“It was like, ‘If they’re ranked No. 1, then we can do it.’ We peaked at the right time. The coaches had us ready and pushed us to the next level. It was special.”
Tougher next time
The ’93 victory goes down as the easiest state title. The ’89 and ’94 victories were difficult. Both years, Foley was considered a co-champion.
The Minnesota State High School League has a rule about not going to a tiebreaker in a final match.
In ’89, the Falcons tied St. James.
“As you can imagine, it was a fun and exciting time,” said Brian Thorsten, a member of that Foley squad. “When we tied, we really didn’t know what the rule was.
“It was like, ‘Now what happens?'”
Both teams were awarded first-place trophies and medals.
“It was a good situation,” said Thorsten, a 1990 graduate who wrestled at 145 and 152 pounds. He still lives in Foley and has coached in the youth program. He owns his own business, Thorsten Financial Services of Foley.
“It would have been better if it was an out-right win. But of course, you never say you tied for the title. You just say you won it.”
It was a lot more difficult in ’94, too. That team was considered the favorite the whole season and was ranked 18th nationally.
“I just remember all the hype we were dealing with,” Gorecki said. “It was a great team.”
The Falcons wound up 23-0 in ’94, tying Canby 25-25 in the championship match. But that was only after Foley tied St. Michael-Albertville 25-25 in the state Class A quarterfinals. The Falcons advanced because of tiebreaker.
Foley beat Frazee 36-19 in the semifinals.
“That St. Michael-Albertville match was wild,” said Winkelman, noting that Foley won more individual matches, 7-6 over the Knights.
Alumni and the coaching staff agree that the foundation is solid and that the tradition should continue even with Freudenberg’s retirement.
He also is retiring as a middle school science teacher.
“Foley has a great tradition,” said Winkelman, who finished second in the state his senior year. “Being a wrestler in Foley is a lot like being a football player in Texas.
“It’s a big deal. You’re one of the guys everybody wanted to hang out with. And with that, came a lot of responsibility. I’m just appreciative of being able to be a part of it.”
Winkelman said he knows that most of the group from ’94 is expected, as is the ’89 and ’93 teams.
Former wrestlers from as far away as Indiana and possibly North Carolina are expected.
“It should be a real good day for Lyle, we hope,” Gorecki said.