ST. PAUL -- If Matt Nagel, Marcus LeVesseur and Ty Eustice win their final state high-school wrestling titles Saturday, they will leave Minnesotans with this thought:
There has never been a trio like this before, at least not in this state.
Frazee's Nagel is pursuing an unprecedented fifth title. LeVesseur, who wrestles for Bloomington Kennedy, and Eustice, of Blue Earth Area, each are going after their fourth titles, creating a rare confluence of multi-year champions.
"That's probably never happened before -- in no state in the country, ever," said Jack Eustice, Ty's coach and father.
Minnesota has only six four-year champions in its history, including Nagel. There have never before been even two four-year titlists crowned in a single season.
Throw in Apple Valley, which is seeking its third straight Class AAA team title and its fourth in five seasons, and the theme of this season's tournament is sustained dominance.
Nagel and LeVesseur and Eustice have been bumping into each other at wrestling tournaments since they were children, though they have been separated by the size of their schools if not the size of their bodies.
Eustice, a 145-pounder, is going after a Class AA title. Nagel and LeVesseur both wrestle at 152, though Nagel is in Class A and LeVesseur in Class AAA. According to one Web site, intermatwrestling.com, all three are among the nation's top 25 recruits. LeVesseur ranked second, Nagel sixth and Eustice 24th.
Nagel and LeVesseur, who both are headed for the University of Minnesota, finally met in a Christmas tournament, with LeVesseur prevailing 4-2. LeVesseur went on to break state records with his 130th consecutive and 211th career victory. LeVesseur, who transferred to Kennedy from Minneapolis Roosevelt, hasn't lost since his freshman season.
Eustice, who will join his brother Luke at Iowa, has more than 800 career takedowns, a state record. He has never missed a practice or meet in six years, a Blue Earth Area record.
"I'm proud of his effort and desire," Jack Eustice said.
Nagel and Eustice both won 103-pound titles as eighth-graders. That isn't uncommon, but few wrestlers are able to move up in weight as freshmen and still dominate. Nagel, who has been wrestling in tournaments since he was 4, won his second title as a freshman 125-pounder.
"That was the key match," said Clay Nagel, Matt's father and coach. "He was a young guy then going up against underclassmen. That's when Matt realized he had a chance at five state titles."
Top-ranked Apple Valley eliminated No. 2 Kennedy from the team race with a 34-21 victory for the Section 6 title. Third-ranked Anoka, which lost 31-22 to the Eagles earlier in the season, is up next in Thursday's Class AAA quarterfinals.
The Eagles, 37-1, are appearing in a record 19th consecutive state tournament, breaking the record set by Canby from 1975-92. They have won 86 duals in a row over Minnesota schools, last losing to Hastings in the 1998 state semifinals. Their only loss this season was to Lewis Central of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
No. 4 Centennial and No. 5 Owatonna meet in another key Class AAA quarterfinal matchup.
St. Michael-Albertville, the top-ranked Class AA team, has head-to-head victories over No. 3 Dassel-Cokato, 25-22, and No. 4 Blue Earth, 27-20. Dassel-Cokato meets No. 2 Wadena-Deer Creek in Thursday's quarterfinals.
In Class A, favored Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale meets No. 4 Adrian in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Frazee opens against No. 3 St. James.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.