State Wrestling: Warriors 3 prepped for state success
Surprises might be in store for the Class 3A state Individual tournament. That's the mindset of Brainerd co-head coach Mike Boran and Little Falls head coach Mike Hendrickson are taking into the tournament that begins Friday and ends Saturday at ...
Surprises might be in store for the Class 3A state Individual tournament.
That's the mindset of Brainerd co-head coach Mike Boran and Little Falls head coach Mike Hendrickson are taking into the tournament that begins Friday and ends Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Brainerd advanced three wrestlers to the state tournament, including 113-pound champion Chad Orsburn.
The junior enters his first state tournament with momentum, the No. 8 ranking and a 31-2 record. He will open against unranked Zach Wallace of Minnetonka (24-12, junior).
"I think Chad's got a real opportunity to do well at the state tournament," Boran said. "He's got a good seed. I know he's got guys he can wrestle with. He's a talented wrestler. He won our section. He's going in wrestling very well. It's a matter of getting down there and putting it on the mat and not getting caught up in all the bright lights and fancy colors and just wrestling like he can."
An opening round victory would send Orsburn against either Stillwater's Javon Taschuk (30-12, freshman) or Woodbury's Roman Rogotzke (32-8, eighth grader). Neither wrestler is ranked.
On Orsburn's side of the bracket is top-ranked Aaron Cashman of Shakopee (35-1, junior) and No. 7 ranked Brandon Psyk of St. Michael-Albertville (29-11, sophomore).
Returning for his second straight state tournament is senior Cole Kubesh (32-2). Kubesh was the section runner-up at 120 pounds so will open with Section 7-3A champion and No. 3 ranked Colby Njos from Anoka (40-2, sophomore).
"You appreciate the fact that (Cole) is consistent and goes out in every match and he's going to give 100 percent and he's going to be in every match," Boran said. "He's got a pretty good wrestler the first round, but it's somebody he's wrestled with and I think Cole can wrestle with anybody. He's a senior. He's strong and quick and he's got a lot of grit. Cole doesn't give up many points. He's one that can keep going at you and wear you down."
A dream scenario, said Boran, would be for Kubesh to advance to the semifinals to face Willmar's Israel Navarro, who clipped Kubesh in the section finals last weekend. Navarro is 31-1 and ranked No. 2.
No. 10 ranked Andy Schlosser also finished second in the Section 8-3A 145-pound bracket. The Brainerd senior (17-6) will face Woodbury's Austin Braun (35-6, senior) in the opening round. Braun is ranked fifth.
"Andy really wrestled well in our section tournament," said Boran. "He had a close match in our section finals and it went into overtime. He did lose it, but he's going down to that state tournament and he's had success down there. He knows what it's like to be down there and wrestle. I think, just his style, he's going in there and his style can be difficult if you're not familiar with it. That could help him be successful down there. He's a talented wrestler and I think being a senior and having experience he's not going to go down there and be intimidated at all."
Top-ranked Peyton Robb of Owatonna is on Schlosser's side of the bracket as are No. 8 ranked Matthew Muedeking of White Bear Lake and No. 4 Teddy Pierce of St. Francis.
Lane Rutten is Little Falls' section champion as he claimed the 138-pound bracket despite being unranked. Rutten enters his second state tournament with a 34-3 record and 106 career wins. He will open against No. 8 ranked Charlie DesMarais of Buffalo (24-9, senior).
"Lane is a very talented wrestler," said Hendrickson. "He is very capable of placing and his quartile, at least, looks reasonable."
AJ Jenks' season resume is light, but he's a junior with state experience and he's ranked No. 7. The Section 8-3A 182-pound runner up is 11-5 and will open against No. 5 ranked Calvin Sund of Prior Lake
"He was injured at the Paul Bunyan Tourney in December," Hendrickson said. "He had knee surgery and is just now getting into wrestling shape. AJ is a dangerously strong boy and he uses it to his advantage. He too is very capable of placing."
Like Rutten, Jenks is in the same half of the bracket as top-ranked Brandon Moen of Owatonna (30-0, senior). No. 3 ranked Rowan Morgan of Mounds View (35-4, sophomore) and No. 4 ranked James Huntley of Stillwater (34-1, senior) are also on Jenks' side.
Class 2A opening matchups
170 pound: No. 9 ranked Zack Waln, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (39-3, senior) vs. unranked Trae Bedford, Annandale (20-1, senior).
182 pound: No. 6 ranked Holt Truax, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (35-5, junior) vs. unranked Jake Murillo, Proctor (17-11, senior)
220 pound: No. 8 ranked Ethan Kimber, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (37-2, senior) vs. unranked Cole Walters, Grand Rapids (21-20, senior)
285 pound: unranked Craig Orlando, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (27-11, freshman) vs. unranked Devin Reynolds, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (34-3, senior)
The area's best chance for a state title could lie in the hands of last year's state runner-up-Alex Erpelding.
The Staples-Motley senior is ranked No. 2 in the final Guillotine poll and will put his 37-1 record up against unranked Canby's Noah Scott (13-10, senior).
"He's a sixth-year varsity wrestler with a career record of 177-50," said S-M head coach Dave Anglin. "Alex placed second in the state tournament last year and he could win it all this year."
Also at 170 pounds is Section 7-2A champion Kenny Hesse, who enters with a 32-8 record. Hesse is unranked and will face unranked Levi Larkin of West Central (29-11, junior).
S-M's Spencer Miller is one win away from 100 career wins with a career mark of 99-24. He's a return state entrant with a 39-2 record and a No. 3 ranking. Anglin believes he could be a top-five finisher, and will open against unranked Zander Jenson of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (25-16, eighth grader).
S-M's Owen Bjerga is another state veteran, who placed in the top eight last season and another Anglin believes will enjoy a long weekend.
Bjerga is the fifth-ranked 126 pounder and enters with a 34-7 record. He opens against Deer River's Jamaal Baird (32-4, junior), who is ranked third.
Aitkin's Silas Berg beat Baird in the Section 7 finals. Berg (27-12, senior) is ranked No. 9 and will open against unranked Gavin Sonnek of United South Central (26-10, sophomore).
Fourth-ranked Eric Lisson of S-M will take his 32-6 record and open against Deer River's Trey Fairbanks in the 132-pound bracket. On the opposite side of the bracket is No. 5 ranked Brandon Ortman of Pierz (24-2, senior) who will open against unranked Matthew Frost of New York Mills (32-9, sophomore).
In the lone opening-round area matchup, Pierz's Brett Kapsner (37-1, senior), ranked No. 3 at 170 pounds, will face Wadena-Deer Creek's Steven Erkenbrack (26-11, junior) in the 182-pound bracket. It's Erkenbrack first state trip.
"Both Steven and Carter (Wright) have ranked kids right off the bat," said W-DC head coach Norm Gallant. "I have an idea what (Brett) might do, as we've seen Pierz a lot over the years. Steve is a work horse. He's improved as much as any kid I can remember throughout the season. He's a grinder. He never gets out of position and finds a way out of trouble."
Fellow Pioneer Matt Kummet will take his unbeaten record up against Jake Wagner of Crookston (19-8, junior) in the opening round of the 195-pound bracket. Kummet is ranked No. 3 at 180 pounds.
106 pound: Brandon Funk, Pierz (24-14, freshman) vs. Jackson Hale, GMLO (32-3, sophomore)
120 pound: No. 7 ranked Jake Andres, Pierz (32-6, sophomore) vs. Jack Fuchs, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (23-7, sophomore); Blayne Dumpprope, Staples-Motley (25-14, sophomore) vs. Dominic Bulger, Trinity School at River Ridge (21-8, senior)
138 pound: Kaven Blazek, Crosby-Ironton (29-9, junior) vs. No. 7 ranked Brady Tweeton, Barnsville (36-1, junior); No. 4 ranked Jacob Tvinnereim, Jackson County Central (35-4, junior) vs. No. 10 ranked Reese Kapsner, Pierz (36-5, sophomore); Jasiah Paskewitz, Staples-Motley (7-4, sophomore) vs. Dylan Rudningen, KMS (34-3, sophomore)
145 pound: No. 7 Andrew Tomala, Pierz (24-4, senior) vs. No. 4 Maverick Jackson, Zumbrota-Mazeppa (34-8, senior)
152 pound: Jalen Jansen, Pierz (25-8, junior) vs. No. 3 Tyler Ryan, Kenyon-Wanamingo (35-3, sophomore)
160 pound: Carter Wright, Wadena-Deer Creek (15-8, senior) vs. No. 4 Luke Wilson, LeSueur-Henderson (31-6, senior)
220 pound: Carson Huls, Pierz (28-10, sophomore) vs. No. 4 Trenten Rogich, LeSueur-Henderson (25-6, senior)