Simley was focused after the loss with impressive victories over Owatonna (26-15) and Apple Valley (30-18) at the Eagle-Irish Invitational. The Region Tournament may have been even more impressive as Simley scored a 52-2 victory in the semi-finals over St. Paul Johnson and a 57-0 victory in the finals over St. Paul Humboldt.
The Spartans turned their focus to the St. Paul Civic Center and the Team Championships. With nine wrestlers qualified for the individual tournament Simley was in for an exciting weekend. The first round match-up with Osseo would prove to be interesting. Making his State Tournament debut Mike Ahern got of to a tough start by giving up a pin. The next two matches would both end in a tie as Chris Boys wrestled to a 7-7 score followed by an even more surprising 0-0 tie for Wade Short at 112 pounds. Rick Spychalla got Simley their first victory of the night by beating Dan Lentz 10-3. Scott Stowell knotted the team score at 10 with an impressive victory at 126 pounds.
Facing the Spartans at 132 pounds was Osseo's returning State Champion in Darren Droegemueller. Doug Bergman was sent out with the daunting task of giving up ten pounds to wrestle a State Champion. After scoring the first takedown, Bergman leading 2-0 was about to find out what State Champions are made of. The pin came shortly thereafter. Bill Thurmes wrestling up at 138 pounds managed the third draw of the dual meet with a score of 3-3 against Erik VanKuren. Simley was now ready for a run. The team score was close, but it wouldn't be for long.
Will Short scored a big win for the Spartans as he beat Jim Gill 12-3, followed by consecutive technical falls by Kevin Ahern and Dan Harrison. The match was put away with a 12-6 victory by Brady Harrison at 185 pounds. The final score was Simley 31-Osseo 21.
The semi-final dual meet with Little Falls would prove to be a one-sided mismatch. Simley cruised to a 43-9 drubbing and would be ready to defend their title in the championship match. Highlighting the lopsided win over Little Falls were Mike Ahern's pin at 98 pounds, Rick Spychalla's pin at 119 pounds, Will Short's technical fall at 138 pounds, and Brady Harrison's Technical Fall at 185 pounds.
Simley was going to have to beat Apple Valley to become back-to-back champions. The Eagles were 24-2 on the season going into the finals and would present a difficult task for the Spartans if they could build a lead in the lower weights. Any Simley victory in the first six weight classes would make it very difficult for Valley.
Mike Ahern almost gave Jim Short what he was looking for. Unfortunately a late score by Joey Vennewitz would tilt the final in his favor 7-6. Wade Short followed with a close loss to Butch Livingston. The match up at 112 pounds was one that Jim Short liked. Cory Nelson scored three key takedowns in the third period to upend the Eagle wrestler, and Simley was on the board. Rick Spychalla lost a tough match to Apple Valley's State Champion Tim Duren 7-3. Scott Stowell narrowly lost to Pat Bloomquist at 126 pounds, and Simley was behind 12-3
Bill Thurmes drew Chad Demeray at 132 pounds. Three weeks prior to the State Tournament Demeray had beaten Thurmes 12-2. With a granby roll and a lot of riding time Thurmes pulled out a 7-5 win setting the table with a second victory in the first six weight classes. Will Short tied the team score with a pin, and Simley was about to put the dual meet away.
Kevin Ahern dominated Bobby Green for a 10-0 win followed by Brady Harrison's pin at 167 pounds. These two wins put Simley up 26-12 with two weight classes left. The back-to-back championship was sealed. Mike Bergum scored a big victory at Heavyweight for the Spartans. Bergum weighing in at the minimum for Heavyweight was wrestling Lance Olberding who happened to weigh in near the maximum for the weight class. Several firemen's carries later and Bergum walked out with a 16-11 win for the Spartans. The final score was Simley 31-Apple Valley 14.
The 1987-1988 Simley Wrestling Team was ranked #1 in Minnesota for the entire season. The #3 national ranking also held throughout the year. Five seniors (Kevin Ahern, Brady Harrison, Doug Bergman, Scott Stowell, and Mike Bergum) graduated from the squad leaving Simley a strong foundation with seven returning State Entrants including two returning Individual State Champions. The three-peat possibility would be waiting for the Spartans next winter.
Simley Spartans 1988 State Championship Team:
98 - Mike Ahern (State Qualifier)
105 - Wade Short (State Qualifier)
105 - Chris Boys
112 - Cory Nelson (State Qualifier)
119 - Rick Spychalla (State Qualifier)
119 - Doug Bergman
126 - Scott Stowell
132 - Bill Thurmes
138 - Will Short (State Champion)
145 - Kevin Ahern (2nd Place)
155 - Dan Harrison (State Champion)
155 - Pat Albrecht
167 - Brady Harrison (4th Place)
185 - Tug Durdin (State Qualifier)
HWT - Mike Bergum