The Guillotine Grapevine: A tale of two stories in Section 5AA

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A trip to Totino-Grace High School in Fridley had one goal in mind, profile the private Catholic school and its accomplished wrestling program. What happened was what makes sports great – kids doing great things to create great results. Totino-Grace wouldn’t hoist the Section 5AA trophy on Saturday, it’d be a group of kids from Orono who came into the sectional tournament with a 6-12 dual record. 

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Jake Svihel, Star Tribune Metro Wrestler of the Year

The Totino-Grace senior finished the season 57-0, a state record for individual victories in a season, to win a state title after three runner-up finishes.

It’s been a month, yet to Totino-Grace senior wrestler Jake Svihel, it feels just as good as it did when it happened.

Svihel, the Star Tribune’s Metro Wrestler of the Year, capped a perfect season with an equally perfect ending, defeating Byron’s Mitchel Peterson 7-3 in the Class 2A 126-pound final. He finished the season 57-0, a state record for individual victories in a season, and broke a number of school records, including takedowns in a season and in a career.

But it wasn’t about setting records. It was about finally winning a title. He’d finished second at his weight for three consecutive years. This past season, however, nothing was keeping him from going out on top. Continue reading at

Totino-Grace wrestler Jake Svihel aims to shed runner-up finish for champion

Jake Svihel grew up around the wrestling mat with his dad, Doug Svihel, the longtime coach of the Totino-Grace wrestling team.

The younger Svihel has since developed into one of the top high school wrestlers in Minnesota, one with a chance to win an individual state title this winter.

Svihel, a junior, is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at 113 pounds by the Guillotine website, after two years of finishing as a state runner-up. He said he’s motivated by those finishes, adding that he’s hoping to help Totino-Grace to a top-six finish as a team.

“There’s a lot of top teams there,” he said, “but I think we can beat them.” Continue reading at