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Minto once again state champ on the mat
March 9, 2018

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Despite having to go up four weight classes this season, that didn't stop Christian Minto from once again proving himself as the best wrestler in the state.

Minto, a junior at Mariner High School, won his second state championship in the 160-pound weight class last week in the Class 2A state meet in Kissimmee, defeating Miguel Hernandez of Lake Gibson in the finals to cap a perfect season.

Minto said it was his focus and drive that helped him to the top again.

"It was rough this season, but it was also fun. I knew I had to stay focused," Minto said. "Hard work and focus is what it takes."

Minto has wrestled since he was in the fourth grade. His brother, Basil, was a two-time state qualifier at Mariner who finished fourth twice and went on to wrestle in college at Northern Iowa.

"I don't get to see him very much, but I got to wrestle him over the summer," Minto said.

It was pretty obvious from the beginning he would have no trouble following in his footsteps. As a freshman he went 49-3 in the 126-pound weight class and finished third in the state.

Last season, Minto went up to 132 pounds and became the first Mariner wrestler since Mason Maher in 2007 to win a state title, finishing with a 41-2 record.

But then came a growth spurt, and it wasn't really known where Minto would wind up exactly.

"He was like his brother genetically. He just grew. We were going to wrestle him at 145 and he starting growing," said coach Dave Phillips. "We wrestled him at 152 over Christmas and he just kept growing. He got up to 170 pounds."

They decided he would wrestle at 160 after working off the Christmas weight. They have an allowance of two pounds after Christmas, and it wasn't much for him to get to 162, Phillips said.

"Coach had me in the weight room most of the year. It was a struggle wrestling much bigger guys, but I got used to it. I knew I had to lift and stay focused," Minto said. "I got a feel for everyone I wrestled this year."

So much so he ended the season at 49-0, just one win short of the single-season school record set by his brother.

"He's very focused. When he wants to do something, he works hard and trains hard. He does what you tell him and trusts the coaches," Phillips said. "He's a solid kid. He's quick, aggressive and strong. He has it all together."

What happens next year depends on if he has another spurt. Phillips said he can see Minto back at 160 again, but if he comes in at 180 or so, he may end upgoing up another class or two.

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