Apple Valley wrestler takes hold of his future

Apple Valley’s Mark Hall, seeking his fifth wrestling title, has his eyes on much more.

Mark Hall blends in casually in the halls of Apple Valley High School. He’s popular, the result of his stature as a wrestler of uncommon ability, but he moves with humility, never approaching cockiness or arrogance.

To most of his classmates, Hall is just another student in a sea of many. It’s when Hall steps on the mat that he becomes the closest thing high school wrestling has to a rock star. Continue reading at

Pioneer Press wrestler of the year: Mark Hall of Apple Valley

Suspicion and hard feelings followed Mark Hall whenever he took the mat for the Apple Valley wrestling team as a seventh-grader.

That was five years ago, and feelings ran hot among opposing fans and teams when it came to Hall and the Eagles.

Fast forward to today, and Hall draws praise from fans around the state, many of whom tell him they hope he sticks around after high school to wrestle for the University of Minnesota. Continue reading at

Successful New Prague wrestler Berg eyes elusive last-match victory

New Prague senior James Berg has won plenty of matches throughout his high school wrestling career, with one notable exception.

New Prague senior James Berg has won plenty of matches throughout his high school wrestling career, with one notable exception. He has yet to win the match that brings his season to an end.

Berg, who has committed to wrestle for the Gophers, has his sights set on becoming the Class 2A state champion at 138 pounds.

Berg was the state tournament runner-up in the weight class a year ago. He lost to Scott West senior Zach Siegle 6-2 in the finals. Continue reading at

Tiebreaker Decides Outcome Scott West Advances to State

When the scoreboard read 31-31 after the last of 14 matches was wrestled in the Section 2AA Team Championship Valentine’s Night at Mankato East High School, one team and its fans were about to have their hearts broken.

When Scott West coach Darren Ripley began celebrating and a relieved Scott West cheering section followed suit, it was New Prague whose hearts were broken as it was determined that Scott West would represent the section at next week’s state team tournament byway of tiebreaker criteria (most technical falls). Scott West had two and New Prague one. A technical fall is declared when a wrestler takes a 15-point lead over his opponent. Continue reading at

St. Michael-Albertville Wrestling Cruises to Section Team Title

With a section title in hand, the Knights will look to improve on last year’s third place finish at state.

St. Michael-Albertville continued its tradition of punching a ticket to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament as a team Friday night, topping two ranked teams en route to the Section 7-3A Championship in convincing fashion.

The Knights were never threatened – they trailed only briefly in both the semifinals and finals – thanks to standout performances from wrestlers like Mitchell McKee (126 pounds), Jake Allar and Jordan Joseph, as well as 12 other wrestlers who all saw time on the mat and picked up wins.

“This team is so competitive, top to bottom. There’s always a guy willing to step up and get that win,” said head coach Dan Lefebvre. “There’s no weak link. That makes it pretty fun to be a coach.” Continue reading at

Pierz’s Eischens excelling after lost time

PIERZ – It was approaching 3 a.m. by the time Kolton Eischens’ head hit the pillow Friday night.

The boys on the Pierz wrestling team were in the mood to celebrate after clinching their fifth-straight state tournament berth by defeating Aitkin 33-26 in the Section 7A team championship match.

The Eischens family hosted the post-match celebration where the team gathered for a night of card playing and video games. Continue reading at

Albert Lea ends KoMets’ run

Giving up bonus points was not an option for the Kasson-Mantorville wrestling team during Saturday’s Section One, Class AA finals at Mayo Civic Center.

“Not against a good team, not against someone like Albert Lea,” K-M coach Jamie Heidt said.

It’s unfortunate, but the KoMets weren’t able to avoid those costly bonus points.

Albert Lea secured two big pins early in the dual, putting the KoMets in a bad spot. K-M battled back within reach, but it ultimately was too much to overcome. Continue reading at

Z-M upsets K-W for section title

ROCHESTER — Matt Ryan stared straight ahead, perhaps watching Zumbrota-Mazeppa celebrate a Section 1A championship. But the look in Ryan’s eyes told a different story. After a few moments, Ryan, the head coach of Kenyon-Wanamingo, dropped his head, gazing with the same lost look, only this time with the floor of the Mayo Civic Center in view.

In the fleeting moments that Ryan likely processed a thousand what-ifs, Link Steffen could not be contained. Where Ryan stood motionless, Steffen was jumping, running, hugging, screaming. Somehow, everything went right for Steffen’s Cougars in a 27-26 victory over the Knights. Continue reading at