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Phil Levine: Levine finishes as all-American

When Rosemount senior Phil Levine placed second at the Minnesota State High School League wrestling tournament last month, it was a fitting way to cap a stellar career for the Irish.

But, Levine wasn't done.

Levine participated in the NHSCA National High School Wrestling Championships held March 31 to April 5 in Virginia Beach, Va.

Levine finished the tournament 3-2 to place fifth at 103 pounds, earning all-American honors.

"I wasn't really sure what to expect," Levine said. "It was some hard competition. That was pretty much it. I just wanted to go in and work and see how it turned out.

"I always hope to do better. But, I didn't really expect much. I didn't have high hopes. There were some really good guys there. It was a really good feeling, especially seeing how everyone else from Minnesota did and how I compared to them."

Levine traveled to Virginia with Team Minnesota. Eight Minnesotans earned all-American status, and two two were individual champions.

As a team, Minnesota placed 10th.

Levine started the tournament with an 11-0 major victory. He followed with another victory in a 5-4 decision.

Then things got a bit tougher for Levine. He dropped a 17-9 major decision and a 4-0 decision. But he came back to win 14-1 in a major decision to place fifth.

"It's pretty crazy just to know I was there wrestling with the best guys in the nation, and actually be able to compete," Levine said.

Levine is the first Irish wrestler to earn all-American honors since Henry Gerten in 1993.

"It is pretty significant," Rosemount wrestling coach Brett Larson said. "It's a pretty elite group."

Levine plans to wrestle in college, although he hasn't made any decision on where he will attend.