the pace more in period two. Continue reading

Steveson holds off Kerkvliet in high school wrestling battle for the ages

Vince McMahon would have been proud.

Apple Valley senior Gable Steveson certainly did his part as a promoter in the days leading up to Friday night’s much-anticipated high school wrestling showdown against Simley junior Daniel “Greg” Kerkvliet Jr. It was surprisingly close, but Steveson held on for a 3-2 win before a raucous crowd of 1,900 in Inver Grove Heights.

A dual meet between the two traditional state powers provided a worthy undercard, with the Class 3A Eagles claiming a 38-24 victory over their Class 2A foes.

“The whole atmosphere was great,” Kerkvliet said after his first loss since a freestyle match at Junior Duals last summer in Tulsa, Okla. “The hoopla around it, the media, everybody coming out — it was energetic. This was a big one.” Continue reading at www.twincities.com

Mega-match scheduled at Simley

World champs Steveson, Kerkvliet expected to face each other Friday night

One of the most anticipated matches of the Minnesota high school wrestling season – and one that couldn’t take place at the state tournament – is scheduled Friday evening at Simley High School.

On the large scale, the match between Apple Valley (ranked first in Class 3A) and Simley (ranked second in Class 2A) would be enticing enough for the sport’s followers. But they might be even more interested in the match within the match. Two world champions, Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson and Simley’s Daniel Kerkvliet, are expected to face each other in the heavyweight match. Steveson won the 264-pound weight class at the Junior World Championships last summer, and his victory also gave the United States the team championship. The previous two years, Steveson won Cadet World titles.

Kerkvliet is a reigning Cadet World champion. Continue reading at www.hometownsource.com

Eagle wrestlers going about their business

With new coaching roles settled, Apple Valley seeks 13th consecutive state title

The last thing a team with a 12-year state championship streak needs is a shakeup at the top, and Apple Valley’s wrestling squad has avoided that.

Oh, the Eagles have a new head coach — Josh Barlage, who had been an assistant in the program since 2007. But many of the same coaches who guided the Eagles for the last decade or more have remained, including Dalen Wasmund, who was the Eagles’ head coach the last five years and remains with the program as an assistant coach.

In practice, “as far as being in the room, on the mat, I don’t really see a difference,” said Eagles junior Sebas Swiggum, who’s ranked fifth in Class 3A at 138 pounds. “Coach Wasmund is still up here. We still have the same people.”

When Barlage was hired last summer as the fourth head coach in Apple Valley High School wrestling history, he said he planned to speak with Wasmund about staying with the team, and it became clear that was a priority. Continue reading at www.hometownsource.com

Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson poised for another monster season

Leaning away from an interview in the hallway after school, Apple Valley wrestler Gable Steveson called out to football coach Chad Clendening, who just happened to be walking past.

“Hey Clendening! He’s asking about football.”

Clendening turned and shook his head. “That’s a broken record. From the day he walked into Valley Middle School, I’ve been on him.”

With good reason. Steveson, a senior, is the No. 1 high school wrestler in the nation. A heavyweight with an unmatched of blend of strength and speed, balance
and bravado. He’d be devastating as a defensive end, for example. He stands just six-feet tall and weighs upwards of 250 pounds, but dunks a basketball with ease. He skated with the Apple Valley hockey team earlier this season (“I’ve skated before but that was the first time I’ve played hockey,” he said) and held his own. Continue reading at mnwrestlinghub.com