Branches and cinder blocks: How Z-M’s Ethan Kovars transformed into one of the state’s best wrestlers

Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Ethan Kovars constructed a home gym to get ready for the 2021 wrestling season. And boy, the work has paid off. Kovars is off to a fabulous 19-1 start and he’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon.

Ethan Kovars doesn’t believe in making excuses.

So when his local gym got shut down this summer due to the pandemic, the Zumbrota-Mazeppa senior wasn’t fazed.

Kovars decided to construct his own home gym because a lazy offseason is unacceptable to him.

His makeshift gym consisted of a push sled, a heavy tire and a pull-up bar. But that wasn’t good enough. So Kovars found some solid branches and connected them with two 30-pound cinder blocks and called it good. Continue reading at →

St. Michael-Albertville topples Shakopee for Class 3A state title

Kasson-Mantorville wins Class 2A; Zumbrota-Mazeppa wins Class 1A

Too many times, St. Michael-Albertville has come close to state titles, only to have victory snatched away late.

On countless occasions, Apple Valley proved just one guy too deep to keep the Knights from climbing to the top of the ladder. Even in 2013, when the Knights did win that elusive big school crown, they were forced to share it with the Eagles.

Not on Thursday night. Continue reading at

Threesome carries each other to new heights

Link Steffen recalls the summer afternoon he banished his son Caden and his neighborhood friends to the Steffen backyard, booting the boisterous bunch out of the house.

The father needed a break from these boys, grade-schoolers at the time.

What he witnessed a short time later was one of the more inspiring things ever for a wrestling coach.

“I’d told the kids to go outside and do something,” said Link, the Zumbrota-Mazeppa wrestling coach. “About an hour later I look out and our wrestling mat is on the grass. They were outside, having their own wrestling tournament.” Continue reading at