No. 21 Simley wins Minnesota Christmas Tournament

The showcase event of Minnesota’s regular season in high school wrestling happened the last two days in Rochester, as the Minnesota Christmas Tournament featured 40 teams. It includes the vast majority of Minnesota’s best teams, plus a few teams from out of state (Illinois, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma). After the two days of wrestling were completed, a mere five points (204.5-199.5) separated a pair of top 25 teams in the country.

Despite just having nine wrestlers (six in the quarters) remaining after day one, No. 21 Simley surged on day two to put a tournament-high eight on the podium. And that was with Greg Kerkvliet (285) and two-time state medalist Cael Berg (138) out of the lineup. The Spartans were led by weight class champion Ryan Sokol (132), who scored a 20-5 technical fall over state champion Noah Villarreal (Aurora Christian, Ill.) in the championship match.

Also placing for Simley were three third place finishers, including Cadet freestyle champion Quayin Short (182), whose lone loss was a 7-4 defeat against state champion Cade King (Owatonna). Other medalists were those taking fourth, fifth, seventh, and eight. Continue reading at intermatwrestle.com

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

Jackson’s rebirth

There’s not much Jim Jackson does on any given day that doesn’t draw criticism from someone, somewhere.

Those critics have followed Jackson throughout his coaching career, including his latest and likely last job at Shakopee High School, where he took over in 2015.

But, despite all the harsh words typed on wrestling message boards, Jackson has had a wildly successful career, and that fact can’t be argued by even his worst critics.

Jackson was the longtime coach at Apple Valley, taking over an already successful program and pushing it to new heights. He compiled a 618-27-3 record at Valley, helping the Eagles win two national titles and 14 team state titles before retiring in 2012. Continue reading at www.postbulletin.com