Cole Schreder was all smiles Saturday.
The St. Cloud Tech junior 170-pounder went 3-0 in the stacked 22nd Annual Kiffmeyer Duals, no small feat.
Along the way, Schreder picked up his 75th career victory. The grin widened. It was announced after he won 5-3 in overtime over Hastings’ Jon Vouk.
“Actually, it was my 77th,” Schreder said with a grin.
It was a good day to smile for the Tigers, who finished fourth. They upset 11th-ranked Elk River 34-26.
This year’s Kiffmeyer Duals had six teams. Hammond Baptist of Indiana and St. Cloud Apollo both withdrew. Hammond Baptist had weather issues hampering travel, Tech head coach Bob Boeck said. Apollo, hurting for numbers, decided to sit out with Boeck’s permission.
That meant that the six teams remaining were at least an honorable-mention in the state rankings done by The Guillotine, a statewide amateur wrestling media entity.
Tech, which came into the meet 8-1 and listed in the “Lean and Mean” honorable-mention rankings in Class 3A, actually was the lowest-ranked team competing Saturday.
St. Michael-Albertville, ranked second in Class 3A, won the team title for the third year in a row. The Knights beat third-ranked Hastings 48-18 and Foley (No. 8 in 2A) 55-15 in the round-robin format before dismantling Albert Lea (No. 3 in 2A) 47-19 in the championship match.
“We have an experienced team,” St. Michael-Albertville head coach Dan Lefebvre said. “We lost two state champions and a state place-finisher, but we bring a lot of experience back.”
The Knights have 12 wrestlers who competed in national tournaments last summer. Eight of them are state ranked, including senior 182-pounder Jordan Joseph, who transferred three years ago from Kimball.
“It’s a fun group of guys,” Lefebvre said. “They put in the time in the offseason getting stronger. The juniors and seniors are all experienced and strong.”
Hastings beat Tech 50-18 for third place.
Foley knocked off Elk River 31-25 for the consolation championship.
“It was a grind,” Foley head coach Scott Gorecki said. “It’s definite a grinder when you have teams like St. Michael-Albertville, Albert Lea and Hastings competing.
“Those teams are nationally ranked, (St. Michael-Albertville and Hastings) are highly ranked in the state. There were some good lessons for our kids.”
The Falcons fell to Hastings 38-18 in the first round.
Gorecki said his team has three wrestlers out with injuries. It’s a busy week for Foley. The Falcons are host to a triangular at 5 p.m. Tuesday with Sauk Rapids and Dassel-Cokato.
At 7 p.m. Friday, they have a home dual with Granite Ridge Conference foe Little Falls.
The team that area wrestling folks are talking about is Tech. The Tigers are having their best season since Boeck took over as head coach in 2009.
“They’re a really fun group to coach,” Boeck said. “It’s fun to see then guys get better.”
Five seniors are in the starting lineup, including Henry Nistler (138), Joe Klontz (152) and Jacob Johnson (182). Alex Van Heel (152) also has performed well.
Mix them in with talented underclassmen Dallas Hooper (120), Graham Nistler (126), Luke Dorn (132), Austin Brenner (138), Schreder, Tyler Hugg (195) and Micah Mangel (220) and the Tigers have one of their best squads in more than a decade.
“I’ve never seen such a great team here,” said Schreder, who has been wrestling varsity since seventh grade. “I’ve never been part of a team that wins like we have.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Brenner, a freshman, and Johnson are state ranked. Hooper, Dorn, Schreder and Hugg are on the cusp of making the rankings. All have strong won-lost records.
All wrestled tough, good matches Saturday. There were very few easy ones because the field was so strong.
That’s why the Elk River win was big. It demonstrated Tech can wrestle with the best.
“We were pretty pumped up about that one,” Schreder said. “They’re a good team. We went out and wrestled our best, wrestled a real good team.”
Tech went into the tournament coming off perhaps its best showing ever at Foley’s Tom Keating Memorial Tournament last weekend. The Tigers won it. The victory caught Gorecki’s attention.
“Tech has a nice team,” the Foley coach said. “They’ve really wrestled well this year. I’m happy for Bob and his coaching staff.
“They’ve put in a lot of work. They’re solid, really solid.”
And they’re smiling.
First round results:
Hastings 38, Foley 18
St. Cloud Tech 34, Elk River 26
St. Michael-Albertville 48, Hastings 18
Albert Lea 29, Elk River 27
St. Michael-Albertville 55, Foley 15
Albert Lea 36, Tech 20
Foley 31, Elk River 25
Hastings 50, Tech 18
St. Michael-Albertville 47, Albert Lea 19
Follow Tom Elliott on Twitter @sctimestom or call 259-3661.