Mitchel & Maxwell Petersen

March 07, 2018 06:38 PM

Mitchel & Maxwell Petersen

(ABC 6 News) – In the 2017 Minnesota State Individual Wrestling Tournament, Byron’s Matthew Petersen claimed a state championship—one year later, the Petersen name continues to shine on the mats.


“It was an unbelievable weekend,” Bears head wrestling coach Ryan Radke said. “We just wanted (our two wrestlers) to go up and compete, and they did what they had to do. It put the coaches at ease that they were ready to go.”

Those wrestlers are brothers Mitchel and Maxwell Petersen, who don’t shy away from the fact that there’s a little bit of a sibling rivalry between them.

“We practice together and I beat (Maxwell) up quite a bit,” Mitchel jokes. “We’ll get mad at each other and not want to practice with each other, but we never really fight.”

“(Mitchel) does beat up on me sometimes, but we have good matches,” Matthew added. “Sometimes, we need to get broken up just to be refocused.”

At the Minnesota State Individual Wrestling Tournament this past weekend in St. Paul, the sibling rivalry was put aside, as both Mitchel and Maxwell wrestled for state titles.

Maxwell, an 8th-grader for the Bears, opened the Class AA Individual Championships with a 3-0 decision win over Princeton’s Landon Parent for the 106-pound title—the win his 45th of the season, breaking a Bears’ single-season school wrestling record.

“One thing I remember right before that is when (Maxwell) got a takedown, I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” Mitchel recalled.

“I wanted to push the match, but I kind of let up a little bit, because I didn’t want to go for a throw and mess up,” Maxwell said. “I wanted to show that I was a lot better than him. I expected to be pretty close to the top of the podium, but I never expected to be a state champion.”

Two rounds later, in the 120-pound match-up, after the first two periods, Mitchel, a sophomore, trailed Class AA’s top-seeded Jake Svihel of Totino-Grace, 5-0.

“I just knew that I had to start getting some takedowns and push the pace and keep it intense,” Mitchel said.

In the blink of an eye, Mitchel was able to find some momentum—and suddenly, a 5-0 deficit turned into an 8-5 lead, a lead which Mitchel wouldn’t give up, as he went on to win the match, 8-7.

“He just kept wrestling, kept battling, battling to focus on scoring points,” Radke said. “I’ve coached wrestling for more than 20 years, and it’s one of my favorite matches of all-time.”

Mitchel said his go-to approach and moves are to “do a fake to a snap to a single,” but he was unable to do that—so he adjusted.

“At the end of the match, I found that (Svihel) would leave his head down a little longer and I could just get a nice big blast double in there and bulldog it over,” Mitchel recalls. “The last takedown I got to the back, he tried to do a peak out and I just hopped over with that one and kept in on his back for the near-fall.”

“I knew I couldn’t let off because if I gave a stalling call then another one, there was a lot of time left. I knew that I couldn’t give up a takedown as well or else he’d take the lead, and I had to stay on my offense. When there were 18 seconds left, I just kind of knew I had to block and I would be good. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

“My heart literally stopped at the end of the match, because I thought (Mitchel) was going to get taken down,” Matthew added. “I was screaming during his whole match. I was so proud of Mitchel.”

Byron high school is now home to four Minnesota Individual State Wrestling Champions—older brother Matthew, who’s wrestling at Minnesota State University, Mankato, won the 106-pound title in Class AA in 2017, which means three of four Byron’s individual state champions bears the Petersen name.

“Matt was a (big influence) on Mitchel, and now Mitchel is doing that for Max,” Radke said. “They’re helping each other become better wrestlers, better leaders, better classmates.”

“Matt helped me jump a huge level,” Maxwell said. “It wasn’t the most fun getting beat up on, but he made me better.”

“We’ve worked for it,” Mitchel said. “We’ve worked our whole life going up and doing those extra practices, coming in the morning and getting those extra workouts in, making sure that we’re getting our weight down.”

Moving forward, Maxwell and Mitchel both said they hope to wrestle at a national level and possibly win national championships in wrestling. Mitchel said he plans on competing in the Akron Cadet World Trials later this year—the top-finishers will compete in Europe, while the second-place finishers will go to the Pan-American championships in South America.


Sean Tehan

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