The Apple Valley wrestling team continued its long run of success this season, sending seven individuals to the state tournament and finishing second place as a team in the strongest section in Minnesota.
The Eagles began the 2019 section tournament against Lakeville North, a battle that featured several of the most talented wrestlers in the metro area. The Panthers controlled the early stages of the match, with eighth grader Zach Hanson and freshman Jore Volk leading the way. Soon after, however, Apple Valley went on an impressive run.
Senior Martin Stewart was the first Eagle to win, defeating North senior Johnny Tieu by technical fall. Seniors Adam Mickelson, Sebas Swiggum (committed to Minnesota), and Devin Roberts (Augsburg), as well as juniors Dylan Anderson and Tony Anger, all scored pins. Senior Brady Gross (Augsburg) added a major decision, freshman Joey Anderson earned a decision, and senior Tyler Kim won by forfeit. Many had hoped to see Kim take on top heavyweight Bryce Benhart, but Benhart chose to forgo the team competition in order to prepare for the individual tournament.
Senior Brady Gross battles a Lakeville North opponent in the first round of the team section tournament.
Following their 48-22 win over Lakeville North, Apple Valley drew a match-up with New Prague, a top ten team in Class AAA. Similar to their first dual, the Eagles found themselves down 18-0 after the 106, 113, and 120 pound contests. Junior Regan Schrempp, wrestling at 126 pounds, turned the tide with a pin against New Prague sophomore Jacob Vaughn, setting up another scoring rush.
Senior Michael Mattison in the opening stages of the 182-pound match against New Prague
After Schrempp’s pin, Stewart earned another technical fall, this time a 16-0 win over junior Simon Kajer. Mickelson, Swiggum, Gross, and Dylan Anderson followed with four consecutive pins, and Devin Roberts won by technical fall. After hard-fought losses by Joey Anderson and senior Michael Mattison, Anger won by decision and Kim closed out the match with another pin.
Senior Martin Stewart controls Simon Kajer of New Prague in a semifinal dual.
These two duals led to a meeting with number-one ranked team in Minnesota: Shakopee. Shakopee is led by former Apple Valley coach Jim Jackson and narrowly defeated the Eagles in last year’s section tournament. Apple Valley eighth-grader Austin Laudenbach was able to avoid a pin against Shakopee’s seventh-grade phenom Pierson Manville, losing by technical fall. Shakopee junior Paxton Creese, another of the top lightweight wrestlers in the state, won by fall over Apple Valley seventh-grader Marcell Booth.
In the 120-pound match, Regan Schrempp lined up against junior Ben Lunn of Shakopee, who entered the section tournament with a record of 31-3. Schrempp re-aggravated an upper-body injury during the match and eventually was defeated by technical fall. At 126 pounds, the Eagles were on the brink of earning a huge victory against senior Tyler Jones, but Martin Stewart was taken down in the third period after an impressive back-and-forth battle. Adam Mickelson scored the Eagles’ first win of the championship match, defeating sophomore John Knoll by technical fall.
Sebas Swiggum built on the momentum, defeating sophomore Sam Treml by major decision. Brady Gross’s match against senior Brandon Kidd went to overtime, with Kidd winning by sudden victory on a takedown. Dylan Anderson then scored his third consecutive pin, bringing the overall score to 22-15.
Senior Adam Mickelson pins New Prague’s Bryce Lofton.
The next four matches all went the Sabers’ way, giving Shakopee a 40-15 lead at 220 pounds. Tony Anger then won by fall and Tyler Kim defeated sophomore Tommy Johnson in overtime, but the deficit was too great to overcome. Shakopee won the dual 40-24 and earned their second consecutive trip to the state tournament.
Despite the loss, the Eagles quickly bounced back for the individual section tournament. Seven Apple Valley wrestlers finished either first or second in their weight brackets and locked in trips to Xcel Energy Center:
Martin Stewart – 126 pounds
Adam Mickelson – 132 pounds
Sebas Swiggum – 138 pounds
Brady Gross – 145 pounds
Dylan Anderson – 152 pounds
Devin Roberts – 160 pounds
Tyler Kim – 285 pounds
Stewart battled back from an early loss by decision to eventual state champion Reid Ballantyne of Stillwater and another close loss to Tyler Jones of Shakopee. He defeated Eden Prairie’s Bryce Dagel 8-4 to secure a fifth-place finish.
Roberts worked his way to a semifinal showdown with Brock Rinehart of Woodbury. Rinehart defeated Roberts by one point, 3-2. Roberts then faced top-seeded Wyatt Lidberg of St. Michael-Albertville in the third-place contest. Much like the earlier round, the match came down to one point, with Lidberg escaping in overtime to earn the sudden victory.
In his semifinal match, Tyler Kim battled Lakeville North’s Bryce Benhart in a long-awaited South Suburban Conference rematch. Unfortunately, Kim suffered an injury during the match and Benhart won by major decision. Kim then fought his way through the consolation bracket before eventually being defeated by White Bear Lake’s Luke Parzyck in the third place match.
Mickelson, Swiggum, and Gross all advanced to their respective championship matches, and in consecutive weight classes, no less.
Mickelson was the first Eagle to wrestle for a title. His opponent, Trayton Anderson of Northfield, entered the state tournament boasting a record of 54-1. Mickelson and Anderson entered the final period tied 2-2 after and Anderson takedown and a pair of escapes by Mickelson. Anderson chose to take the bottom position in the third period and escaped to take a one-point lead. Mickelson was unable to crack Anderson’s defense the remainder of the period, leaving the final score 3-2.
At 145 pounds, Brady Gross battled number one seed and 2018 state champion Cael Carlson of Willmar. Much like the 132-pound match, Carlson and Gross traded takedowns and escapes. The second period saw Carlson establish a four-point cushion, and Gross’s third-period efforts were turned away. The 2019 tournament capped of an impressive career for Gross, who was an instrumental part of two state champions teams as a freshman and sophomore.
Sebas Swiggum, heralded as one of the top prospects in the state, faced number-one seed Drew Woodley of Northfield for the title. Woodley carried a 2-1 lead well into the third period, and Swiggum appeared to be running out of time. Woodley, however, was caught in a poor position. “[Woodley] looked over at the clock. Right at that moment, I took a shot,” Swiggum told the Star Tribune. Swiggum’s shot resulted in a two-point takedown and his first individual state title.Complete brackets and match recaps from the individual state tournament can be found here.