Semifinal match for all purposes to decide title

By Troy Young


ST. PAUL -- Out of respect for the rest of the field, neither wrestler would probably admit it. But for all practical purposes, the 119-pound Class AA semifinal match this afternoon between Cannon Falls senior Seth Flodeen and St. Michael-Albertville junior Mike Thorn probably will be for the state championship.

And today's semifinals bout will be a rematch no less.

Last year, Thorn beat Flodeen in the 112-pound state championship match. Today, they meet in the semifinals as the top two ranked 119 pounders in Class AA.


Neither wrestler faced much resistance in the first two rounds Thursday. Flodeen recorded falls in both of his matches while Thorn had a pin and a 13-2 decision in his first two. Because they are both in the upper half of the 16-person bracket, they meet in the semifinals.

"I've been waiting for this since he beat me in the finals," Flodeen said.

Flodeen thinks the outcome will be different this time.

"I didn't wrestle like I could against him last year," Flodeen said. "He got in my head early, and I let it get to me. This year I'm ready for him."

Thorn (37-2) and Flodeen (38-0) have become good friends since they participated in many of the same wrestling camps through the years. But friendship will go only so far today, Flodeen said.

"He's a good kid," Flodeen said. "It's just too bad I'll have to beat him."

Alberts is stronger:After losing in the state semifinals last year, Kasson-Mantorville senior Colby Alberts knew he had to get stronger if he hoped to capture gold this time around.

Alberts spent the offseason in the weight room, pumping iron and improving his chances. Before the season started, he weighed 175 pounds with 6 percent body fat. He weighed 154 pounds at the beginning of the tournament Thursday.


"He's gotten a lot stronger," KoMets coach Paul Mann said. "After he lost in the semis last year, he knew he had to get stronger."

Alberts won both of his matches Thursday and wrestles in the semifinals today. If he wins today, he likely will face St. Michael-Albertville's Jake Grygelko in the finals. Grygelko beat Alberts in the semis a year ago.

"I'm hoping to see him again," Alberts said.

Stewartville's Schmitz likely to get record-holder:Goliath awaits Stewartville sophomore Mike Schmitz in the 160-pound division. Of course, Schmitz, who won two matches Thursday, still has to win in the semifinals today before he would face the wrestling giant.

Glencoe-Silver Lake's Nate Matousek, Minnesota's all-time winningest wrestler, is expected to reach the 160 state finals. If Schmitz wins today, he probably would face Matousek, who is 241-13 in his career. Matousek will wrestle for the Gophers next year.

"That's the match of a lifetime to have in the finals," Stewartville coach Dennis Kuisle said. "Everybody in the stadium will be watching Matousek to see how he does."

Schmitz (37-3) salivates at the chance.

"That'd be great to have a chance to wrestle Matousek," Schmitz said. "But he's unstoppable."


The Kasson-Mantorville Bailey twins both positioned themselves into the semifinals. Alan Bailey won 4-0 and 5-2 at 215; Kyle Bailey won 1-0 in the first round and recorded a pin in the heavyweight semifinals.

Other Section 1 participants in the semifinals today: Caledonia/ Houston/ Spring Grove's Collin Pitts at 103; La Crescent's Aaron Schaitel at 130; Cannon Falls' Levi Price at 145; and St. Paul Humboldt's Julian Mancha at 171.

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