ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Simley entered the 2022 MatBoss Christmas Tournament as the highest ranked team nationally in the 34-team field. The Spartans, ranked No. 20 nationally by MatScouts, showed why by winning the team title by 17.5 points on Saturday night at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn.
The Spartans placed 11 wrestlers in the top 12, advanced three wrestlers to the finals and crowned a champion. Simley finished with 485 points. St. Michael-Albertville, ranked No. 37 nationally, was runner-up in the team standings with 467.5 points.
Simley's lone champion was Gavin Nelson (220), while Spartan wrestlers Soren Herzog (285) and Brandon Morvari (120) fell in the finals.
Nelson, a two-time state champion who signed with the University of Minnesota, opened the finals at 220 pounds with a 13-9 win over Waconia's Alex Riley. It was Nelson's second consecutive title at the MatBoss Minnesota Christmas Tournament.
Nelson led 2-1 after the opening period. He added three takedowns in the second period to extend his lead. Late in the match, Nelson was a takedown away from securing a major decision before Riley scored a takedown of his own to cut the deficit to four, which is how the match would end.
Herzog was defeated in the finals at 285 pounds by top-seeded Will Sather of Eden Prairie in a wild match. Sather, who became the first sophomore ever to win a state championship at heavyweight in Minnesota's Class 3A, controlled the action early. He used a takedown and nearfall to grab a 4-1 lead after the opening period. Herzog used an escape in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-2. In the closing seconds of regulation, Herzog came out on top of a scramble to tie the match and send it to sudden victory. In sudden victory, Sather countered an attack from Herzog, using a Peterson roll to secure the match-winning takedown.
The final wrestler for Simley take the mat in the finals was University of Illinois signee Brandon Morvari (Simley) at 120 pounds. He faced Ben Bast of West Bend in the lone battle of returning MatBoss Minnesota Christmas Tournament champions.
Morvari struck first with a takedown. Bast quickly earned a reversal to tie the match at 2-2 before riding out the Simley wrestler for the remainder of the period. Bast took the lead in the second period and added a takedown in the third period to win 5-2.
Bast was one of five wrestlers to repeat as a MatBoss Minnesota Christmas Tournament champion. In addition to Nelson and Bast, St. Michael-Albertville's Landon Robideau (132), New Prague's Koy Buesgens (145) and Waconia's Max McEnelly (195) repeated as champions.
Robideau, a nationally ranked sophomore who has already committed to the University of Minnesota, was untested at this year's event. The returning state champion finished the event with a pin and three technical falls. In the finals, Robideau made it look effortless in earning a 16-0 technical fall over Kaukauna's Bryan Winans.
Buesgens, who signed with North Carolina State, turned in an impressive finals performance at 145 pounds against Anoka's Eli Paulson, a returning state finalist. Buesgens picked up a takedown in the first period and led 2-0 after one period. The New Prague senior then broke the match open in the second period, adding an escape and two more takedowns to go up 7-1. Paulson picked up an escape in the third period to cut the deficit to five before Buesgens threw Paulson to his back and secured the pin.
McEnelly, a three-time state champion who signed with the University of Minnesota, was the final repeat winner at 195 pounds. He topped West Bend's Cole Mirasola 10-7 in a competitive match between top five wrestlers in the nation.
The first period ended 3-3 after the two wrestlers traded takedowns and escapes. McEnelly took the lead in the second period, getting an escape and takedown before Mirasola escaped to make it 6-4 in favor of the Waconia wrestler after two periods. Mirasola escaped in the third period to cut the deficit to one before McEnelly quickly secured a takedown to extend his lead to 8-5. Mirasola escaped again to get within two points before McEnelly earned another takedown to put the match away late.
McEnelly was named Outstanding Wrestler of the event after winning a weight class that included four nationally ranked wrestlers.
Hastings finished third in the team standings and crowned a pair of champions with the Beissel brothers, Trey and Blake, winning titles at 106 pounds and 113 pounds respectively.
Trey Beissel, who competed up a weight at 113 pounds last season, scored a takedown off a double leg in the final 10 seconds to edge New Prague's Lawson Eller 4-3 in the finals at 106 pounds.
Blake Beissel, a returning state champion, needed the tiebreaker period to claim a 3-1 win over Albert Lea Area's Michael Olson at 113 pounds. Regulation ended 1-1 after the two wrestlers traded escapes. Olson started the tiebreaker period in the down position and Beissel was able to get a rideout. Beissel then went in the down position and picked up a reversal to win the match.
Beissel wasn't the only returning runner-up to win a title this year. Kaukauna's Greyson Clark (138), Lakeville North's Zach Hanson (152) and Kasson-Mantorville's Cole Glazier (170) all won titles after losing in the finals a year ago.
Clark, a three-time state champion who signed with Purdue, won a hard-fought match at 138 pounds over St. Francis junior Tyson Charmoli, 5-2. Clark controlled the early part of the match, picking up a takedown in the first period and riding out Charmoli for the remainder of the period. He went up 3-0 in the second period after an escape. Charmoli then put himself right back in the match with a takedown. Clark would add a late takedown to win by three.
Hanson, who will be headed to Stanford next year, looked strong in beating New Prague's Colton Bornholdt 10-2 in the finals at 152 pounds. The Lakeville North senior controlled the match the entire way and secured the major decision with a late takedown.
Glazier, a local favorite, earned his title at 170 pounds with a 5-3 win over top-seeded Jed Wester of St. Michael-Albertville.
Homestead's Charlie Millard, a University of Minnesota commit, became the third Wisconsin wrestler to claim a title this year. He cruised to a 12-5 victory over Shakopee's Leo Tukhlynovych in the finals at 160 pounds.
Two-time Super 32 Challenge champion Ryder Rogotzke of Stillwater won the title at 182 pounds by pinning West Bend's Connor Mirasola in a battle of nationally ranked wrestlers. Mirasola picked up two early takedowns and led 4-2 after the first period. Rogotzke escaped in the second period and tied the score at 4-4 after earning a point for stalling. Mirasola came back with his third takedown to go up 6-4 before Rogotzke quicky reached around and used a chin whip to throw the Wisconsin wrestler to his back and secure the pin.
At 126 pounds, Wayzata's Logan Swensen edged Mound Westonka's Jack Nelson 3-2 in a battle of juniors committed to Division I wrestling programs. Swensen, who gave a verbal commitment to South Dakota State, broke a 1-1 tie in the third period with a takedown on the University of Minnesota commit, which proved to be the difference in the match.
Team standings (top 10):
1. Simley 485
2. St. Michael-Albertville 467.5
3. Hastings 430
4. Kaukauna 408
5. New Prague 371.5
6. Eden Prairie 325.5
7. Kasson-Mantorville 318.5
8. Wayzata 307.5
9. Luxemburg-Casco 289.5
10. Stillwater 273.5
220: Gavin Nelson (Simley) dec. Alex Riley (Waconia), 13-9
285: Will Sather (Eden Prairie) dec. Soren Herzog (Simley), 6-4 SV
106: Trey Beissel (Hastings) dec. Lawson Eller (New Prague), 4-3
113: Blake Beissel (Hastings) dec. Michael Olson (Albert Lea Area), 3-1 TB1
120: Ben Bast (West Bend) dec. Brandon Morvari (Simley), 5-2
126: Logan Swensen (Wayzata) dec. Jack Nelson (Mound Westonka), 3-2
132: Landon Robideau (St. Michael-Albertville) tech. fall Bryan Winans (Kaukauna), 16-0
138: Greyson Clark (Kaukauna) dec. Tyson Charmoli (St. Francis), 5-2
145: Koy Buesgens (New Prague) pinned Eli Paulson (Anoka), 4:32
152: Zach Hanson (Lakeville North) maj. dec. Colton Bornholdt (New Prague), 10-2
160: Charlie Millard (Homestead) dec. Leo Tukhlynovych (Shakopee), 12-5
170: Cole Glazier (Kasson-Mantorville) dec. Jed Wester (St. Michael-Albertville), 5-3
182: Ryder Rogotzke (Stillwater) pinned Connor Mirasola (West Bend), 3:23
195: Max McEnelly (Waconia) dec. Cole Mirasola (West Bend), 10-7