John's Journal
Tuffy From Grand Rapids: 56 Years Of State Wrestling3/1/2019
Hardly anybody calls Tuffy Hoard by his given name. The longtime Grand Rapids assistant wrestling coach's real name is Laverne, which is a fine name. But ever since his cousins started calling him Tuffy when he was just a little sprout in Grand Rapids nearly seven decades ago, he has been known as Tuffy.

When the late Skip Nalan, Grand Rapids' Hall of Fame wrestling coach, first laid eyes on Hoard he asked, "Who is that little guy?" The answer: "That's Tuffy."

The name was fitting. Hoard was small, weighing only 75 pounds when he wrestled in the 95-pound division as a ninth-grader in 1963. He was only 90 pounds when he graduated in 1966. But boy, could he wrestle.

Tuffy was the first four-time Region 7 champ, meaning he wrestled at state four times. He finished third at state as a junior and second as a senior.

"When you don't finish first it bugs you," he said this week. "You always remember that one."

The 1963 state tournament was held in St. Peter, the 1964 event in Mankato and in 1965 and 1966 at Williams Arena. The current location, of course, is Xcel Energy Center and Tuffy, 70, is back at state this week, 56 years after his first appearance. Along with Grand Rapids head coach Mike Schauer and fellow assistants Jackson Schauer and Roy Peterson, the Thunderhawks were represented on the mat in Class 2A by three wrestlers: Connor Wakefield at 113 pounds, Kellen Schauer at 145 and Brendin Morian at 152.

Wakefield and Morian were eliminated with opening-round losses Friday but Schauer is one of the favorites, coming to state with a record of 51-0. He pinned Jan Soto-Henderson of Minneapolis Patrick Henry in Friday's opening round and defeated Sean Howk of New Ulm 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Schauer will meet Tucker Gifferson of Hutchinson in Saturday's semifinals, hoping to advance to the championship round Saturday night.

During Tuffy's four years wrestling at state in a single-class tournament, the team champions were Hopkins, Mankato, Cooper and Albert Lea. Grand Rapids has sent teams to state 13 times with 2A runner-up finishes in 1977 and 1987. The Thunderhawks were at the team state tournament in 2017 and 2018 before losing to Mora in this year's Section 7 finals.

"I'm not positive but I believe every year since wrestling started here in 1952 we've probably had individuals in the state tournament every year," Hoard said. "The team has gone for quite a few years, we're always in the running."

After graduating from Grand Rapids High School, Tuffy was drafted and served in Vietnam. Afterwards he returned to his hometown and has never left, working as a carpenter and in construction.

Wrestling was always part of his life, it seems.

"I got the opportunity to help coach and started out at the grade school," he said, "then junior high, then high school, boy probably in the early to middle '80s."

When Grand Rapids activities director Anne Campbell asked Tuffy to sit still last week for a photo (seen above) and a Tweet commemorating his long ties with the state tournament, he said OK but he wouldn't smile because, he told her, "wrestlers don't smile." (Here's a secret: Tuffy smiles a lot.)

"Oh my gosh," Campbell said. "He is the legend of Grand Rapids wrestling. He's been here forever and the kids love him. "He's just unbelievable. He cares about the kids and they love him, they work hard for him. He's a huge asset to our program."

Tournaments Tidbits

Eighteen returning state champions qualified for the 2019 tournament and all 18 advanced through Friday's first two rounds of competition. Semifinals will be held during Saturday's first session, which begins at 9:30 a.m. The final session, featuring fifth-place, third-place and championship matches, will begin at 4 p.m.

Class 1A returning champions

120/ Jeron Matson, Kenyon-Wanamingo
145/ Kyle Cavanaugh, Caledonia/Houston
182/ Jaden Kindopp, Canby
285/ Craig Orlando, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie

Class 2A returning champions
113/ Joey Thompson, Totino-Grace
113/ Maxwell Petersen, Byron
120/ Jaxson Rohman, Fairmont/Martin Co. West
126/ Mitchel Petersen, Byron
160/ Bennett Berge, Kasson-Mantorville
160/ Cade Mueller, Waconia
170/ Isaiah Thompson, Detroit Lakes
182/ Patrick Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville
285/ Daniel Kerkvliet, Simley

Class 3A returning champs
120/ Derrick Cardinal, Forest Lake
126/ Reid Ballantyne, Stiillwater
145/ Cael Carlson, Willmar
182/ Zach Glazier, Albert Lea
182/ Cade King, Owatonna

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Team State Wrestling Champions Crowned2/28/2019
Team State Wrestling Tournament

Class 1A

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove 49, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie 14
Kenyon-Wanamingo 52, Aitkin 18
Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville 30, Goodhue 24
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 42, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 22

Kenyon-Wanamingo 40, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove 20
Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville 31, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 22

Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie 47, Aitkin 27
Goodhue 32, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 21

Fifth-place: Goodhue 38, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie 23
Third-place: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove 38, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 26
Championship: Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville 35, Kenyon-Wanamingo 27

Class 2A
Simley 67, Mahtomedi 9
Waconia 48, Totino-Grace 16
Perham 51, Mora 10
Marshall 34, Foley 25

Simley 47, Waconia 15
Marshall 27, Perham 25

Totino-Grace 35, Mahtomedi 28
Mora 25, Foley 21

Fifth-place: Mora 40, Totino-Grace 30
Third-place: Perham 27, Waconia 24
Championship: Simley 60, Marshall 7

Class 3A
Stillwater 42, East Ridge 17
St. Michael-Albertville 72, Eden Prairie 6
Shakopee 48, Northfield 15
Bemidji 39, Forest Lake 29

Stillwater 29, St. Michael-Albertville 20
Shakopee 40, Bemidji 24

East Ridge 59, Eden Prairie 0
Northfield 32, Forest Lake 31

Fifth-place: Northfield 40, East Ridge 25
Third-place: St. Michael-Albertville 38, Bemidji 24
Championship: Shakopee 35, Stillwater 22
Class 3A Wrestling Rankings2/24/2019
From The Guillotine.

1. Shakopee (2)
2. Stillwater Area (4)
3. St. Michael-Albertville (5)
4. Apple Valley (2)
5. Forest Lake (7)
6. Bemidji (8)
7. Northfield (1)
8. Owatonna (1)
9. New Prague (2)
10. Willmar (8)
11. East Ridge (3)
12. Mounds View (4)
Lean and Mean
Anoka (7), Coon Rapids (7), Hastings (3), Albert Lea Area (1), Blaine (7), Cambridge-Isanti (7), Brainerd/Pillager (8), Sartell-St. Stephen (8)
Class 2A Wrestling Rankings2/24/2019
From The Guillotine.

1. Perham (8)
2. Simley (1)
3. Kasson-Mantorville (1)
4. Waconia (2)
5. Marshall (3)
6. Fairmont/Martin County West (3)
7. Scott West (2)
8. Foley (6)
9. Hutchinson (2)
10. Totino-Grace (5)
11. Mahtomedi (4)
12. Mora (7)
Lean and Mean
Annandale/Maple Lake (6), Becker (6), Big Lake (6), Delano (2), Detroit Lakes (8), Pierz (8), Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1), Princeton (7), Thief River Falls (8), Tri-City United (2), Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran (2), Dassel-Cokato (6)
Class 1A Wrestling Rankings2/24/2019
From The Guillotine.

1. LPGE-Browerville (5)
2. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (3)
3. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (4)
4. Kenyon-Wanamingo (2)
5. Minnewaska Area (5)
6. Goodhue (1)
7. Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (8)
8. Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (6)
9. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (5)
10. Frazee (8)
11. Canby (3)
12. Zumbrota-Mazeppa (1)
Lean and Mean
Minneota (3), Windom/Mountain Lake (3), Caledonia/Houston (1), Aitkin (7), Ottertail Central (6), West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville (6), Chatfield (1), Dover-Eyota (1), Royalton/Upsala (7)