John's Journal
Linked In Wrestling History: Females At State 3/3/2017
Elissa Reinsma and Emily Shilson do not have a lot in common. Elissa is a small-town girl who attended a tiny high school in rural Minnesota. Emily lives in the Twin Cities and her school is a great big one.

But as of Friday afternoon, they became forever linked in the world of Minnesota high school wrestling. Elissa wrestled for Fulda/Murray County Central at the state tournament in 2009 and 2011, while Emily did the same for Centennial High School on Friday.

There are specific similarities. Reinsma first went to state as a sophomore, which is Shilson’s current grade. Elissa wrestled at 103 pounds and Emily competes at 106 pounds. Elissa did not win a match in her two trips to state in Class 2A, and Emily’s first appearance Friday ended with a 7-4 loss to Sartell-St. Stephen junior Patrick Hesse in the first round in Class 3A. Later in the day, Hesse lost to Regan Schrempp of Apple Valley in the quarterfinals, ending any hope for Emily (pictured here on the right) to compete in the consolation bracket.

“I was extremely nervous and it was so exciting,” Reinsma told me during a phone conversation Friday. “I just wanted to live in that moment forever. It was the best feeling.”

Ellisa, 24, played softball in college, for one year at Augustana in South Dakota before transferring to Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. She graduated last year with a degree in sports management and would like to work as a high school athletic director; she was an intern in the activities office at Marshall High School. She’s living in Fulda (her hometown) and working as a substitute teacher.

It’s not rare for someone to recognize Elissa for her wrestling history.

“It’s been six years and I kind of think maybe people have forgotten,” she said. “But I’ll go somewhere and people will say, ‘Hey, you’re the girl wrestler.’ ”

Emily did not want to be interviewed after losing in the first round Friday, which is something Elissa can relate to.

“I didn’t like it, either,” Reinsma said. “I guess I didn’t like the spotlight on me.”

Emily’s father, Chad, who is an assistant wrestling coach at Centennial, said, “In wrestling, we tell our kids that when it comes down to the individual side of the sport, you have to be very selfish. You have to be able to control your own little environment.”

Once on the mat, Shilson and Hesse had to wait briefly while the two-man officiating crew took a quick bathroom break. Emily got some final instructions from her father while she bounced back and forth like a boxer. After the loss, father hugged daughter in a corridor off the arena floor. He kissed her on the head.

“Leading up to this I told her, ‘This is another match. You go on the mat and you wrestle like you wrestle every other day.’ I’ve been coaching at the state tournament for a long time; it was coaching my daughter at the state tournament. I wasn’t coaching the second girl or the first girl in Triple-A. I tried to de-emphasize that as much as possible. Let everyone else emphasize it, we’re going to de-emphasize it, try to keep everything away from her so she can focus on her.”

Reinsma grew up with three brothers who wrestled, so the sport was a natural fit. The story is similar in the Shilson household. Emily’s brother Tyler is a senior who will wrestle next season at the University of Wisconsin. He advanced through two rounds Friday with victories in the Class 3A 145-pound division.

Emily has wrestled in national and international events for female wrestlers and her goal is to compete in the Olympics.

“2020, 2024, 2028, that’s what she’s focusing on,” Chad said. “And that’s a long time, but there’s a lot of training that has to be done and four years will go very quick.”

Friday’s defeat was a setback, but there is a lot of wrestling in Emily’s future.

“She doesn’t like to lose, whether it’s this match or any other match,” her dad said. “It could be a match in the wrestling room at practice. She doesn’t want to lose. She just goes after it. She attacks everything. Schoolwork, athletics, everything.

“She’ll come back tougher, though. I can guarantee it. She has never had a setback where she doesn’t all of a sudden come back exponentially stronger, tougher, faster, quicker, better. It’s never happened and I don’t expect it to happen this time.”

State Tournament Update

There are 28 past state champions in the field. All of them advanced with two victories Friday and will wrestle in the semifinals on Saturday morning. The winners of those matches will compete for state titles Saturday evening.

Among the returning champions are three wrestlers going for their fourth championships: Garrett Aldrich of Albert Lea at 145 in 2A, Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville at 160 in 2A and Brent Jones of Shakopee at 132 in 3A.

Wrestlers shooting for their third titles are Peyton Robb of Owatonna at 145 in 3A and Gable Steveson of Apple Valley at 285 in 3A.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 499
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 8,707
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
State Wrestling Update3/2/2017
The state wrestling tournament is underway at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul with team competition.

Class 3A Quarterfinals
Anoka 48, Stillwater 13
St. Michael-albertville 34, Willmar 27
Hastings 36, Owatonna 29
Apple Valley 73, Minnetonka 3

Class 2A Quarterfinals
Simley 47, Grand Rapids 16
Scott West 50, Totino-Grace 11
Foley 32, Perham 23
Kasson-Mantorville 64, Worthington 3

Class 1A Quarterfinals
Pierz 44, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 19
West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 30, Pipestone 29
Frazee 33, Sibley East 25
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 31, Kenyon-Wanamingo 23
State Wrestling Update3/2/2017
Class 3A
Quarterfinals

Anoka 48, Stillwater 13
St. Michael-albertville 34, Willmar 27
Hastings 36, Owatonna 29
Apple Valley 73, Minnetonka 3
Semifinals
Anoka 38, St. Michael-Albertville 26
Apple Valley 52, Hastings 12

Class 2A
Quarterfinals

Simley 47, Grand Rapids 16
Scott West 50, Totino-Grace 11
Foley 32, Perham 23
Kasson-Mantorville 64, Worthington 3
Semifinals
Simley 43, Scott West 22
Kasson-Mantorville 54, Foley 7

Class 1A
Quarterfinals

Pierz 44, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 19
West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 30, Pipestone 29
Frazee 33, Sibley East 25
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 31, Kenyon-Wanamingo 23
Semifinals
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 32, Frazee 25
Pierz 35, West Central 21
Pierz Coach Ready To Step Aside For A Second Time 3/2/2017
Thursday wasn’t the end for Mark Jensen. But it might have been the beginning of the end or maybe the middle of the end for a wrestling coach who has improved the lives of countless numbers of young people.

Jensen is the head coach at Pierz, which finished as the Class 1A team state runner-up Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. The Pioneers defeated Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 44-19 in the quarterfinals and West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 35-21 in the semifinals before falling to Zumbrota-Mazeppa 35-16 in the championship round.

As always, Jensen is one of the best-dressed coaches at the state tourney. Thursday he wore black slacks, gray sport coat, white shirt and maroon tie. The day was his final one coaching the Pierz team, but nine Pioneers will compete Friday and Saturday in the individual portion of the tournament. So the end of the end will come Saturday.

“I thought the kids wrestled well throughout the tournament and I’m proud of them,” he said.

Thursday’s matches gave Jensen a career record of 379-112-2 over 20 years at Pierz. He coached the Pioneers from 1990 to 2006 before stepping down and returned as head coach in 2013.

“This is it for me but I’ve said that before, so who knows?,” he said, joking (I think).

Jensen’s teams won small-school team state championships in 2004 and 2005 and he took nine other teams to state. One of the program’s top wrestlers was Clint Poster, a six-time letterwinner and two-time state champion who went on to wrestle at St. Cloud State. Poster, now a Pierz assistant coach, said the following about Jensen:

“He’s a great role model. I had him in seventh grade and the things he taught me then have really stuck with me, things you can use in your everyday life; how to be a good person, a respectful person, a hard worker. He’s still doing that today. He’s well-respected and he knows his wrestling, too.”

Having stepped away from the job once before, Jensen knows what will change as well as what he will miss.

“I’ll miss the camaraderie of coaching kids, guiding them,” he said. “Wrestling is one of the toughest sports there is because of the sacrifice you give. I’ll miss the peer support that I’ve had from the community and the school. It’s just been phenomenal.

“It’s time for me to hand it over to somebody new. It’s a young man’s game and that’s where I’m at in my life.”

Class 1A

Zumbrota-Mazeppa advanced to the final against Pierz by beating Kenyon-Wanamingo 31-23 and Frazee 32-25.

Class 2A

Kasson-Mantorville rolled to rolled to its second consecutive state title with a 45-18 victory over Simley in the championship match. The Komets earlier defeated Worthington 64-3 and Foley 54-7.

Class 3A

Apple Valley captured its 12th consecutive state title, defeating Anoka 30-25 in the final. The Eagles beat Minnetonka 73-3 in the first round and Hastings 52-12 in the semifinals.

Coming Up

The individual portion of the tournament begins Friday morning in all three classes. Championship quarterfinals will be contested Friday afternoon, with consolation rounds, semifinals and championship matches held on Saturday.

Class 3A
Quarterfinals

Anoka 48, Stillwater 13
St. Michael-Albertville 34, Willmar 27
Hastings 36, Owatonna 29
Apple Valley 73, Minnetonka 3
Semifinals
Anoka 38, St. Michael-Albertville 26
Apple Valley 52, Hastings 12
Fifth Place
Owatonna 30, Willmar 29
Third Place
St. Michael-Albertville 36, Hastings 33
Championship
Apple Valley 30, Anoka 24

Class 2A
Quarterfinals

Simley 47, Grand Rapids 16
Scott West 50, Totino-Grace 11
Foley 32, Perham 23
Kasson-Mantorville 64, Worthington 3
Semifinals
Simley 43, Scott West 22
Kasson-Mantorville 54, Foley 7
Fifth Place
Perham 60, Grand Rapids 3
Third Place
Scott West 33, Foley 24
Championship
Kasson-Mantorville 45, Simley 18

Class 1A
Quarterfinals

Pierz 44, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 19
West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 30, Pipestone 29
Frazee 33, Sibley East 25
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 31, Kenyon-Wanamingo 23
Semifinals
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 32, Frazee 25
Pierz 35, West Central 21
Fifth Place
Kenyon-Wanamingo 37, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 19
Third Place
Frazee 40, West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 18
Championship
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 35, Pierz 16

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 499
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 8,657
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Class 4A Boys Basketball Rankings3/1/2017
From Minnesota Basketball News.

CLASS 4A
1. Champlin Park 25-0
2. Maple Grove 22-2
3. Apple Valley 23-2
4. Lakeville North 21-2
5. Wayzata 22-3
6. Hopkins 20-5
7. East Ridge 20-5
8. Tartan 23-3
9. New Prague 22-3
10. Robbinsdale Armstrong 18-7
11. Woodbury 18-7
12. Osseo 18-7
13. Park Center 19-6
14. Cretin-Derham Hall 17-8
15. Eden Prairie 14-11
16. Edina 17-8
17. Chaska 20-5
18. Bloomington Jefferson 20-4
19. Rogers 21-4
20. Rochester John Marshall 22-3