Area Male Athlete: Flyers' Nagel eyeing lofty goals

There is a board on the wall of the Little Falls Flyers wrestling practice room that Gabe Nagel can't stop looking at. On the top of the board, is the name Dillon Kiefer and next to it is the number 196. That is the school record for most career ...

Gabe Nagel
Gabe Nagel


There is a board on the wall of the Little Falls Flyers wrestling practice room that Gabe Nagel can't stop looking at.

On the top of the board, is the name Dillon Kiefer and next to it is the number 196. That is the school record for most career wrestling wins and Nagel, a sophmore, wants to eclipse it.

"I'd be lying if I said that wasn't one of my goals," Nagel said.

After a first-place finish at the Paul Bunyan Invite in Brainerd, and a 2-0 showing at the Little Falls Triangular, Nagel is 92 wins away with the rest of this season and two more to go.


"Everything Gabe has gotten through wrestling, he's earned," Flyers head coach Mike Hendrickson said. "He goes up to Scoring Edge in Brainerd, which is wonderful. He's a year-rounder. He wrestles in the spring and it shows. He's got great aspirations for himself and I think he's going to earn them."

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Gabe Nagel

  • Year: Sophomore
  • School: Little Falls
  • Sport: Wrestling
  • Position: 160 pounds
  • Highlights: Reached 100 career wins and won the Paul Bunyan Invitational title

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Nagel reached one of his goals in a 48-16 Flyer victory over Rocori. In a forfeit win, Nagel reached 100 career victories.

"I thought it was kind of funny, but it happens," Nagel said about getting his 100th on a forfeit. "It was exciting. I knew that I would get it sometime this year hopefully. Getting it very soon was kind of nice. I'm happy to be there as quickly as I am and hopefully, I can just keep building on it."

Nagel picked up his 99th win in a 46-27 win over Albany the match before. The four-year varsity wrestler now owns a 104-30 career record thanks to winning the 160-pound weight class at the Paul Bunyan Invite Dec. 8.

Nagel opened with a pin of Brainerd's Joe Nelson in 1:29. He then pinned Frazee's Ricky Roforth in 1:43. He scored a 6-1 decision over Foley's Conor Thorsten before winning the title with a 5-3 victory over Bemidji's Chance Hinrichs.


"I won (the Bunyan) the year before so I was really hoping I could do that again," Nagel said. "I knew I was going to have two tough matches, some section guys I would have to wrestle and some conference guys. I knew that they would go all six minutes with me so I was prepared for that."

Class 3A's fifth-ranked 160-pounder left the tournament with a 10-0 season record

"He's a good pinner," Hendrickson said. "His takedowns and his stance, in particular, everything starts with the stance, have improved immensely. He has tremendous balance just because of his many years of wrestling and his body awareness is very good. He's always in the right place.

"The other thing is, he's gotten a whole lot stronger. That was one of his issues last year so he worked very hard on that. And he's long and strong, too. His leverage strength is very good. He's not just a short and stout guy. He's really got it all. He's got it going mentally, too, so I think he's going to be really hard to beat."

Nagel's last defeat came in the Class 3A state individual tournament. In the 145-pound bracket, Nagel opened with a 5-4 loss to Shakopee's Sam Webster and then lost 5-1 to Anoka's Scott Springer.

"It was awesome," Nagel said of the state tournament. "I thought it was crazy. I was definitely nervous going into my matches. I wrestled some good matches. Could I have won? Maybe. It's hard to say. I was definitely nervous, but being there last year and staying to watch the finals and seeing all the people win big matches, it motivated me to go back."

About two years ago, Nagel went all in with wrestling. He used to play baseball, but found earlier success in wrestling and chose to dedicate himself to the sport and he believes the decision has already paid off.

Hendrickson said Nagel eats and breaths wrestling.


"Over the summer I had a lot of training so I came into the season in really good shape," Nagel said. "I feel that was one of my biggest strengths. I'm not getting tired when other people might be. I also feel that my mindset was right. Practicing all offseason it definitely built my confidence up. I was ready going into the wrestling season."


Other notable performances:

Basketball: Josiah McGaffey, Lake Region, finished with 22 points against Maplewood.

Bereket Loer, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 27 points against Staples-Motley Cardinals.

Brady Raph, Pine River-Backus, finished with 24 points against Menahga.

Torry Hirschey, Pine River-Backus, finished with 21 points against Menahga.

Louis Bueckers, Pine River-Backus, finished with 28 points against Northome-Kelliher.


Jordan Schommer, Pequot Lakes, finished with 30 points against Proctor.

Peter Schommer, Pierz, finished with 23 points against Little Falls.

Oscar Norgren, Little Falls, finished with 27 points against Pierz.

Hockey: Max Phillips, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with four goals against Morris-Benson and two more goals against Lake of the Woods

Wrestling: Adam Christopher and Nate Williams, Crosby-Ironton, each finished 3-0 at the Proctor Quadrangular.

Quinn Kern, Trever Arceneau, Gideon Ervasti and Craig Orlando, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, won individual titles at the Barnesville Invitational.

Trevor Radunz and Jake Andres, Pierz, won individual titles at the Paul Bunyan Invite.

Spencer Miller, Staples-Motley, won the 152-pound title at the Paul Bunyan Invite.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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