State Wrestling: Upsets on the minds of area wrestlers
Brainerd's Chad Orsburn got a taste of state success last season and he's hungry for more.
The senior 113-pounder enters the Friday-Saturday individual tournament with a 27-6 record after finishing second in the Section 8-3A tournament. Orsburn, who finished fifth at state last year, will open against Buffalo's Ryan Scherber. The freshman is 30-7 on the season and is the Section 5-3A champion.
Those two will square off 9 a.m. Friday in the opening round of the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center.
"You never want to look past anybody, but he's got a kid out of Buffalo in the first round and that first round is pretty important," said Warriors co-head coach Mikky White. "The kid is good. We watched some video on him and we're looking for tendencies, but we're also focusing on Chad. We're making sure he's doing the things he's done all year and the things that have gotten him to state tournament the last few years.
"He's in a good spot. He's healthy. He feels good and we're really looking forward to the next couple of days."
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State individual tournament
- When: 9 a.m. Friday (first rounds); 4 p.m. Friday (championship quarterfinals, wrestlebacks); 9 a.m. Saturday (consolation quarterfinals and semifinals, championship semifinals); 4 p.m. Saturday (place matches)
- Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
- Who: 21 area wrestlers
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An Orsburn victory will likely set up a match against No. 2-ranked Ryder Rogotzke of East Ridge. That makes winning that opening match that much more important.
"He's been there," White said of Orsburn. "He's had the experience. He's a senior. He's one of the older guys in this bracket. I think he's feeling pretty good and confident. There are good wrestlers there, but Chad's a good wrestler, too."
The Little Falls Flyers will feature a trio of wrestlers. Freshman Gabe Nagel will open against Sam Webster of Shakopee, who was the No. 3-ranked 152-pounder. Nagel is the fifth-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds and owns a 36-5 record. Webster is 35-5.
"This guy was ranked third at 152 pounds so he's obviously tough," said Flyers head coach Mike Hendrickson. "If he wins or loses, he'll then have the No. 3- or No. 8-ranked wrestler in the next round. That's a tough draw."
The Flyers' Simon Bryce is a 40-5 senior transfer from Foley. The No. 7-ranked 152-pounder will open against Roseville's Miguel Urriola, who is 29-7.
"Simon has been super all season," Hendrickson said. "He's only had a handful of losses. He does some things very, very well. He's good on his feet and that's his strength."
Sam Nagel is the Flyers' lone section champion. Nagel is unranked, but was the No. 3 seed in the section tournament before surprising many by winning the section title. He'll face No. 5-ranked Nick Staska of Owatonna.
"Sam is on a bit of a high as he pinned the No. 1-seeded guy in our section to win the title," Hendrickson said. "Anything can happen with this guy. He's a smart guy and he's wrestling really well. Who knows what could happen. The guy he wrestles has a similar record to the guy he pinned in the section finals. So who knows."
This will be the first year Pierz is wrestling in the Class 2A state tournament, but the Pioneers' first-year head coach Skip Toops doesn't think that should matter. Especially not for No. 7-ranked Jake Andres. The 120-pounder won the Section 8-2A title and owns a 39-3 record. He'll open against Juan Fraire-Morales of Brooklyn Center/Concordia Academy, a junior with a 21-23 record.
"He's been a consistent performer all year," Toops said of Andres. "He can go with anybody in the state. When you work hard and put the time in and go out each time and perform, you build confidence.
"I think he's ready to go and he's excited to go. We got a good draw, but he's got three other kids who are very good on his side of bracket."
Junior Brandon Tomala will take his 24-13 record up against the No. 8-ranked Miles Fitzgerald of Fairmont. Fitzgerald is a sophomore and is 38-7.
"I really like Tomala's first-round match," Toops said. "He's a good kid, but I think it's a match he can go in and compete and win. It's the first time down at state, but he wrestled one heck of a section tournament and punched his ticket there.
"I look at it and I really like his side of the bracket. I like where he is. We just need to take care of that first match."
Carson Huls is Pierz's third representative. The unranked 220-pounder has a 35-6 record, but he'll open up against No. 2-ranked Steven Hajas of Delano.
"You look at that 220-pound bracket and I think Carson can go with anybody in the bracket," Toops said. "The No. 1 seed Daniel Kerkvliet (of Simley), he's ranked No. 1 in the nation. He's world champ at his age level. He's probably far and away the No. 1 guy in the state, but everybody else in that bracket is beatable.
"Carson wrestles every match the same. He approaches every match the same. He just goes out there and battles."
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie owns the biggest caravan of area wrestlers with five. The Raiders' No. 2-ranked Holt Truax will put his undefeated record on the line when he opens the Class 1A tournament against Nick Podlack of Mahnomen/Waubun. Truax is 40-0, while Podlack is 26-13.
Sophomore heavyweight Craig Orlando also could make some noise for the Raiders. The third-ranked sophomore owns a 38-3 record and opens against No. 9-ranked Zach Evans of Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.
The 145-pound division in Class 1A will be the area's busiest with No. 10-ranked Tyler Spolarich of Aitkin facing No. 4 Seth Brossard of Kenyon-Wanamingo, No. 9-ranked Kaven Blazek of Crosby-Ironton opening up against No. 3-ranked Chandler Mooney of Roseau and Devin Dean of BHVPP facing No. 8-ranked Anthony Axford of Tracy Milroy.
Despite winning the Section 6-1A title at 138 pounds Staples-Motley's Owen Bjerga gets a tough opening draw as the No. 7-ranked Cardinal will face sixth-ranked Colton Weiland of Crookston.
Seventh-ranked Nate Williams scored the toughest opening draw of the area. The Ranger junior will need to be in upset mode from the start as he faces top-ranked Michael Suda of Pipestone at 126 pounds. Suda is 36-3, but Williams owns a 40-9 record.
113: Chad Orsburn (Brainerd, 27-6, senior) vs. Ryan Scherber (Buffalo, 30-7, freshman)
145: No. 5 Gabe Nagel (Little Falls, 36-5, freshman) vs. No. 3 Sam Webster (Shakopee, 35-5, senior)
152: No. 7 Simon Bryce (Little Falls, 40-5, senior) vs. Miguel Urriola (Roseville Area, 29-7, senior)
195: Sam Nagel (Little Falls, 19-8, junior) vs. No. 5 Nick Staska (Owatonna, 34-10, junior)
120: No. 7 Jake Andres (Pierz, 39-3, junior) vs. Juan Fraire-Morales (Brooklyn Center/Concordia Academy, 21-23, Junior)
145: Brandon Tomala (Pierz, 24-13, junior) vs. No. 8 Miles Fitzgerald (Fairmont/Martin County West, 38-7, Sophomore)
220: Carson Huls (Pierz, 35-6, junior) vs. No. 2 Steven Hajas (Delano, 30-2, senior)
126: No. 7 Nate Williams (Crosby-Ironton, 40-9, junior) vs. No. 1 Michael Suda (Pipestone, 36-3, senior)
132: Trever Arceneau (BHVPP, 33-17, junior) vs. No. 4 Tyler Bents (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, 42-7, junior)
138: Luke Pelarski (Aitkin, 36-13, junior) vs. No. 4 Kyle Cavanaugh (Caledonia/Houston, 28-4, junior)
138: No. 7 Owen Bjerga (Staples-Motley, 36-4, sophomore) vs. No. 6 Colton Weiland (Crookston, 27-6, senior)
145: No. 10 Tyler Spolarich (Aitkin, 31-13, freshman) vs. No. 4 Seth Brossard (Kenyon-Wanamingo, 35-2, junior)
145: No. 9 Kaven Blazek (Crosby-Ironton, 35-11, senior) vs. No. 3 Chandler Mooney (Roseau, 39-2, junior)
145: Devin Dean (BHVPP, 37-15, junior) vs. No. 8 Anthony Axford (Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut-Grove, 31-5, junior)
152: Carter Endrizzi (Aitkin, 28-18, junior) vs. Zach Buseman (Blue Earth Area, 39-5, senior)
152: Gideon Ervasti (BHVV, 25-17, eighth grader) vs. No. 3 Toby Hintzman (United North Central, 32-2, senior)
170: Steven Erkenbrack (Wadena-Deer Creek, 31-9, senior) vs. No. 9 Dalton Mielke (Rush City/Braham, 35-3, senior)
182: Cedric Farnsworth (Aitkin, 29-9, senior) vs. No. 5 Logan Quam (Kenyon-Wanamingo, 27-5, senior)
182: No. 2 Holt Truax (BHVPP, 40-0, senior) vs. Nick Podlack (Mahnomen/Waubun, 26-13, senior)
195: Taylor Eigenheer (Crosby-Ironton, 37-10, junior) vs. Morgen Moreno (Waterville-Elysian-Morristown-Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, 31-5, senior)
285: No. 3 Craig Orlando (BHVPP, 38-3, sophomore) vs. No. 9 Zach Evans (Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, 28-11, sophomore)