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Eden Prairie senior Will Sather said he felt calm and prepared as his final approached. He had won the heavyweight championship as a sophomore in 2022 but lost in the finals last year.

He said his most important preparation for this season was making sure he was in the proper frame of mind. He seemed to be Saturday, when he returned to the top of the podium with a 5-3 victory over Stillwater senior Cittadino Tuttle in the heavyweight final of the wrestling state championships at Xcel Energy Center.

"For me, it's my mental preparation," Sather said when asked what's the difference this year.

Also a first-team Star Tribune All-Metro football center, Sather said he's looking forward to taking a break before embarking on the next stage of his life. He's off to Princeton, an Ivy League college, where he plans on playing football and wrestling while attending an elite academic institution.

"I know," he nodded with a grin. "I'm going to be really busy."

Avenging a buddy

As if winning a state championship was not exciting enough, Wayzata senior Luke Koehnen was looking to avenge a loss by a close friend when he beat New Prague's Lawson Eller 10-5 to win the 121-pound championship.

Eller, a Class 2A champion at 106 pounds last year, upended Hastings' Blake Beissel in a showcase match in the semifinals. Beissel is a close friend, and Koehnen used his loss for a little extra juice. "He's one of my best friends. I had to have his back," Koehnen said.

Koehnen had lost in disappointing fashion in 2023 and was determined not to let that happen again.

"Last year after heartbreak in the semis, I decided to take things a lot more seriously this year," he said. "All the extra hours paid off. I am so excited right now."

A loss begets a victory

Mounds View junior Brett Swenson said he wasn't pleased with his effort in the Class 3A team finals Thursday, losing to St. Michael-Albertville's Lincoln Robideau. He used Saturday's rematch with Robideau as salve for the lingering irritation. He beat Robideau 5-1 in the 114-pound finals.

"Losing that match got me in the right mindset," he said. "I started watching back my old matches to see what worked."

Swenson attacked early in the match, confident he could stop Robideau's counter-attacks.

While it doesn't soothe all the disappointment he felt after losing the team finals. Swenson said it still felt pretty darn good.

"It's awesome. It's everything I worked for," he said.

Winning with grace

Tegan Sherk loves to compete and be on the winning end, but the St. Francis senior prefers to win with humility and refuses to celebrate excessively after a victory. He beat Chase Mills of St. Michael-Albertville 5-1 to win the 127-pound championship.

He didn't flex, he didn't run screaming after he won. "Just smiling. A lot of smiling," Sherk said. "I don't like to put on a face when I win. I know what it's like to lose and it hurts."

No big ostentatious displays, perhaps, but inside, Sherk was thrilled

"Dreams do come true," he said.

More 3A winners

Three St. Michael-Albertville wrestlers won state championships: Landon Robideau at 152 pounds, Jed Wester at 172 and John Murphy at 189.

Mounds View's Quin Morgan capped a perfect season, beating Ben Schultz of Maple Grove 8-0 in the 215-pound championship match to finish 50-0.

Prior Lake's Liam Collins won at 107 pounds, Farmington's Davis Parrow won at 139 pounds, Woodbury's Alex Braun won again, this time at 145 pounds, and Eden Prairie's Terae Dunn pulled out a 3-1 sudden-victory to win at 160.