High School Class A Preview

Section 1A

Favorites: GMLOS Bulldogs and Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights
Dark Horses: Chatfield Gophers and Goodhue Wildcats

GMLOS Bulldogs
Head Coach: Randy Smith
Three River Conference: 7-2 | Overall: 30-5
The Bulldogs graduated seven very good seniors last spring, including five with 28+ wins. This included six section placewinners, five super section placewinners, and a pair of state medalists. The Bulldogs return six with a great deal of experience, all with 21+ wins, including five section placewinners and a super section placewinner. The Bulldogs should challenge those very good dual meet marks if they stay healthy and they can fill in with some junior varsity. They could move up in the conference standings. Look for steady improvement from this young crew. They are in a good position for section 1A dual meet honors, in what should be a pretty balanced section dual meet campaign. The Bulldogs key leaders should include Cohen Wiste (37-8) 3rd Super Section, Donavon Felton (32-2), James Jacobson (26-13), Braxton Wiste (23-17), Aiden Quintana (23-14), and Christian Luthe (21-13).

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

High School Class AA Preview

Class AA: An Adventure Into the Unknown

A brighter high school wrestling season is upon us in Minnesota. After last year’s shortened schedule and limited postseason, it will be good to get back to full action this winter. With vaccines available for almost all wrestlers and fans, we should expect a normal season with weekend tournaments followed by the full slate of section and state tournaments.

Simley is the defending state champion after beating Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield by a 68-6 score in last year's final. It was the Spartans third straight state title. This year, they return seven state placewinners and are the favorite to win a fourth straight team title this season.

Individually, eight state champions take the mat again this year. Six of those champions will be defending their Class AA titles while one defends a Class AAA title and another hopes to win his first title since 2018. Bennett Berge, a senior from Kasson-Mantorville, returns as a four-time champion. Berge has the opportunity to become only the seventh five-time state champion in state wrestling history. No Class AA wrestler has ever won five state titles. The last Class AA wrestler to win four state titles was Patrick Kennedy from Kasson-Mantorville in 2020. Bennett’s older brother, Brady Berge, also won four titles for the KoMets.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

High School Class AAA Preview

Section 1

In the re-alignment year, Section 1 sees the departure of Albert Lea to Class AA, and Farmington moves over to Section 2. That leaves Northfield and Owatonna to battle it out for the team title, with Faribault being a dark horse. Northfield returns one state placewinner in eighth-grader Jackson Barron (6th at 106) along with veteran seniors Beau Murphy, Jake Messner, Mason Pagel, and junior Jayce Barron. Owatonna, under new coach Derek Johnson, counters with their two returning medal winners, junior Cael Robb (6th at 120) and senior state champion Landon Johnson (160). Owatonna will also have experienced wrestlers in seniors Kanin Hable, Jacob Reinardy, and Andrew Nirk. Look for this dual to come down to who gets the flip. Rochester Century, Mayo, and John Marshall, along with Winona/Winona Cotter and Austin, round out the Section 1 teams.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Volk closing in on his third state title

By Brian Jerzak

The sport of wrestling is synonymous with families. Rarely will you come across a wrestling team where there is not at least one athlete who is a second or third generational wrestler. Lakeville North senior Jore Volk is no different. Before him, his brother and father wrestled, and each helped the younger Volk to the edge of rare high school wrestling territory – a possible third state title.

"My dad wrestled up through college," Volk said. "He wrestled in Lisbon, North Dakota, and then at Valley City College in North Dakota. My brother did the same thing as well. (Gannon Volk) wrestled for Apple Valley and then the University of Minnesota. We are a big wrestling family. They got me involved, and I fell in love with the sport."

The Lakeville North senior was on a wrestling mat before he was able to wrestle officially.

"I was running around in the practice room since I was four years old."

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Gophers Have A Team Trophy In Their Sights

Minnesota looks forward to having a high-energy team

By Matt Krumrie

The biggest question fans had concerning the 2021-2022 Minnesota Gophers wrestling season was answered in early September when Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Steveson announced plans to return to the Golden Gophers for his senior season. Gopher Nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when this news came out, giving an immediate jolt to a Gophers team that returns plenty of experience, talent, and potential.

While Steveson is the anchor to a team looking to improve on its 7th place finish at the NCAA championships last season, Gophers coaches and wrestling fans know there are several other unique storylines heading into this season.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Huskies Have A Formula For Success That Works

St. Cloud State University Enters the Season No. 1

By Matt Krumrie

St. Cloud State head coach Steve Costanzo doesn't take anything for granted, especially in the sport of wrestling.

So, you'll have to excuse him when he doesn't get too excited about the three-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Huskies opening the 2021-2022 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in NWCA preseason Division II coaches poll. SCSU has earned the No. 1 ranking in four of the last six NWCA Preseason Polls.

"We are honored to be considered as the preseason number one," said Costanzo, "We will have to wrestle and compete for everything we get."

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Johnnies Look For a Combination of New and Returning Wrestlers to Step Up

St. John’s University to keep the building process going

By Matt Krumrie

With limited competition last season, head coach Kevin Schlitz is eager to get into the wrestling room and see what he's got heading into the 2021-2022 season. Several wrestlers return, but the team only had two events last season due to COVID-19 restrictions, so in a sense, they are almost starting over, even though wrestlers with experience return. There was no season-long open tournament schedule, region tournament, and unlike some other Minnesota and DIII teams, SJU wrestlers did not compete in the NWCA DIII national tournament.

That's why SJU is one of the great unknowns heading into the 2021-2022 college wrestling season.

"I expect to keep the building process going," says Schlitz, now in his fourth season as head coach. "We have added a host of newcomers to the program this year. I also expect to take a few steps towards that national stage."

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.

Vikings Are a Team Built on Work Ethic and a Desire to Grow

Itasca Community College is working hard to improve in all areas

By Matt Krumrie

The last time the Itasca CC Vikings wrestling team competed was during the 2019-2020 season. During that season head coach Joseph Umlauf led the Vikings to a top 30 finish at the NJCAA national tournament, a tie for second place at the MCAC tournament, and a 3-3 dual meet record. Three wrestlers from that team transferred to wrestle at four-year schools and the program was continuing its upward trajectory on and off the mat.

Then, just as momentum was continuing to build, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Vikings' 2020-2021 season.

While that didn't allow the team to compete, Umlauf didn't stop working to continue the progress he's made developing the Itasca CC wrestling program. Now in his third season, Umlauf has grown the roster from one wrestler when he took over to 30. Meanwhile, the team GPA and community service hours volunteered were the highest they've been in a decade.

View exclusive subscriber content with The Guillotine Subscription. Current subscribers log in.