Shakopee’s Joel Makem Ratzinger and Waconia’s Max McEnelly Recognized as MWCA Ms. and Mr. MN Wrestlers of the Year

The Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association annually presents the Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler award to the senior that best exemplifies the highest ideals of high school wrestling in Minnesota. Starting in 2022, the MWCA partnered with MN Women’s Wrestling to also recognize the Ms. Minnesota High School Wrestler award. Judging is based on past performances, citizenship, academics, leadership, and adherence to MSHSL rules. This year the committees are proud to recognize Shakopee’s two-time girls’ state champion Joel Makem Ratzinger and Waconia’s four-time boys state champion Max McEnelly.

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Plenty of talent back for the Sabers to dominate on the mat

No. 10 Shakopee seeking sixth straight trip to state

Expectations remain high for the Shakopee wrestling team.

The perennial power Sabers return six state qualifiers — seniors Jadon Hellerud, AJ Smith and Leo Tukhlynovych, sophomores Kyle Linville and Tyler Turzinski and ninth grader Kyler Walters — from last year’s squad that finished 28-5 overall, won the Section 6AAA crown and finished third at state.

Second-year coach Alex Van Krevelen said the goal for the team this season is to get back to the state tournament and make the championship match again.

“A lot of people around the Minnesota wrestling community think Shakopee’s time of domination has run its course,” Van Krevelen said. “For those close to the program, they know that our young hungry group are busting their butts and ready to prove to our supporters that were still here.” Continue reading at →

Shakopee wins state wrestling team tournament in a 3-peat

St. Michael-Albertville’s line-up was stacked down below. Shakopee’s line-up beefed up in the upper weights.

In the end, like a regular season match-up between two of the top teams in the state of Minnesota, the Sabers clinched a third consecutive state wrestling championship with bonus points, a 30-24 score in the Minnesota State High School League Class 3A State team tournament March 25 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

“It was a surreal feeling. We knew we had it in us. We knew we had to come together. Every person needed to fight for points. It took all 14 guys to win this title,” Shakopee senior Sam Treml said.

Pins from Joey and Tommy Johnson at 195 and 220 pounds pulled Shakopee ahead at 27-24 after St. Michael-Albertville won six of the first seven matches for a 24-3 lead. Continue reading at →

New Shakopee coach Marcus LeVesseur has top-ranked Sabers seeking three-peat

The highly accomplished wrestler took over for a coaching legend during a season altered by COVID-19. Plus a look at matchups to watch in the three-day state meet starting Thursday.

With everything Marcus LeVesseur has accomplished in his wrestling life — four Minnesota high school state championships, four NCAA Division III championships, an undefeated (155-0) college career, four-time Team USA selection, more than 30 victories as an MMA fighter — he admits to battling butterflies last fall before his first day as Shakopee wrestling coach.

That’s how he knew he was ready for the job.

LeVesseur was taking over for former coach Jim Jackson, the most successful wrestling coach in state history. Jackson stepped down last spring after shepherding the Sabers to back-to-back Class 3A state team championships, their first ever.

Replacing a prep coaching legend such as Jackson at the preeminent large-school program in the state? Continue reading at →

Female Shakopee wrestler to compete at college level

When Nina Makem and her family moved from the central African country of Cameroon to Shakopee in 2015, she had no idea she’d one day be heading to college as a wrestler. Her family moved to Minnesota for a better life, and it’s paid off. Makem is currently a senior at Shakopee High School and will attend Augsburg University in the fall to wrestle and to major in exercise science with an emphasis on physical therapy.

Makem has been part of the Shakopee wrestling program for three years where she mostly competed against males. She is also a member of the Minnesota Storm wrestling club where she takes the mat against other females.

“Growing up, I watched a lot of WWE. I liked it and was inspired by it,” she said. “My older brother started wrestling in Shakopee and would tell us about it, so I joined too. In WWE, I liked that the wrestlers jumped off ropes and hit each other. When I joined the high school team, I found out it was much different. I went into the wrestling room and there weren’t any ropes or people on jumping on each other, but I liked it. It seemed much safer.”

Wrestling ended up being a family event. Both of her older brothers, Duplex and Randy, were on the Shakopee wrestling team. Her younger sister Joel is a sophomore and also on the team. Continue reading at →