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History made! Kasson-Mantorville's Bennett Berge wins fifth state title

The senior is one of just seven wrestlers in the state of Minnesota to capture five individual state titles.

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Kasson-Mantorville's Bennett Berge defeats Simley's Soren Herzog in a 195-pound Class AA individual championship match Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Berge is now a five-time state champion.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ST. PAUL — Bennett Berge etched his name into the record books on Saturday.

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Kasson-Mantorville's Bennett Berge hugs head coach Jamie Heidt after defeating Simley's Soren Herzog in a 195-pound Class AA Individual Championship match Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Berge is now a five-time State Champion.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

With another dominant performance, the Kasson-Mantorville senior became just the seventh wrestler in Minnesota to capture five individual state titles, winning by technical fall in the Class AA 195-pound championship against Simley's Soren Herzog on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

For Berge, it's hard to fathom what he accomplished.

"As an eighth-grader, I just wanted one," Berge said. "Five years later, I have five."

The South Dakota State University commit breezed through his portion of the bracket, collecting three pins en route to the title match clash with Herzog (53-4). Herzog placed fourth in the state of Colorado last season.

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The result wasn't much different.

Berge put on a clinic, wracking up points in impressive fashion against Herzog. That included the rarely seen "winn dixie roll" — an incredibly complex and unorthodox move that involves the wrestler rolling over and hooking the opponent's armpit with one's leg. It often puts the opponent in what is called the cow-catcher pinning sequence, before ultimately setting up the takedown.

It was a thing of beauty from Berge.

"I was surprised by that," Berge said with a grin. "I have never done that in my life. I hit in practice, but never once in a match. I couldn't hold back my smile after that one."

That was part of a 10-point second period for Berge, who then finished it out with a pair of takedowns in the third for the 22-7 win by technical fall. It caps off his second consecutive undefeated season, finishing the year at an eye-popping 52-0.

Berge passes former teammate and University of Iowa wrestler Patrick Kennedy, as well as his brother Brady Berge, who each won four state titles.

Berge was quick to give credit to the program as a whole, including the coaching staff and the wrestlers who helped him get to this moment.

"The people in the program are amazing," Berge said. "We have the greatest coaching staff in the nation. I'm 100 percent convinced of that."

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Yet, this isn't the last you will see Berge in Kasson. He will be a fixture in the Kasson-Mantorville program for years to come, even as he hopes to do great things in Brookings, S.D., the next four years.

"I'm going to be around this program for many years to come," Berge said. "I'm part of this program."

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Kasson-Mantorville fans cheer after Kasson-Mantorville's Bennett Berge defeated Simley's Soren Herzog in a 195-pound Class AA Individual Championship match Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

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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