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Mounds View wrestlers get past Stillwater

Call it a year or call it seven. You can even call it 15 if that suits you.

Whatever the number, the Mounds View wrestling team put all those years of building and working toward a goal they accomplished Friday, beating rival and nemesis Stillwater 32-16 to win the Class 3A, Section 4 team championship and advance to the state team tournament for the first time since 2007.

Beating traditional power Stillwater in the section finals was the No. 1 goal all season for the No. 1, Class 3A Mustangs. They lost to the Ponies in the section finals a year ago in a match many of the players felt they should have won. They admitted to having Stillwater in their sights all year.

"This is what we've been aiming for all season, but really, it's what we've been aiming for for 15 years," said senior 215-pounder Quin Morgan, one of the team captains. "This day has been talked about since I was a little kid in youth club, and it is so amazing to see that it came and it went exactly how we wanted."

Stillwater had been section champs for the last seven years, and the Ponies came out wrestling with every intention to make it eight. They won five of the first six matches, taking a 16-6 lead and keeping the boisterous home crowd on edge.

Mounds View head coach Dan Engebretson has seen his team dominate most of its opponents en route to building a 27-0 record going into the finals. When senior 145-pounder Brady Swenson chalked up a 10-0 victory, cutting the deficit to six points, Engebretson felt his Mustangs were in good shape.

"When Brady beat that guy [Keaton Urbanski] who had beaten him in the section finals last year, I felt like things were going our way," Engebretson said. "And then Apollo Ashby got a pin [at 152 pounds], and we were tied at 16 with five matches to go, and their guy had to win three matches against mine? I felt we were going to take it. It feels great to get the monkey off our backs after losing to them seven years in a row."

Mounds View had defeated Stillwater 39-21 during the regular season, a fact that concerned local wrestling legend Marty Morgan, an assistant coach on the team and Quin's father.

"I always worry about things like that," Marty Morgan said with a slight smile. "And they're the No. 3 team in the state. But, for some reason, this team has been very cool and not nervous all season."