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Warriors Athlete of Week: Brainerd wrestler capitalizes on opportunities

Brainerd’s Chad Orsburn (right) faces off against Pierz’s Brandon Funk during the Paul Bunyan Wrestling Tournament earlier in the season. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch

Chad Orsburn

Sport: Wrestling

Weight: 113 pounds

Year: Junior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-2

Career highlight: Finishing fifth in Class 3A state tournament last weekend

Other sports: Baseball

Grade-point average: 2.5

Favorite class: Environmental science

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite movie: "Breakfast Club"

Favorite TV show: "Lost"

Favorite website:

Favorite app: Snapchat

Favorite video game: Destiny

Future plans: Attend college

Favorite wrestler: Jake Clark of Takedown Gym

Parents: Angie and Chad Orsburn

When he's wrestling, Chad Orsburn doesn't wear a retainer. With a tooth missing, he looks a bit intimidating.

An intimidating look can be an edge for a wrestler. Whether or not that was a factor in any of Orsburn's matches this season, he took advantage of most opponents anyway.

The Brainerd Warrior junior finished his first complete varsity season with a 34-4 record and a fifth-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament at 113 pounds. He entered the state tournament ranked eighth in 3A and was seeded fourth at state.

"To go down there and have that experience, and compete that well, is great for a first state tournament," Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran said. "He's wrestled big tournaments before so I don't think he was intimidated by the tournament itself.

"The other thing about being at the state tournament for the first time is you learn a lot about the type of wrestlers you're going to wrestle down there. Even though sometimes you're not always successful down there, if you can get that experience and learn from it, it will help you down the road, especially being a junior and coming back next year."

At state, Orsburn opened with a 17-5 major decision over Zach Wallace of Minnetonka. In the state quarterfinals, he registered an 18-12 decision over Roman Rogotzke of East Ridge.

"He tried to do a lot of big moves so I had to be more defensive for a lot of that match," Orsburn said.

In the semifinals, he ran into top-ranked and top-seeded Aaron Cashman of Shakopee, who scored a 16-2 major decision over Orsburn and went on to win the state title. Cashman is also ranked No. 1 in the nation at his weight.

That loss dropped Orsburn into the consolation semifinals where he lost 13-6 to Adam Mickelson of Apple Valley.

"I think he would admit that one was a match he would like to have back," Boran said. "The match against the guy from Apple Valley was one where we were right there, but it didn't work out for us."

Orsburn agreed.

"It was close," he said. "It was tied up at the end of the third period and I thought I was losing, but there was like 10 seconds left. I tried to throw him and I went to my back."

Orsburn finished with a fall in 3:54 against Mounds View's Mitch Engebretson.

In the Section 8-3A tournament, Orsburn entered as the No. 1 seed and took care of business. Following an opening-round bye, he decisioned Jonas Anez of Willmar 11-5 in the semifinals. That set up a championship match against fifth-ranked Jackson Penk of Sartell, whom Orsburn pinned at 5:16.

"He took me down right away, then he rode me out for a while," Orsburn said. "I got an escape at the end of the period so it was 2-1. In the second period, I deferred and he took down. He got a reversal on me and it was 4-1. I eventually got an escape so it was 4-2.

"In the third period, I chose down and got away so it was 4-3. Then I let him up so it was 5-3 and I took him down, did a gator roll and pinned him."

Boran said Orsburn and Penk entered the section final with two losses apiece.

"At the end of the match, (Orsburn) caught him on his back and pinned him," Boran said. "It was a close match up to that point. Penk was third in the state tournament and we beat him in the section final and he placed ahead of us in the state tournament. You can imagine how strong that weight class was for our section."

This was Orsburn's first full varsity season. As a sophomore, he suffered a broken leg at the season-opening Blue Earth Tournament and missed the remainder of the season.

"We've known how good he is for a long time because we've seen him for a number of years," Boran said, "but on our team, in our lineup the last couple years, there have been guys with him or ahead of him. Just the competition he has in our room has helped him get stronger as well."

Boran said Orsburn's a talented wrestler because he's quick, fast and explosive.

"He can get in your legs quickly and drive through you," Boran said. "He can also be dangerous in positions where he can catch you and throw you to your back. He's compact and real powerful."

As he has in past offseasons, Orsburn, who won Brainerd's Paul Bunyan Invite in December, will wrestle freestyle and Greco-Roman and continue working out with Jake Clark at Takedown Gym on Highway 371.

"I'm hoping to go up in weight," Orsburn said, "and hopefully go back to the state tournament and do better than I did this year."

Other notable efforts:

• Michael Russell, boys basketball, scored 27 points vs. Rogers.