Wrestling: Warriors, Flyers each fall in semis; Willmar wins section title

Brainerd hosts Section 8-3A Wrestling team tournament

A wrester almost pins another wrestler, ref watches closely.
Brainerd's Gabe Jukish, top, wrestles Bemidji's Jack Solum during the Section 8-3A wrestling semifinals Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, at Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Warriors head coach Mikkey White called it the most fun he’d had coaching a loss Friday, Feb. 17.

The No. 5 seed Brainerd Warriors gave the top-seed Bemidji Lumberjacks all they could handle in the Section 8-3A semifinals at Brainerd High School.

Bemidji’s depth proved to be too much as the Lumberjacks advanced to the finals with a 38-26 win over Brainerd.

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“Bemidji is a good team,” White said. “We told the guys beforehand that the guy you don’t want to fight is the one that has nothing to lose. And that was us tonight. We had nothing to lose, so we went out there and gave it everything we could and put points on the board and even gave them a little scare there.”

After Bemidji grabbed a 22-0 lead through the first four matches, Easton Dircks got Brainerd on the board with a second-period pin of Brody Castonguay.


Isaiah Germann followed with an 11-7 decision at 138 pounds and Isaiah Jillson earned a 13-2 major decision at 145 to make it 22-13.

Bemidji’s Dan Jorgensen pinned Elijah Germann in 50 seconds, but Brainerd bounced back with Gabe Jukish getting a 15-7 major decision at 160.

Damien Bentho wrestled to a 3-2 decision at 170 to cut the Lumberjacks’ lead to 28-20.

“Numbers wise we could’ve won that dual,” White said. “Everything would’ve had to go perfect and everything didn't, which is why Bemidji made the finals and we did not.”

The Warriors forfeited at 182, but it still left a shot to pull off the upset in the final three matches.

Shane Carlson wrestled to a 4-2 decision which meant the Warriors would need pins in the final two matches.

Bemidji’s Parker Orvik tallied a major decision win to clinch the semifinal match for the Lumberjacks.

Brainerd’s Eli Wiskow gave the Warrior fans one last thing to cheer for in his come from behind 7-4 decision win at heavyweight.


“We had a lot of good performances,” White said. “Easton Dircks beat Brody which has always been a challenge. Isaiah Jillson went back to work and did a good job. Shane Carlson had an amazing match against a tough wrestler which will probably be a section match for him. And then Wiskow, we put him against a bigger kid at heavyweight when he’s not used to wrestling those bigger kids and he came out with a win which was awesome.”

In the other semifinal, No. 2 seed Willmar took down the No. 3 seed Little Falls Flyers 43-21.

Willmar grabbed a firm 31-3 lead after 152. Mason Rauch was the only wrestler to win with a 2-1 decision at 126.

The Flyers gained steam when Beau Robinson captured a third-period pin at 160.

Little Falls also got pins from Ivan Petrick at 182 and Hank LeClair at 220.

A wrestler pins another wrestler. The ref signals the pin.
Little Falls' Hank LeClair pins Willmar's Finley Donelan during the Section 8-3A wrestling semifinals Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, at Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“I thought we came in and wrestled hard,” Little Falls Flyers head coach Simon Waltman said. “I can’t fault our effort. We just wrestled a really good team. It was going to be tougher for us going through the first half of the match. We knew we were going to finish strong up top but (Willmar) just pulled out the tough matches they needed to.

“Mason Rauch pulled out a match he lost last time which gave us a chance going through the middle weights and I thought he wrestled a tough kid. You just have to tip your cap to Willmar.”

White said the semifinals were a good tune up for the Section 8-3A Individual Tournament, which is next weekend in St. Cloud.


“To be able to come out of this looking the way we did and feeling good about our team and abilities is a good setup for next week,” he said.

It was Willmar who got a pin at the heavyweight match to grab a 33-25 win over Bemidji to win the Section 8-3A Team Title.

Bemidji 38, Brainerd 26

106: Gabriel Morin (Bem) maj. dec. Jackson Berthow 14-2

113: Nick Strand (Bem) pinned Nolan Jukish 1:20

120: Gavin Osborn (Bem) pinned Dossidy Fleischhacker :54

126: Hunter Heim (Bem) pinned Cade Ostrowski 3:51

132: Easton Dircks (Brd) pinned Brody Castonguay 2:29

138: Isaiah Germann (Brd) dec. Alec Newby 11-7

145: Isaiah Jillson (Brd) maj. dec. Talen Fairbanks 13-2

152: Dane Jorgensen (Bem) pinned Elijah Germann 0:50

160: Gabe Jukish (Brd) maj. dec. Jack Solum 15-7

170: Damien Bentho (Brd) dec. Coy Olson 3-2

182: Seth Newby (Bem) forfeit

195: Shane Carlson (Brd) dec. Barrick Nelson 4-2

220: Parker Orvik (Bem) maj. dec. Ethan Kosloski 14-2

285: Eli Wiskow (Brd) dec. Tom Paquette 7-4

Willmar 43, Little Falls 21

106: Wyatt Cruze (W) maj. dec. Ryan Vogt 12-3

113: Lawson Anez (W) pinned Ethan Zellers 3:47

120: Cavin Carlson (W) pinned Cassidy Okerman 1:20

126: Mason Rauch (LF) dec. Ivan Mares 2-1

132: Salley Anez (W) dec. Joey Wilczek 4-0

138: Conian Carlson (W) tech. fall Noah Cameron 17-0

145: Cameron Champagne (W) maj. dec. Wyatt Baum 9-1

152: Isaac Zelaya-Velaquez (W) dec. Dane Ballou 15-9

160: Beau Robinson (LF) pinned Mattix Swanson 5:00

170: Braeden Erickson (W) dec. Ryan Klockl 4-0

182: Ivan Petrich (LF) pinned Steven Cruze 1:27

195: Zander Miska (W) dec. Alex Schmitz 2-1

220: Hank LeClair (LF) pinned Finley Donelan 1:18

285: Daunte Castellano (W) pinned Aiden Nordlie 3:30

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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