Apple Valley returns to State in a tension-filled 2AAA team tournament

By Brian Jerzak

One of my favorite weekends on the Minnesota high school sports calendar is wrestling’s team section tournament weekend. The state tournament is great, but there is something magical about watching a team make it to state. While looking for a section tournament this weekend, I found a section where I thought I could get three great dual meets. I looked at Section 2AAA with three teams in The Guillotine top twelve.

After an evening of wrestling, my hunch was correct – I saw three great duals. A total of eleven points decided the two semifinals and the finals.

Prior Lake, Farmington, New Prague, and Apple Valley cruised into the semifinals.

Although they were unranked, Prior Lake would push the number one-seeded Apple Valley Eagles to the brink. The Lakers’ number one ranked 107 pounder – Liam Collins quickly put the underdog Lakers in front 6-0. Three matches later, Apple Valley’s Louis Prouty’s second-period fall tied the match at nine.

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A love affair with wrestling: Farmington’s Venz excels at the highest levels

Wrestling has been a significant part of Taylor Venz’s life since he was a young kid, starting when he was first exposed to the sport early on in life. Since then, Venz’s love for wrestling has only increased year by year and led him to where he is today—a standout athlete on the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers’ wrestling team. This past season, Venz was named an All-American, qualified for the NCAA Championships where he took fourth at 184 pounds and was named the Huskers’ Most Valuable Wrestler.

“I started when I was in kindergarten and I loved it,” he said. “Ever since it’s been my favorite sport. I played other sports but wrestling was my favorite and by the time I got to high school it was the only sport I played.”

Today, athletes face intense pressure to specialize in one sport in order to improve and potentially earn a collegiate scholarship, while at the same time being told that they have to play multiple sports. For Venz, who dabbled in different sports up until high school, it was all about his love for wrestling.

“In middle school I did track, but I would have to miss it for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, so I chose wrestling over the other sports if they were at the same time,” he said. “It was an easy choice, too. I know other sports are good for you, but for me I would rather wrestle than do anything else so it was an easy choice for me.” Continue reading at www.farmingtonindependent.com

Defending champs pushed, but prevail

By Brian Jerzak

Wrestling fans in the south metro were treated to a highly entertaining dual meet on Thursday night. The number one ranked Apple Valley Eagles traveled about fifteen minutes south to face the fourth-ranked Farmington Tigers. Rarely are the Eagles pushed in the regular season unless they are in a tournament with teams from around the nation. Down by one point with two matches remaining, their dual with the Tigers was far from a walk in the park.

It was a back a forth duel all night. The largest lead of the night was ten – twice – for Apple Valley, but there were six lead changes with the final lead change not coming until Valley’s win at 220. Obviously, Apple Valley has a number of hammers in their line-up, but Farmington has their share of ranked wrestlers as well.

It was a match without a marque match up – no single bout had ranked wrestlers on the mat at the same time, but almost every match-up featured one ranked wrestler. Obviously, the Eagles had more ranked guys, so to keep it close the Tigers had to avoid bonus points and earn bonus points when they could. They almost pulled it off.

In the end, Apple Valley had an ace in the hole. Eagles’ head coach Dalen Wasmund decided to bump his number one ranked 220 pounder – Gable Steveson – up to 285.

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