The Kasson-Mantorville wrestling team went to the state wrestling tournament with two goals on Thursday. The first was the desire to earn the second Minnesota Class AA wrestling championship in school history.
The second goal was to dominate in the process.
It can be said that the KoMets accomplished both goals as they crushed Mora, Scott West and Foley en route to winning their first state championship in wrestling since 2013.
“I’m really excited for the boys in this program,” K-M head coach Jamie Heidt said of the title. “All of the hard work they’ve put in paid off and they really jelled throughout the course of the season. I’m also excited for the community and being able to bring this back for them.”
The KoMets began their pursuit with the Mora Mustangs, who entered the tournament with a 24-5 record, but were unranked to begin the tournament. It wasn’t long before it was realized that the Mustangs were outmatched as K-M cruised to a 64-3 victory on the way to the semi-final.
There, they would take on Scott West. Things looked a little hairy after Ben Kelvington pinned Ethan Shea at 152 pounds, but the KoMets would go on a run from there. Along with Patrick Kennedy (145 pounds) prior to Shea’s defeat, K-M would reel off four straight victories between Brady Berge, Andy Bigelow, Aaron Berge and Noah Ryan to bury the Panthers and clinch a spot in the state tournament by a score of 39-18.
As the KoMets would head into the championship dual, they would run into a Foley team that had a little bit of magic on their side. The Falcons had pulled off a stunning victory of Simley in which they picked up two pins in the final three matches and it was a true matchup of David vs. Goliath.
However, this KoMet team was too dominant to allow a storybook ending. After gaining six points from a previous forfeit (Foley took a forfeit in the quarterfinals against Perham at 132 pounds and was required to take the loss on that weight for the rest of the tournament), K-M took off with wins in four out of the next five matches.
After Bigelow was pinned by Spencer Elwell at 170 pounds, a determined Berge hit the mat at 182 with a purpose and scored a pinfall 28 seconds into his match with Dakota McIver to bring the KoMets to the brink of a championship.
“I just went out there and tried to get the momentum back on our side,” Berge said. “I knew that after me, Noah would keep things going if I got the win and that’s what happened.”
Ryan would take the mat and put an exclamation point on the KoMets’ title with a pin over Tyson Gothman to seal the dual. To the junior, the victory was a flashback of sorts after also being on the team in 2013.
“I remember being just out there and fighting for my team,” Ryan recalled. “It felt like a flashback to get that win and sealing it for the team. It was just awesome.”
The win capped off a perfect season for the KoMets as they ran a difficult schedule to go 25-0 en route to their second championship.