Readers’ Choice: Wrestling Rivalries

One of my favorite things about athletics is the rivalries. The Vikings against the Packers, enormous in my baseball-crazed house, the Twins vs. the White Sox, the Gophers against Iowa – in any sport but for my money, football and wrestling, and some personal favorites from my youth that still gets my blood boiling: Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota in hockey (go Bulldogs), Milaca against Foley in anything, but especially wrestling, and Milaca against Princeton regardless of the sport.

As noted a few times, wrestling is saturated with great rivalries. A few months ago, I thought it would be fun to ask you – the reader – who you thought were the best high school wrestling rivalries in Minnesota. I decided to post a question on my Twitter page. What is the best high school wrestling rivalry in Minnesota? The rivalry that got the most votes would be the subject of my next story for The Guillotine. I got a great response from across the state. Here are the results:

1 Simley vs. Kasson-Mantorville
2 Albert Lea vs. Owatonna (tie)
2 Minneota vs. Canby (tie)

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Grunwald’s historic wrestling career leaves lasting impact on girl’s sports

The history of high school wrestling in the state of Minnesota has been changed forever, and current Owatonna High School senior Rian Grunwald will forever be cemented into the history books as being the first of her kind.

As she leaped into the arms of Owatonna’s head wrestling coach Derek Johnson, she signaled No. 1 with her left hand — directly after making not just Owatonna High School history, but Minnesota high school history while she sported the Owatonna royal blue.

“It means a lot to me to represent Owatonna,” said Grunwald after her championship match. “I’ve been a part of this program for so long, and they just sanctioned girls wrestling this year, so I haven’t been able to support my team that way until this year, so it feels good to be able to get my name out there for the team.”

After years and years of petitions and pleas from wrestlers, parents and coaches, the Minnesota State High School League took to a vote in early May 2021 to determine if girls wrestling would be an officially sanctioned sport in Minnesota. Continue reading at →

Reusse: On his way to 1,200 wins, Davis makes prep wrestling the land of opportunity

The name Kyle Schweisthal rolls off the tongues of those Owatonna sports fans dedicated to Huskies athletics back in 2005. Wrestling remained the winter king, and coach Scot Davis had assembled a lineup so strong that it was ready to go headgear-to-headgear with the Apple Valley dynasty.

Owatonna had defeated Apple Valley 40-24 early in the regular season, ending the Eagles’ 199-match winning streak against Minnesota teams. And now on late Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, they were set to meet again in the Class 3A semifinals at Xcel Energy Center.

“Usually, the fans for the wrestlers that are done for the afternoon … they leave,” said Davis, then Owatonna’s coach. “Not that time. Everyone stayed. There had to be more than 10,000 fans. It was nuts in there.”

Apple Valley had won six titles in a row entering that showdown with its longtime, oft-beaten Owatonna rivals. Apple Valley would win 12 more titles in a row, including a co-championship with St. Michael-Albertville in 2013.

But on that day in St. Paul … Continue reading at →

Owatonna’s Trailblazer: Rian Grunwald’s college commitment paves the way for girls wrestling in Owatonna

The walls of inside Owatonna’s wrestling room are scattered with names, pictures and accolades from some of the best wrestlers that have built up the legacy that is Owatonna wrestling.

But through all of the greats to wrestle in a Huskies singlet, Owatonna senior captain Rian Grunwald is leaving behind a legacy that’s blown the door of opportunity open for those that follow in her footsteps. She’s best described as ‘the trailblazer’ for girls wrestling in Owatonna.

Once her senior campaign with the Huskies comes to an end, she’ll be trading out her Owatonna singlet for the purple and gold of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and help build up a Pointers women’s wrestling program after doing at the high school level.

Grunwald landed on the Pointers after she and her family went to UWSP in August and were able to meet the coaching staff and tour the campus that’d eventually be waiting for her. While she did tour with other schools, the feeling of home that UWSP offered her was too much to pass up. Continue reading at →

Roy A. Minter (1936-2019)

Hall of Fame Coach Roy A. Minter died Sunday, September 1st at Carris Health Rice Hospital in Willmar. He was 83 years old.

Minter was a state champion wrestler for Owatonna High School in 1954. He went on to wrestle at Mankato State where he was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. Minter coached wrestling at Worthington High School and Willmar Community College, retiring in 1992. He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1979 and was a Charter Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Minnesota Chapter, inducted in 2003.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 9:30 am, Thursday, September 5th at Church of St. Mary in Willmar. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 pm, Wednesday at the church and continue one hour prior to his service. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

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