Senior Kevin Kneisl and junior Tucker Sjomeling capped off perfect seasons by winning individual State Championships at the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament on February 27, 2016 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Steven Hajas and Tanner Kroells also competed and earned their first career state tournament wins.
ST. PAUL, MN - February 27, 2016 - The Delano Tigers Wrestling team had four wrestlers compete at the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament, held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Senior Kevin Kneisl and junior Tucker Sjomeling capped off perfect seasons - each winning State Championships and finishing their seasons unblemished with undefeated records. Sophomore Steven Hajas and freshman Tanner Kroells each picked up their first career state tournament wins and gained valuable state tournament experience for their promising future wrestling careers.
Tanner Kroells competed in the 113AA bracket in his first career state tournament appearance. In the first round, Kroells dominated is way to a 10-0 major decision over Marcus Ostvig of Orono. Kroells dropped a nailbiter 3-2 decision to Justin Sampson of Waseca in the quarterfinals. Sampson eventually placed 3rd. In the consolation bracket, Kroells came back with a big win over Jon Hall of Milaca, winning by an 8-2 decision. Kroells needed just one more win to place in the top 6 - but lost his final match to Jared Johnson of Kasson-Mantorville. Kroells finished the season with a record of 32-8.
Tucker Sjomeling was wrestling in his fourth consecutive state tournament and took home his second career state championship. He won a state title in 2013 in the 106AA bracket. In 2014, he did not place and in 2015 he placed 3rd at 113AA. In his first round match he defeated Nic Fite of Fridley by a 11-0 major decision. He matched up with Indi Farris of Bemidji in the quarterfinals and racked up another major decision victory, 10-0. In the semifinals, Sjomeling faced defending state champion, Keaten Schorr of Kasson-Mantorville. In a back-and-forth match, Sjomeling got the win with a 9-8 final score. In the title bout, Sjomeling controlled the match from start to finish and went on to a 10-3 decision over Jackson Stauffacher of Scott West. Sjomeling finished the season with a perfect record of 44-0.
Steven Hajas competed in the 195AA bracket, wrestling in his first career state tournament. In the first round, Hajas faced Erick Lopez from Bloomington Kennendy. After falling behind early, Hajas stormed back and eventually won by an 8-2 score. In the quarterfinals, Hajas lost to the #1 seed, Noah Ryan from Kasson-Mantorville. Ryan went on to win the championship. In the consolation bracket, Hajas lost an extremely close match to Bryce Kallenbach from Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran by a score of 5-4. Hajas finished the season with a record of 30-10.
Kevin Kneisl was competing in his fourth consecutive state tournament. He did not place in his first two appearances in 2013 and 2014. But in 2015 he advanced to the state finals and placed 2nd in the 220AA bracket. In his first round match of 2016, Kneisl faced Alchon Robbs of Bloomington Kennedy. Robbs was able to hang in there for most of the match, but Kneisl eventually wore him out and pinned him in 5:30. In the quarterfinals, Kneisl needed much less time as he faced Nic Putnam of Worthington, and took him down and pinned him in just 1:00. In Kneisl's semifinal bout, he took on Dylan Winegar of Waseca. Once again, Kneisl was too much for his opponent as he turned and pinned Winegar at the 2:36 mark. The championship match opponent was Zach Jakes of Mankato West, who had also pinned all three of his opponents in his path to the finals. After a scoreless first period, Kneisl scored a couple takedowns in the second period and built a 5-1 lead. Early in the third period, Kneisl took Jakes down directly to his back and pinned him in 4:17, completing an amazing state tournament performance by pinning all four opponents. Kneisl finished the season with a perfect 42-0 record, and completed an outstanding high school career with an overall record of 130-36.