Memories Matter – Story of the 1971 Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament

By Mike Hajek
Armstrong Contributors Tommy Lamphere and Paul Agranof

Time has a way of fading most of the memories we create throughout a lifetime, but memories that have created a lasting impact, never completely fade. The 1971 Armstrong High School Wrestling team had one of those impact moments surrounding the 1971 Wrestling season and the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. Of course, there is a story to the 1971 State Wrestling Tournament. Fifty-one years later, at the Armstrong 1971 class reunion, memories circulated surrounding the State Wrestling tournament and the glaring question. Whatever happened to our State Third Place trophy?

In 1971 the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament was a one-class competition with individual points accumulated to determine the team champion and second and third team placements. There were 12 weight classes and 16 wrestlers in each weight bracket representing schools large and small, from all across the state of Minnesota. Staples had a very strong representation at the 1971 State Wrestling tournament. Staples State Tournament entrants were Mark Bendson 95, Mike Roberts 112, Gordy Thompson 127, Loren Bendson 133, Dave Fuller 138, and Wayne Shequen 175. At the end of the tournament competition, Mark Bendson placed 5th, Gordy Thompson Placed 5th, and Loren Bendson claimed the individual State Championship. Armstrong was a metro school and also had a very strong 1971 state tournament, with Tommy Lamphere placing 3rd at 112 and Wally Hartzberg claiming the individual State Championship at 120. With 12 brackets and a one-class system, participating wrestlers throughout the tournament seemed to know or know of everyone from the other teams in the other brackets.

Continue reading →