Senior Parker Betts triumphantly threw his hands in the air, pointed toward the “STMA” on his singlet and motioned to the already re-energized crowd to make more noise.
The St. Michael-Albertville wrestling heavyweight couldn’t help but enjoy the moment. His pin to end Thursday’s Class AAA championship match against Apple Valley gave the Knights their lone points of the title tilt — a 61-6 loss to the powerful Eagles.
But even in defeat, Betts and his teammates enjoyed that last surge.
“I was on top with 1:14 left, and I said I’m going to do it,” Betts said. “Hearing the crowd go nuts, there’s not a better feeling in the world.”
The Knights showed their experience of 13 consecutive state tournament appearances throughout the afternoon, collecting bonus points in 10 matches and losing just five matches through the first two rounds.
But in the championship, Apple Valley was too much.
The Eagles (36-1) were the top-ranked team in the nation for much of the season, according to www.hswrestling.net, and they proved their abilities by handling the Knights in convincing fashion.
Apple Valley picked up a win by fall at the 103-pound weight class and never looked back.
“They’re a good team,” Knights coach Dan Lefebvre said. “They’re well-coached, and we just wanted to compete really hard and we’re really proud of our guys in the way they competed.”
Betts said the team wrestled its hardest for one another to finish out the team tournament. Even in defeat, the Knights (33-5) have seven wrestlers competing in the state individual tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“We cruised through the first two rounds really nice,” Betts said. “We just went out there and wrestled and did what we can. Everyone battled really hard.”
St. Michael-Albertville 59, Centennial 3
103: STMA Tommy Thorn def. CEN Michael Mischke by fall (1:12). 112: STMA Cole Sladek def. CEN James Stefonick by maj. dec. 15-4. 119: STMA Mark Voss def. CEN Jordan Thompson by fall (2:44). 125: STMA Lincoln Mallinger def. CEN Nathan Stott 5-0. 130: STMA Wayne Voss def. CEN Blake Solberg by inj. default. 135: STMA Michael Lindquist def. CEN Amakale Tilleskjor 6-2. 140: STMA Michael Nerdahl def. CEN Jake Schmidtz 10-3. 145: STMA Lucas Martin def. CEN Jacob Mazanec 3-0. 152: STMA Jake Lillie def. CEN Wesley Hendrickson by fall (1:52). 160: STMA Ricky Briggs def. CEN Will Noll 7-0. 171: STMA Ryan Stott def. CEN Bret Pasche by fall (2:41). 189: STMA Shaun Little def. CEN Jake Cruz by tech. fall (16-0). 215: STMA Mitchell Kolles loses to CEN Zach Vine 3-1. 285: STMA Parker Betts def. CEN Andrew Gustafson by tech. fall (20-5).
St. Michael-Albertville 36, Albert Lea Area 13
103: STMA Tommy Thorn def. AL Dakota Wangsness by maj. dec. 4-0. 112: STMA Cole Sladek def. AL Lucas Hansen 8-2. 119: STMA Mark Voss def. AL Garrett Wangsness 7-5. 125: STMA Lincoln Mallinger def. AL Davin Nelson 12-4. 130: STMA Wayne Voss def. AL Tristan Westerlund 10-3. 135: STMA Michael Lindquist def. AL Banypiny Chan 7-5. 140: STMA Michael Nerdahl def. AL Caleb Kolodge 6-0. 145: STMA Lucas Martin loses to AL Dalton Westerlund by maj. dec. 11-3. 152: STMA Jake Lillie def. AL Jacob Tyler by tech. fall 16-1. 160: STMA Ricky Briggs loses to AL Trey Hable 9-5. 171: STMA Ryan Stott loses to AL Cory Hansen 7-2. 189: STMA Mitchell Kolles loses to AL Conner Kortan 3-1. 215: STMA Shaun Little def. AL Caleb Gaudian 7-0. 285: STMA Parker Betts def. AL Alex Nielsen by tech. fall 19-4.
Apple Valley 61, St. Michael-Albertville 6
103: AV Seth Gross def. STMA Aaron Dick by fall (1:09). 112: AV Jordan Kingsley wins by forfeit. 119: AV Corey Rathman def. STMA Mark Voss 6-4. 125: AV Dakota Trom def. STMA Lincoln Mallinger by maj. dec. (11-1). 130: AV Mark Hall def. STMA Wayne Voss 7-1. 135: AV Matt Kelliher def. STMA Michael Lindquist 12-6. 140: AV Brandon Kingsley def. STMA Evan Gammell by fall (0:29). 145: AV Daniel Woiwor def. STMA Lucas Martin 10-3. 152: AV Destin McCauley def. STMA Jake Lillie by tech. fall (18-3). 160: AV Steven Keogh def. STMA Ricky Briggs by fall (3:01). 171: AV Jacob Waste wins by forfeit. 189: AV Corbin Farrell def. STMA Mitch Eull 9-1. 215: AV Mat Hechsel def. STMA Mitchell Kolles by fall (2:42). 285: STMA Parker Betts def. AV Zach Martens by fall (5:02).