Notebook: AV wrestlers win Christmas tourney

Apple Valley, ranked first in Class 3A wrestling and as high as fourth nationally, had three individual champions and won the team title at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament on Dec. 20-21 in Rochester.

Farmington, wrestling in the event for the first time, finished 15th of 33 teams.

Apple Valley’s Seth Gross pinned Luke Rowh of Hastings in 1 minute, 10 seconds in the championship match at 138 pounds. Dayton Racer beat Simley’s Mack Short 6-4 in overtime in the 152-pound final. Mark Hall won the 170-pound title, beating Luke Norland of Jackson County Central 11-2.

Kyle Rathman (106), Gannon Volk (126), Bobby Steveson (182) and Paul Cheney (220) were runners-up in their weight classes. Cheney lost 4-2 to Prior Lake’s Alex Hart in a rematch of an early December bout won by Cheney. Cheney and Hart are ranked first and second at 220 in Class 3A, and their only losses are to each other.

Apple Valley scored 292.5 points to run away with the team title. West Fargo (N.D.) was second with 179, with Prior Lake third at 169.

Farmington’s top finisher was Jamin LeDuc, who finished second at 106. His loss in the championship match is his only defeat of the season after starting with 10 consecutive victories.

The Tigers’ Matt Rustad finished fifth at 132. Taylor Venz, a state champion at 106 last season, placed sixth at 126 in the Christmas Tournament.

Lightning moving up?

Eastview is not ranked in the top 12 in Class 3A wrestling – yet. That might change after the Lightning defeated a couple of ranked teams last week.

The Lightning edged No. 7 Shakopee 37-36 on Dec. 19, then beat Lakeville North 35-33 in its final match at the Richfield Duals on Dec. 21. Eastview, 11-2 overall, went 3-0 at the Richfield tournament.

Luke Dodd (170 pounds) had five victories on the week to improve his record to 10-1. Nick Pegelow remained undefeated (11-0) at 195 after winning four matches. George Farmah, ranked sixth in Class 3A at 132 pounds, had a victory over Lakeville North’s Colin DeGrammont, who is No. 6 at 126.

Still No. 1

Eastview held the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A girls basketball into the holiday break after beating fourth-ranked Lakeville North 57-38 on Dec. 20.

The Lightning is 6-0 despite having played only one home game. Eastview’s next six games are on the road; the Lightning won’t play again on its home court until Jan. 16 against Bloomington Kennedy. The schedule balances out in the second half of the season, when the Lightning plays eight of its final 10 regular-season games at home.

Eastview outscored North 35-20 in the second half of last week’s South Suburban Conference game. Kari Opatz had 14 points and Madison Guebert 12 to lead Eastview. Sarah Krynski scored 15 for Lakeville North.

Eastview and Lakeville North will play in a holiday tournament at St. Olaf College starting Friday, although the South Suburban Conference rivals are not scheduled to play each other.

Bison power

Athletes from local schools are playing key roles for the North Dakota State University team that will seek a third consecutive Football Championship Subdivision title Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.

NDSU (14-0) will play Towson State of Maryland for the championship in what was formerly known as Division I-AA.

Rosemount High School alumnus and 2009 Mr. Football award winner Zach Vraa leads the Bison in receptions (61) and receiving yardage (1,140). He caught a 50-yard touchdown pass in the Bison’s 52-14 victory over New Hampshire in a semifinal game Dec. 20.

Burnsville High School graduate C.J. Smith has started all 14 games at cornerback this season and has 38 tackles and two interceptions.

Sophomore offensive lineman and Eastview graduate Zack Johnson is a starter for the Bison and was named Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week in November.