STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) -- Stillwater wrestling has gotten very close the past few years but they're still looking for the program's first ever team state title.
"If they can crack through and do it, they'll be the first and only ever to do it first. So I think they're excited about it," said Stillwater head coach Timothy Hartung.
The Ponies' leader on the mat is fun-loving Hunter Lyden.
"We will occasionally say, 'Hey let's get a little bit more serious,'" said Hartung. "But the fun side that he brings to the sport, and keeping things pretty loose does effect the kids around him in a positive way, especially in these environments."
Lyden is Minnesota's top ranked wrestler at 170 pounds. At this weekend's state tournament he'll be going for his third straight crown.
"Back in 6th, 7th, 8th grade, you're just like 'I wanna be a senior so bad,'" Lyden said. "Now I'm here, and it's like 'holy...' now I wanna go back. It's crazy.
His last state meet could be his healthiest. He was recovering from arm and rib injuries in 2020 and 2021, respectively, and still took the titles. He's undefeated this year.
"Last year was a struggle, but this year is great. I've been doing all the right things, making sure everything is perfect, and I'm healthy and ready to go," Lyden said.
He may be the wrestling room's class clown, but when it's time to compete, he's as confident as they come.
His answer when asked about his odds at state:
"Pretty high. Pretty high. I wouldn't bet against me."
Lyden will wrestle for the University of Minnesota next year.
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