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Byron's Petersen reaches the mountain top again, captures second state title

After three straight runner-up finishes, the North Dakota State University commit ended a dominant, undefeated senior season with a title.

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Byron's Maxwell Petersen reacts after defeating New Prague's Colton Bornholdt in a 145-pound Individual Championship match Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

ST. PAUL — Maxwell Petersen is once again on top of the mountain.

After three straight runner-up finishes, including a heart-breaker last season that came down to a tough referee's decision, the Byron senior won his second state title by holding off New Prague's Colton Bornholdt by a 3-0 decision in the Class AA 145-pound title match on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

The North Dakota State University commit won his other title as an eighth-grader at 106.

"This feels so great," Petersen said. "Just proves that I'm not a one-timer. I kept working on my craft and it just shows that I'm going to go up to the next level and dominate just like I did this tournament.

"I felt a bit snake-bit the last few years just with all the hard work I put in, but I didn't finish. You just learn over the years."

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All season, Petersen was simply a notch above the rest.

He won the prestigious Minnesota Christmas Tournament, defeating Lakeville North and Stanford University commit Zach Hanson, who won the 145-pound Class AAA title on Saturday. He also won the Rumble on the Red in Fargo, N.D.

"The whole year, I just felt really good," Petersen said. "Just dominating, especially on my feet. I feel I could take down anyone no matter what. Of all my years, this is the most dominant I felt."

That trend continued into the Class AA state tournament.

Petersen collected two first-period pins in his first round and quarterfinal, before winning by technical fall in the semifinals.

The now three-time state medalist Bornholdt put up a fight in the title match as it was 0-0 heading into the third period. Yet, it felt like Petersen was in control and just waiting for his moment.

It came early in the third when Petersen scored on an escape, before registering a takedown with 1 minute, 16 seconds left to cap off a perfect 50-0 season. And boy, when that final whistle blew the excitement was more than apparent. He punctuated the victory with an incredible round-off backflip that drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.

It was a backflip three years in the making.

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"Everything was just exploding today," Petersen said with a laugh.

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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