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THE STATE’S BEST

Three local wrestlers – Rian Grunwald, Charley Elwood and Landen Johnson – all finished the 2021-2022 season by winning state titles at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) state tournament this past weekend.
Headlining the show was Grunwald, who took home the first-ever MSHSL Girls 114-pound title with a 10-2 major decision win over Aitkin’s Madelyn Strohmayer.
Owatonna’s senior captain realized her dream by beating Strohmayer handily in the final match, avenging her loss to Stohmayer in the section finals.
Huskies head coach Derek Johnson said that he and Grunwald went to the drawing board after Grunwald’s section loss to Strohmayer and knew exactly what they needed to work on to win at the state tournament.
On Saturday, the game plan was executed to perfection as Grunwald controlled the match from the opening whistle to take home Owatonna’s first-ever girls state title.
Grunwald was Steele County’s only first-time state champion of the tournament.
Following Grunwald’s performance was Medford’s Elwood, who took home his third MSHSL state title by cruising his way through the 138-pound division.
Elwood left no doubt who was the rightful winner at 138 pounds by beating Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Kelliher’s Christian Pater 15-0 by technical fall.
Elwood mixed a flurry of takedowns and near fall attempts while playing perfect defense to walk back to his corner with one more state title than he came in with.
“It felt really, really good. I’ve been through a lot this year and it felt really good to go out on top the way that I did,” said Elwood.
Elwood was also able to share a special weekend with his brother, Tommy, who placed fifth in the 126-pound division earlier in the tournament.
“It’s awesome. Tommy, you know, I know he’ll do better in these upcoming years. I know it’s not what he wanted today, but he’s got a couple more years. I know he’ll end up on top.”
Rounding out the championship runs on the weekend was Owatonna’s Johnson, who made it back-to-back state titles at 160 pounds with a 10-3 decision win over St. Michael-Albertville’s Jed Wester.
The North Dakota State commit could be seen smiling on the mat as he rolled his way to victory with another clean sweep of the 160-pound division.
Close to joining Grunwald, Elwood and Johnson at the state finals were Medford’s Tate Hermes and NRHEG’s Ralph Roesler and Makota Misgen.
Hermes, Roesler and Misgen all took second in their finals matches, with Misgen narrowly missing out on a state title after losing in sudden-death double overtime.

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