Tyler Kohlmeier was one of the most visible wrestlers at the Section 8-3A tournament last weekend at St. Cloud Apollo High School.
His sister made T-shirts for family members, with “Brainerd Warrior Wrestling” and his picture on the front, his last name and weight on the back.
Kohlmeier didn't disappoint his fan club as he captured the 171-pound section championship and advanced to the second state tournament of his senior year Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
In the fall, Kohlmeier was one of the top linebackers for the Warrior football team, which won Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-5A championships and stunned favored Eden Prairie in the state quarterfinals. He finished with 93 tackles as Brainerd reached the Class 5A semifinals against Rosemount, which handed the Warriors their only loss of the season.
“Making it to state (in football), I was pretty pumped up,” Kohlmeier said, “then I rolled right into wrestling and I was excited. I was thinking about the section (tournament) already and going to state. This year has been pretty good to me.”
Seeded first entering the section wrestling tournament, Kohlmeier opened with a technical fall at 4:39 against David Arnold of Willmar.
His semifinal match was a 13-2 major decision against Austin Klaverkamp of St. Cloud Tech, whom he had technical-falled earlier in the season.
In the finals he beat AJ Wheeler of Moorhead 7-1 for the title, an opponent he had beaten 12-2 and 6-0 in the regular season.
Kohlmeier entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and raised his season record to 27-5.
“I thought I had a pretty good shot to advance,” he said. “I knew I had to wrestle well. I knew I was the best wrestler (at 171), I just needed to show it.”
The senior hopes to have a better state experience than last year when he lost his only match at 160. When the wrestler he lost to at state lost his subsequent match, Kohlmeier's season was over.
“Last year I think I was really scared and intimidated,” he said. “This year should be a lot different. I know how things work. Last year I didn't know who I wrestled until that day. This year I know who I'll be wrestling.”
Kohlmeier opens against Nate Schermerhorn of Mound-Westonka, who carries a 28-11 record into the match.
“I really need to win that first match,” Kohlmeier said. “If I win my first match my second will probably be against the No. 1-ranked guy in the state (Jake Waste of Apple Valley), and he's pretty good.
“If I win my first one and wrestle (Waste) we'll see how it goes. If I lose he can carry me on. He won't lose, so I would go on to the wrestlebacks but I've got to win that first match.”
Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran said Kohlmeier has been a consistent wrestler, one who has battled a shoulder injury that forced him to sit out the Elk River tournament and three dual meets.
“He's a tough kid,” Boran said. “Through the year he's taken steps to see how much better he could become.
“Last year he had a great section tournament. He lost his first-round match, came back and wrestled for true second (place) and won. This year he pretty much dominated his weight class.
“He's a kid you root for. He's battled some injuries at the end of the season, but he got himself back and able to go and didn't worry much about it. He was able to keep himself in shape. He did what he could in the wrestling room, making sure he was ready to go in the postseason and had a great section tournament.”
Other notable efforts:
• Mack Glasby, wrestling, won the 145-pound section championship.
• Bradyn Watson and the 200 medley relay of Josh McKeag, Watson, Chase Wickman and Sam Dellacecca, swimming, won section championships.
• Dan Babineau and Nate Adams, wrestling, were section runners-up and qualified for state.
• Britton Murrey, diving, qualified for state by placing third in the section.
• McKeag, Dellacecca and the 400 free relay of Justin Kuglin, Tyler Schneider, Adam Warren and Dellacecca, swimming finished second in the section and qualified for state.
• Brock Saatzer and Tyler Theien, floor hockey, had hat tricks against Maple Grove.
• Emilee Branum, girls basketball, scored 24 points against Little Falls and 20 against Tech.
• Katy Etterman, gymnastics, placed third on bars and fifth in all-around at the Class 2A state meet.
• Wes Blomberg, floor hockey, scored four goals against Mounds View.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.