Sam Stoll

Sam Stoll of Kasson-Mantorville High School is the Post-Bulletin Sports Person of the Year for 2013. Stoll dominated the high school wrestling scene, finishing with a perfect 49-0 season and owning his first state title.

There are several heavyweight wrestlers around the state who probably don't want to hear this, but Sam Stoll says he can get better.

"There's no reason why I can't,'' he says.

And that's scary, because it's pretty hard to improve on the season the Kasson-Mantorville senior turned in a year ago.

In a word he was dominant. Stoll completed a perfect 49-0 season with his first state title. The closest match he wrestled all season was a 9-1 major decision over Class AAA state runner-up Michael Burkhardt of Coon Rapids.

Burkhardt was the only wrestler to last three periods against Stoll, who pinned the rest of his opponents. All but three of those pins came in the first period, and 21 of those pins came in less than a minute.

"Not a day goes by when he's not thinking of winning another state championship,'' said K-M co-head coach Jamie Heidt. "He's an unblossomed giant with so much potential. And there's still a lot of room to grow.

"The sky is the limit.''

Stoll won the United States Greco-Roman Junior World Team Trials last spring and won a bronze medal at 120 kg/265.4 pounds at the Junior World Championships last August in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Football star, too

Oh, yes, he also helped the K-M football team reach the Class AAAA state playoffs as the anchor of a dominating offensive and defensive line.

Today, Stoll is named as the 2013 Post-Bulletin Sportsperson of the Year.

"I go into each practice with the same mindset, that of trying to get better,'' he said. "That's why I bust my butt in the weight room.''

Stoll first stepped on a wrestling mat when he was in kindergarten.

"I don't know what started me,'' he said, "but I wasn't good at it or anything. For some reason I just started. In the second grade, I won the state NYWA (Northland Youth Wrestling Association) tournament and that kind of got me going.''

Now you can't get Stoll off the mat.

"I remember coaching Sam for the first time in the fourth and fifth grade,'' said Heidt, "and even then he had a passion for wrestling. He was hanging with the varsity kids and was always talking about all these collegiate wrestlers.

"I mean, he was only in fifth grade. Sam was a walking encyclopedia but he wanted to soak it all in.''

Still eats up wrestling

He still does.

"You take him to a tournament,'' Heidt said, "and it's all wrestling. When he's finished with his match, which usually doesn't take very long, Sam is up talking to others about wrestling.

"He always wants to learn. When he's not on the mat or practicing, he'll be watching videos. He's a great student of the sport.

"There's no easy day for Sam in the wrestling room. He goes at it full force. His teammates recognize just how hard he's working and they do the same thing. It rubs off, and makes us better.''

Stoll finished second and third at state as a freshman and sophomore before finally reaching gold a year ago.

"Nothing beats wrestling at state,'' he said, "and for us to win as a team last year, that was awesome.''

Stoll was ranked as the 11th prospect nationally and last October made his decision to go to Iowa.

"I'm glad the (recruiting) process is over,'' he said, "but I made the right decision.''

There are plenty of goals out there for Stoll, starting this weekend with Clash XII at the Rochester Community and Technical College.

"We talk about goals all the time,'' said Heidt, "and it doesn't end in high school. We're also talking lofty goals on the collegiate and international levels.''

And dare we say the Olympics.

"One of my goals has always been to be an Olympic champion,'' he said. "If I continue to work hard, I know I can do it. I know I can.''

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