Section One to be well-represented in Class A wrestling semifinals

Saturday's Class A semifinals will see 11 of the 56 spots filled by Section 1A grapplers.

State wrestling
Chatfield's Gage Bartels reacts after winning his Class A 126-pound quarterfinal on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

ST. PAUL — All season, Section 1A has proven to be the cream of the crop in Class A.

It proved that further on Friday, flexing its muscle at the MSHSL state wrestling individual tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.

More than 60 individuals from the area competed in the first session of individuals at the Xcel Energy Center.

When Friday was all said and done, area wrestlers from Section 1A filled 11 of the 56 semifinal spots. That's nearly 20% of semifinalists.

Semifinals begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the final session slated for 4 p.m.

Overall, it was a solid day for the area at the Class AA and Class AAA state individual wrestling championships on Friday.


Dover-Eyota's Gust, Kellen focused on going out on top

state wrestling
Dover-Eyota senior Gavin Gust takes down B-B-E's Hunter Laage during a Class A 160-pound first round match on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

When the year started, both Brodie Kellen and Gavin Gust — longtime friends and practice partners — both had a mission. It was to win a state title in their final season together.

The Dover-Eyota senior standouts are just two wins away from making that happen.

Both pushed into Saturday's semifinals with relative ease. Gust — the defending Class A state champion at 152 — collected a pin in the quarters before riding out a 4-1 win by decision. Kellen was dominant, recording a first-period pin and then a technical fall in the quarters.

Both reached the semifinals a year ago, but Kellen lost there. He hasn't forgotten about that. Gust won't let him forget about it either.

"My biggest motivation this year was last year," Kellen said. "My finish at state wasn't what I wanted, but I've had Gavin pushing me. Honestly, all the guys. Everyone has been pushing me to get better. Hopefully, I can go out there tomorrow and win it all. That was the goal all along."

State wrestling
Brodie Kellen gets his hand raised after winning his Class A 152-pound first round match on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

Now, it's time for him and Gust to take care of business.

"Last time we've had two state champions was 2016, I think," Kellen said. "It would be awesome, and (awesome) to do it with him. But we have to take it one match at a time.

Solid day for Chatfield

State wrestling
Chatfield head coach Matt Mauseth (right) celebrates after Gage Bartels won his Class A 126-pound quarterfinal on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

Last year, both Javier Berg and Kail Schott were favored to get to the podium, but both returned to Chatfield without a state medal around their necks. It's something both have thought about a lot since.


"Last year definitely fueled me," Berg said. "After not placing at all last year, I just broke that down and that definitely helped me get the motivation."

For, Schott his brother Grady — Class A state champion at 182 a year ago — has been his grappling partner all season long, preparing him for this moment. Kail would like nothing more than to match his big brother.

"This means a lot," Kail said. "I watched my brother win last year and he's been pushing me a lot. And I kind of want to win that state title just for him. And we're competitive. He has two state titles, I have one in football. So it would be nice to one-up him."

Both Berg and Schott are now in the driver's seat, punching their tickets to Saturday's semifinal with a pair of impressive matches. Berg collected a major decision and then a pin, while Schott pulled out a pair of close wins by decision. He led and controlled both throughout.

They will be joined by junior teammate Gage Bartels, who was impressive in a 6-2 win by decision against Medford's Tommy Elwood in the 126-pound quarters.

"I think a lot of our guys — me, Kail, Gage — we're moving forward, we have a chance to be finalists," Berg said. "We have a chance to make it a good day for Chatfield."

Caledonia/Houston's Ginther eyes title

Fresh off helping Caledonia/Houston bring home the program's second state runner-up finish at the Class A team championships, Tucker Ginther now has his sights set on reaching his own state final.

This time he is intent on winning it.


State wrestling
Caledonia/Houston senior Tucker Ginther brings down his opponent during a Class A 145-pound quarterfinal on Friday, March 3, 2023 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

He enters Saturday confident after a stellar Friday. Ginther had a pair of decision victories in which he controlled the action throughout. He gave up one point on his way to the semifinals where he will have a rematch with Jackson County Central's Logan Butzon. Those two met in the Class A team championship on Thursday with Butzon winning 2-1.

"This year, my goal was to win a state title," Ginther said. "Tomorrow is going to be tough, but I'm just trying to get out there and wrestle my style."

Overall, it was a solid day for the Warriors, with two others — Owen Denstad (132) and Cory Scanlan (138) — joining Ginther in the semifinals.

"Everybody in our room — there's not a single guy in this room that doesn't work hard," Ginther said. "Every day, everyone puts in 100%. You work hard and you get good results."

Other Class A semifinalists

Other area semifinalists include Westfield's Bo Zwiener (132), Kenyon-Wanamingo's Gavin Johnson (138) and Jaedin Johnson (170), as well as St. Charles senior Tytan Small, who placed fifth last year after falling in the quarters.

This year he ensured himself of no wrestlebacks with a third-period pin the quarters.

"The ultimate goal is to be on top, but I set small goals for myself," Small said. "I'm focused on tomorrow's semifinal which should be fun, then hopefully I'm going for a title."

Link to full Class A results


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
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