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2016-2017 School Year
2016-2017 Team Photo: Players’ Names were not listed in the 2017 South Yearbook.

Head Coach Dew Gau and his Tiger wrestlers began the defense of their conference title going for their unprecedented 11th consecutive championship. The 2016-17 version of the team may be one of the youngest in school history with only three seniors and four juniors. Seventeen of the wrestlers were under 11th grade.

The Tigers opened their season with a home non-conference triangular meet with Orono and Park Center.  Orono and Park Center wrestled the first match of the night, with Orono winning.  South then took on Orono.  South took an early lead when Daniel Avre was given a walk-over win since Orono had no competitors in the 106 pound class.  Orono tied the score when Brandy Pitts pinned South’s Gideon Cole at the 113 pound weight.  Thomas Thell gave the Tigers a 12-6 lead with his walk-over victory.  At 126 pounds the Tiger’s Micah Reff and Orono’s Jacob Schmid wrestled evenly for the three periods.  After the second period, the score was 0-0.  Schmid earned a one point escape and Reff the scored a takedown giving him a 2-1 win.  The Tigers led 15-6.  Orono won the next two weight classes by walk-over, allowing Orono to take the lead 18-15.  South’s Brian Avre took on Marcus Ostvig.  Again, there was no score after two periods.  Avre scores an escape and takedown to win 3-0 and tie the team score at 18. South’s Matthew Staats and Quinnlan Woodberry both lost to their opponents and Orono took a 25-18 lead.  At 170 pounds, South’s Ricardo Cortes-Bruno pinned Grant Perry in the first period.  Orono hung on to a 25-24 lead.  Orono expanded their lead with a walk-over at 182 pounds and a pin at 185 pounds, 37-24.  Kai Hutchins pinned his opponent at the 220 pound weight in the first period and Thaddaeus Gratton won the heavyweight by walk-over.  South lost by the slimmest margin, 37-36.

In the last match of the night, South and Park Center squared off.  Daniel Avre again led off with a win, defeating his opponent 5-4, giving South a 3-0 lead.  Two pins at the next weights gave Park Center a 12-3 lead.  Micah Reff won by pin fall at the 126 pound class, but South lost the next two weights by walk-over.  Park Center now lead 24-9.  South came storming back with four straight wins.  Brian Avre and Matthew Staats pinned their opponents.  Quinnlan Woodberry and Raunel Garcia both won by walk-over.  South now led 33-24.  Park Center closed the gap to 33-30 with a pin.  The Tigers 195 pounder Tre Thompson pinned his opponent and stretched the lead to 39-33.  Kai Hutchins seals the victory with a 13-5 win.  The most exciting match of the evening was at heavyweight.  Thaddaeus Gratton and Aaron MacMurdo faced off.  The match was tied after the first period at zero.  MacMurdo scored the first point with an escape in the second, and Gratton took him down.  MacMurdo again scored an escape but Gratton again took him down.  Gratton led 4-2 after second period.  The process switched in the third period with Gratton escaping and and MacMudro taking him down.  With the score tied 6-6, Gratton scores the last four points, winning 10-6.  South won 46-30.

South next travelled to Redwood Falls and participated in the Redwood River Riot with 19 other schools.  South finished in 19th place, scoring 15 points.  Kai Hutchins was the highest placing Tiger, finishing sixth in the 220 pound weight class.

Before breaking for the holidays, South participated in the Chanhassen Quad.  Unfortunately for the Tigers, they lost all three matches, falling to Fridley 59-9, then to Winona 48-24, and finally to Chaska/Chanhassen 52-21.

After Winter Break, the Tigers travelled to Hopkins for a tournament. South finished sixth out of 12 teams.  Brian Avre was probably the best South wrestler in the tournament.  He lost in the championship at 132 pounds.  Kai Hutchins finished third in the 195 pound class.  Both Micah Reff (120 pounds) and Tre Thompson (182 pounds) finished fourth.  Fifth place finishers were Matthew Staats (138 pounds), Quinnlan Woodberry (145 pounds), Ricardo Cortes (160 pounds), and Thaddeus Gratten (220 pounds). Antoinne Janssens (106 pounds) finished sixth.

The Tigers returned to the mats in a quad hosted by Southwest.  The Tigers faced Hopkins in a non-conference match, 33-30.  The next two matches were conference contests.  South then had an easy match defeating North 66-0.  South and Southwest faced off in the final match of the evening and the Tigers won 61-20.

South next faced two more conference opponents.  Both matches were relatively easy for the Tigers.  South beat Roosevelt 57-14 and won over Edison 63-10.

South wrestled two non-conference matches.  Mound-Westonka beat the Tigers 43-27.  Annandal/ML won 64-12.

South finished January with two matches against St. Paul schools.  South demolished Humboldt 63-15.  Highland Park also fell 51-20.

The conference title came down to a tri hosted by South against Henry and Washburn.  All three teams Henry and South were undefeated.  Washburn lost one match.  The first match of the nigh pitted Washburn against Henry.  Washburn pulled an upset, winning 56-21.  Henry then faced South.  Three South wrestlers, Daniel Avre, Brian Avre, and Matthew Staats, scored pins, leading the Tigers to a 51-26 victory.  South clinched a tie for the conference title.  The final match, against Washburn, would determine if the Tigers would have to share their 11th consecutive championship.  Washburn won the first match at 106 pounds when South’s Daniel Avre was pinned.  Gideon Cole won the 113 pound match in a walk-over, tying the score.  Thomas Thell pinned his opponent at 120 pounds to give the Tigers a lead.  Micah Reff and Rocket Flahaven and Brian Avre all won by pins.  The Tigers took a 30-6 lead. Henry won the 145 pound class.  Quinnlan Woodberry pinned his opponent.  The Tigers led 36-12.  Ricardo Cordes-Bruno and Tre Thompson both pinned their opponents.  South won 48-33 and took home the conference title for the 11th straight time. 

South took on St. Paul Washington for the Twin City championship.  Washburn won 54-22.

In the final non-conference matches of the season.  South fell four times.  Mankato West fell 62-15.  New Prague beat the Tigers 63-18.  South St. Paul won 71-6.  Minnetonka won 51-25.

South faced Minnetonka in the first round of the Region 6AAA team tournament.  South fell 57-18.

In the Region 6AAA Individual Tournament, senior Matthew Staats (138) finished in third place, the best finish of a Tiger wrestler. Micah Reff (126), and Quinnlan Woodberry (145) both finished fourth. Daniel Avre (106), Thomas Thell (120), Brian Avre (132), Ricardo Cortes-Bruno (160), Tre Thompson (182), and Kai Hutchins (195) all finished fifth. Gideon Cole (113) finished sixth.