The honor was based on points earned during the year, starting with the 1996 Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament.
Hiltner said he was sent a letter telling him he was among the top 10 in the state and requested his presence at the banquet. "I thought I would be in the top three but no idea I would be number one," Hiltner said.
Hiltner received 68.4 points and Isaiah Larson, Hastings, finished second with 59 points. Third place went to Brad Pike, 154 pounds, Hayfield, and fourth to Ben Peak, 114.5 pounds, Mounds View.
"They said it was unusual for two juniors in the same weight class (heavyweight) to claim the top two spots," Hiltner said.
Enroute to winning his title, Hiltner won the state wrestling in the heavyweight class, the state freestyle title at 220 pounds, state Greco-Roman title at 220 pounds, placed first and second at two junior qualifer meets, was sixth at the national Greco-Roman tournament and finished second in the freestyle division at the LaCrosse, Wis. Regional tournament and third in the Greco-Roman class.
Hiltner is the son of Sylvester and Linda Hiltner. He will be seniors at Paynesville this year.
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