Gabe Nagel is the only 160-pound wrestler in the state to finish the season unbeaten.
The Little Falls sophomore concluded the year 46-0 after posting a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Wyatt Lidberg of St. Michael-Albertville in the championship semifinals in the Class 3A State Individual Championships Saturday, March 2, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Nagel then captured his first state title when Woodbury's Brock Rinehart was disqualified for an unintentional, illegal move in the championship match.
"Gabe's a little disappointed, obviously, because he didn't get a chance to beat the kid outright like he hoped to do," Little Falls head coach Mike Hendrickson said. "It was just a very unfortunate situation for everybody concerned. It was an accidental thing. The other wrestler didn't do it on purpose. Nobody ever does, but in wrestling sometimes that happens and rules are rules and that's the way it was.
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Class 3A State Wrestling
- Brainerd: Kramer finishes 6th
- Little Falls: Nagel wins title, Litke 4th
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"The head doctor-trainer person came out and took a look at him and he turned to look at me and he said Gabe wasn't wrestling again. It was just unfortunate and maybe the most unfortunate thing was for the fans because they were two awesome wrestlers competing against each other. It would have been an awesome match."
Braden Kramer's day started with a 7-5 loss to top-seeded and eventual state champion Willie Bastry of Lakeville South.
The Brainerd senior fell into the wrestlebacks, where he suffered a 12-3 loss to No. 3-seeded Tate Torgerson of Cambridge-Isanti.
"That's a difficult task," Warrior head coach Mikky White said. "You talk about going from championship semifinals to sixth and how that's a possibility and fighting that. It's a hard thing just because it's an emotional round. That's a huge win if you can get that in the semifinals to get into the finals. If you lose you just have to try and reset. It's a really challenging round for anybody."
Kramer then fell 5-3 to Apple Valley's Dylan Anderson in the fifth-place match to finish sixth and finish the season 38-11.
"I think he had a great tournament," White said. "He didn't win a match on Saturday and that's tough. To lose in the semifinals and wrestle the caliber of kids that he wrestled, he wasn't out of any match. He was in all of them. He wrestled well. I still feel like he was wrestling well. He was just going up against high-level competition.
"After he settled down from that last match, I just reminded him that he's the sixth-best wrestler in the state. That's a big deal. He was in the semifinals."
Little Falls' Grant Litke advanced to the medal rounds with a 7-5 victory over Shakopee's Jack Casey. After eliminating the No. 5 seed, Litke then topped the third-seeded Josh Piechowski of Stillwater 7-0 to advance to the third-place match.
The Little Falls senior and No. 8 seed, couldn't keep the upset train rolling as he fell to the No. 4-seeded Ben Schmalz to finish fourth and conclude the season 45-4.
"Awfully impressive," Hendrickson said. "Prior to that tournament starting, I looked at that weight class and said, 'Oh my gosh. That thing is loaded.' For him to get fourth, I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams because some of those guys that he finished ahead of were just beasts, but he really went out and wrestled well.
"I couldn't be happier for both of my guys because they're so nice and so deserving."
Brainerd's Denny Busbey, Kyle Patnode and Brad Patnode all suffered losses in their first wrestleback match Saturday to end their tournament. Busbey concluded with a 35-12 record. Kyle Patnode finished the year 43-8 and Brad Patnode went 36-15.
"It was great to have those guys going again the second day," White said. "For all of them emotionally just to keep each other focused. I wish they didn't all wrestle at the same time, but what happens when you go back-to-back-to-back in weight classes. I was peeking at a couple of matches, but it's hard.
"I was just really proud of those guys."
152: Willie Bastyr (Lakeville South) dec. Braden Kramer (Brd) 7-5
160: Gabe Nagel (Little Falls) dec. Wyatt Lidberg (St. Michael Albertville) 2-1
160: Nagel wins by disqualification
132: Azi Rankins (Eden Prairie) dec. Denny Busbey 7-1; Busbey finishes 35-12
138: Landon Johnson (Owatonna) pinned Kyle Patnode, Patnode finishes 42-8
145: Ty Gage (Eagan) dec. Brad Patnode, Patnode finishes 36-15
152: Tate Torgerson (Cambridge-Isanti) maj. dec. Kramer 12-3; Dylan Anderson dec. Kramer 5-3, Kramer finishes 38-11
182: Grant Litke (LF) dec. Jack Casey (Shakopee) 7-5; Litke dec. Josh Piechowski (Stillwater) 7-0; Ben Schmatz (Mound-Westonka) dec. Litke 3-1; Litke finishes fourth at 45-4