Reese Kapsner is two wins away from a state title.
The Pierz Pioneers senior opened his Class 2A State Individual Wrestling Tournament Friday, March 1, with a 58-second pin of Totino-Grace's Anthony Arens at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The fourth-seeded and fourth-ranked Kapsner then defeated Litchfield's Logan Nelson 6-2 in the quarterfinals to advance to Saturday's championship semifinals.
"He was just ready to go," Pierz head coach Skip Toops said. "He is strong and he is athletic and he's quick. He stayed in great position and capitalized when he had the opportunity to. He dominated his first match.
"The second match-that kid was really tough. We got a reversal with about 30 seconds to go. The guy tried a move and we hooked up a Granby for five points to ice the deal and punch our ticket to the semis. He's wrestling as good as he's ever wrestled in his life."
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Class 2A State Wrestling
- Pierz: Kapsner in championship semifinals. Andres still wrestling
- Next: Class 2A State Individual Tournament at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2.
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Kapsner will take his 38-3 record against top-seeded and top-ranked Cade Mueller in the semifinals. Mueller of Waconia is 49-1 and the returning state champion.
Pierz's Jake Andres opened with a 4-3 victory over Maverick Whitethorn of South St. Paul to advance to the quarterfinals. The senior got tripped up by No. 2 ranked and third-seeded Mitchel Petersen of Byron 9-3.
The sixth-seeded and fifth-ranked Andres fell into the wrestlebacks where he defeated Foley's Logan Thorsten with a 9-1 major decision to stay alive.
"Jake battles hard every single match that he's in," Toops said. "He won his first one and had to go through a little bit of adversity with some sickness, but came back in that quarterfinal against a returning state champ and I thought we battled him well in certain positions.
"He came out against Foley and he knows he's not done. He approached that match just like he's done every match this year. He went there and got after it and scored his points and put himself in position against the Scott West kid to avenge his loss from last year's state tournament."
Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew's Connor Tulenchik was one-and-done as he fell to Hibbing's David Platt 12-9 in the opening round.
The ninth-ranked and seventh-seeded Platt then fell to the No. 2 seeded Cael Berg of Smiley in the quarterfinals to drop Tulenchik out of the tournament.
Tulenchik, a freshman, finishes the season 35-10.
Pierz's Carson Huls also finished his career with just one match at state. The senior opened with a 13-10 loss to Waseca's Jacob Herzog in the opening round. Herzog then fell 7-2 to No. 2 seeded Garsen Schorr of Kasson-Mantorville to eliminate Huls.
Huls finishes the season 38-8.
"He had a great career," Toops said of Huls. "He was very successful for us. In that match, he got up 8-4 and wrestled a kid that was bigger than him and then we got into positions where he capitalized and ended up beating us 13-10.
"But he had a great career and being able to end it as a three-time state entrant is something to be proud of."
Opening round results
126: Jake Andres (Pierz) dec. Maverick Whitehorn (South St. Paul) 4-3
138: David Platt (Hibbing) dec. Connor Tulenchik (Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus) 12-9; Tulenchik finishes 35-10
160: Reese Kapsner (Pierz) pinned Anthony Arens (Totino-Grace) 0:58
220: Jacob Herzog (Waseca) dec. Carson Huls (Pierz) 13-10; Huls finishes 38-8
126: Mitchel Peterson (Byron) dec. Andres 9-3
160: Kapsner dec. Logan Nelson (Litchfield) 6-2
126: Andres maj. dec. Logan Thorsten (Foley) 9-1