Class 1A State Wrestling: Staples-Motley's Erpelding captures state title

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.

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.

"I did what I always do I guess," Erpelding said, "react to whatever the guy is doing. Whenever I feel like I'm in position, whatever looks good, I just do it. It's just natural."

The second-ranked Erpelding scored a technical fall (15-0) at 4:51 against Cody Dravis of Park Rapids in the semifinals.

"He was just being Alex. Aggressive, good hard shots, tilts," Cardinals coach Dave Anglin said. "His third match against Cody Dravis he was firing on all cylinders. He dominated that match.


"In the finals, he was just Alex, still shooting hard, staying in control, always in good position. He finished off a great season and a great career.

"In his finals match, he was just in control, pretty easy going. He went out and took care of business like he usually does."

Erpelding ended his final high school season with a 45-1 record. He finishes his career with a school-record 181 victories and 50 losses with most of those defeats occurring in his seventh and eighth grade seasons. He also finishes with more than 100 pins in his career, another school record.

Last year, Erpelding lost 8-6 in the 160-pound state final to Aitkin's Noah Landrus.

Kapsner runner-up

At 182 pounds, Pierz's Brett Kapsner captured runner-up honors, getting pinned by Zumbrota-Mazeppa's top-ranked Caden Steffen in 1:34.

In the semifinals earlier Saturday, Kapsner scored a 3-1 sudden victory-1 over Alec Bueltel of Minneota.

"Brett wrestled a great semifinal match," Pierz coach Mark Jensen said. "He took a boy into overtime and ended up getting a takedown in overtime to win it. It was disappointing in the finals that he got caught and got pinned but sometimes that happens."


Kapsner, who was ranked third at 170, finishes 43-3.

Thursday's runner-up finish in the 1A team tournament gave Jensen a career dual meet record of 379-112-2 in 20 years at Pierz. The Brainerd High School graduate coached the Pioneers from 1990 to 2006 before stepping down. He returned as Pierz head coach in 2013. Jensen plans to retire from teaching and coaching after this school year.

"It was a phenomenal ending for me, to have the boys wrestle as a team as well they did, then to have individuals in the state finals, not many coaches end with that kind of ending so it was very good," Jensen said.

Miller third

Staples-Motley's Spencer Miller finished third at 113 with a 3-2 decision over over Brant Buysse of Minneota. In the semifinal, the third-ranked Miller lost 5-2 to top-ranked Jeron Matson of Kenyon-Wanamingo.

"His semifinal match was a close match," Anglin said. "The guy he lost to went on to win the state title. Spencer actually wrestled him tough.

"Talk about a kid in control, Spencer was the whole time down there and he stayed focused. He wrestled some awesome matches. He's only a sophomore. His first win at state was his 100th victory."

Miller finished the season 47-4.


Berg fourth

Aitkin's unranked Silas Berg, at 126, lost an 11-1 major decision to Matthew Pollack of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in the third-place match.

"Silas had a very good tournament," Aitkin coach Larry Liljenquist said. "He beat some kids that he had been beaten by before. I think he had a great weekend."

The Gobblers' senior finished 35-16.

Ortman sixth

Pierz's Brandon Ortman finished sixth at 132 after losing by injury default. Jensen said in the first round of wrestlebacks Ortman got caught in a bad position and hurt his knee which bothered him the rest of the tournament.

"He probably would have finisher higher than sixth if not for his default finish," Jensen said. "The boy he was wrestling against when he got injured ended up in third place. It was disappointing for him. Obviously he wanted to finish on a better note."

The Pioneers' Matt Kummet, at 195, won his first two wrestleback matches before his season ended with a 3-1 loss to Jason Kasella of Royalton/Upsala.


"Matt was coming back through the wrestlebacks," Jensen said. "He wrestled a good (final) match. There was a close call that could have gone either way and it didn't go our way. That pretty much decided the match."

Ortman finished 28-8, Kummet 32-4.

Class 1A Finals

113: Third place: Spencer Miller (Staples-Motley) dec. Brant Buysse (Minneota) 3-2; Consolation semifinal: Miller dec. Dillon McGee (Walker Hackensack-Akeley-Nevis) 6-1; Semifinal: Jeron Matson (Kenyon-Wanamingo) dec. Miller 5-2

126: Third place: Matthew Pollock (Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) maj. dec. Silas Berg (Aitkin) 11-1; Consolation semifinal: Berg dec. Tagen Miller (Wabasha-Kellogg) 10-6; Consolation Round Two: Berg dec. Jamaal Baird (Deer River) 9-7; Consolation Round One: Berg dec. Jose Nelson-Cuellar (St James) 4-0

132: Fifth place: Alex Borsgard (Windom-Mountain Lake) inj. default over Brandon Ortman (Pierz) 0:00; Consolation semifinal: Seth Brossard (Kenyon-Wanamingo) inj. default over Ortman 1:41; Semifinal: Tanner Pasvogel (Sibley East) dec. Ortman 5-2

170: Championship: Alex Erpelding (Staples-Motley) dec. Jeremiah Colon (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) 10-4; Semifinal: Erpelding tech. fall over Cody Dravis (Park Rapids) 15-0

182: Championship: Caden Steffen (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) pinned Brett Kapsner (Pierz) 1:34; Semifinal: Kapsner sudden victory over Alec Bueltel (Minneota) 3-1


195: Consolation Round Two: Jason Kasella (Royalton-Upsala) dec. Matt Kummet (Pierz) 3-1; Consolation Round One: Kummet pinned Evan Stoks (Canby) 3:18

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