The Shakopee wrestling team is under new leadership but so far is getting familiar results.
The No. 2-ranked Sabers opened the season Jan. 14 dominating the Apple Valley triangular, pinning the host Eagles 64-10 and rolling over Edina 77-6.
Shakopee won its own triangular the next day with a 37-30 win over No. 3. St. Michael-Albertville and 46-23 victory over No. 4 Wayzata.
Not a bad a start for first-year coach Marcus LeVessuer, who took over the program from Jim Jackson this past fall. Jackson stepped down after five seasons leading the program, including winning the last two Class 3A state titles.
LeVessuer, a four-time state champion in high school at Minneapolis Roosevelt and a four-time NCAA Division III champion for Augsburg College, has been assistant coach under Jackson the last four years.
Will the Sabers get a chance for a third straight state team title? Shakopee’s season runs through March 6 when it ends the regular season in a dual at Minnetonka.
The Section 2AAA team tournament follows. The Sabers have won the last three crowns.
The Minnesota State High School League will decide Feb. 4 in a board of directors meeting whether there will be state competitions for winter sports due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There were none for fall sports.
Shakopee has dominated the South Suburban Conference the last four years, going 9-0 each season. Its win over Apple Valley was the Sabers’ 41st straight league dual win.
Shakopee was unbeaten in duals last year (41-0) en route to the state title crown and there’s plenty of talent back, including senior Blake West who won the 113-pound state title last year and finished the season with a 51-1 record.
West is ranked No. 1 in the state at that weight in The Guillotine’s latest rankings. He’s one of five Sabers ranked, including senior Sam Treml (No. 9, 160), senior Joey Johnson (No. 3, 195), senior Tommy Johnson (No. 2, 220) and junior Jade Trelstad (No. 3, heavyweight).
Joey Johnson was third at state last year at 195 pounds ending the season with a 53-5 mark. Tommy Johnson had a 43-5 record taking third at 220 pounds. Trelstad competed at state at heavyweight, but lost his only match ending with a 31-12 mark.
Treml had 32 wins last year, taking third at 152 pounds in the Section 2AAA individual tourney. The top-two finishers from each weight class make the state field.
Stillwater is ranked No. 1 in the team poll to open this season. Shakopee beat the Ponies 34-21 in last year’s state title match.
In beating Apple Valley, Shakopee earned nine wins by fall — West at 113, ninth-grader Connor Warren at 120, sophomore Leo Tukhlynovych at 132, senior Seth Bakken at 138, senior John Kroll at 145, senior DJ Smith at 182, Joey Johnson at 195, Trelstad at 220 and Tommy Johnson at heavyweight.
Sophomore AJ Smith won by injury default for the Sabers at 126, while Treml earned a 9-1 decision at 160.
Against Edina, wins by fall for Shakopee came from eighth-grader Kyle Linville at 106, Kroll at 145, senior Alex Gonzales at 160, Treml at 170, junior Cole Sutrick at 182, sophomore Jadon Hellerud at 195 and Trelstad at heavyweight.
Other wins included West at 113 (forfeit), Warren at 120 (forfeit), Tukhlynovych at 132 (technical fall), Bakken at 138 (forfeit), junior Riley Quern at 152 (forfeit) and Tommy Johnson at 220 (forfeit).
Against St. Michael-Albertville, the Sabers won the final six matches, including the last three by fall, to pull out the win.
The Knights led 30-9 after 152 pounds, before Shakopee came back. Quern won by major decision at 160 (12-2), followed by Treml’s 3-2 decision at 170.
DJ Smith earned a 10-3 victory at 182 for Shakopee, before Joey Johnson, Tommy Johnson and Trelstad each won by fall in the final three weights to seal the win.
In beating Wayzata, the Sabers picked up four wins by fall — West at 113, DJ Smith at 182, Joey Johnson at 195 and Tommy Johnson at 220.
Other wins went to Warren at 120 (6-0), Tukhlynovych at 132 (10-2), Kroll at 145 (3-1), senior Christian Fielder at 160 (forfeit) and Trelstad at heavyweight (forfeit).