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Warriors 8, Anoka 4 The key: Brainerd burst to a 6-0 lead in state championship game Overall: State champion Warriors finish 15-0 Jake Heikkenen flicked in four goals and Cody Vleck recorded 21 saves as the Brainerd Warriors captured the PI Division state championship Saturday with an 8-4 victory over Anoka-Hennepin at Bloomington Jefferson High School. The Warriors cruised to their first state championship since 2000 and the third in the program's 22-year history. Heikkenen, Zachary Denny and Vleck were named to the all-tournament team.
For the first time in the program's 22-year history, the Brainerd Warriors enter the adapted floor hockey state tournament with an unblemished record. The Northern Division's top-seeded and unbeaten Warriors (12-0) open in the state quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday against South No. 4 Mounds View/Irondale/Robbinsdale at Bloomington Jefferson High School. Brainerd beat MVIR 9-3 and 6-1 during the regular season.
Nevis 41, Verndale 37 The key: Nevis outscored Verndale 3-0 in the game's final 3:51 Overall: Verndale finishes 21-7, Nevis 27-1 Next: No. 1 Nevis vs. Browerville/Kimball winner for Section 5-1A championship site TBA 7 p.m. Friday. PEQUOT LAKES—When Verndale and Nevis met during the regular season, the Tigers scratched the Pirates by 27 points in a virtual track meet.
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: 6PM.com Favorite app: Snapchat Favorite video game: Destiny Future plans: Attend college Favorite wrestler: Jake Clark of Takedown Gym
ROGERS—With 8:21 remaining, the Brainerd Warriors seized a 57-56 lead along with momentum against the Rogers Royals in the quarterfinals of the Section 8-4A tournament. But third-seeded Rogers recovered and took control of the game as they outscored Brainerd 23-10 the rest of the way en route to a 79-67 victory Tuesday. The Royals almost couldn't miss from the field, shooting 55 percent (26 of 47). They were even deadlier at the foul line (20 of 25) as they advanced to the section semifinals and ended sixth-seeded Brainerd's season.
After finishing second in the Class 1A state tournament in 2016, Staples-Motley's Alex Erpelding was attempting to make the most difficult of all improvements—finish one place higher—this winter. The Cardinals' senior delivered in Saturday's 170-pound final at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul as he beat sixth-ranked Jeremiah Colon of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 10-4 to capture his championship.
Jim Russell's life story might be playing at a theatre near you someday. A native of Vietnam, Russell spent the first nine years of his life in a country ravaged by war. He was born a twin to a single mother who couldn't afford two children so she gave him up for adoption. At the age of 5, he was taught to carry a gun to protect his family.
Both Brainerd Warrior relays slipped a few places Saturday in the consolation finals of the Class 2A state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. The 200 medley relay of Preston Owen, Michael Bylander, Gunnar Niemeyer and Griffin Blegen finished 14th at 1:38.76. They were ninth in Friday's prelims at 1:37.37.
Brainerd Warrior Chad Orsburn bettered his ranking in the finals of the Class 3A individual state tournament Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The eighth-ranked junior 113-pounder attained a fifth-place finish with a fall at 3:54 over Mitch Engebretson of Mounds View. He finished 37-6. Earlier Saturday, Orsburn lost by a 16-2 major decision in the semifinals to top-ranked Aaron Cashman of Shakopee.
ST. PAUL—Before the Class 1A state team tournament, Pierz Pioneers coach Mark Jensen thought almost every team was capable of winning the title. That team turned out to be the fourth-ranked and fourth-seeded Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars, who defeated the top-ranked and second-seeded Pioneers 35-16 for the state championship Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center. Pierz won just four matches in suffering only its second defeat in 36 dual meets this season.