It was a school record-tying, and school record-breaking, weekend for Brainerd Warrior athletics.

Friday, Dec. 7, Joey Sauer tied a school record set 57 years ago by scoring 41 points in a boys basketball game at Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Saturday, Dec. 8, the Warrior wrestling team captured only the second Paul Bunyan Invitational title in program history, and its first since 1988. Brainerd outdistanced runner-up and defending champion Frazee by 21.5 points in the 52nd annual event.

In addition, the Warriors won three individual titles for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

"I'm just so proud of these boys," Brainerd coach Mikkey White said. "They wrestled so hard. And it's good competition. For us to come out on top, it's unreal.

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Paul Bunyan Invite

  • Highlights: The Brainerd Warriors won the team title and three individual championships
  • Next: Brainerd at Grand Rapids Quadrangular 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.

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"We won every single match because we just kept going, across the board everybody. They were just relentless this whole tournament. We didn't lose a match because we didn't try. We didn't lose a match because we weren't working hard. We lost matches to kids who were just better than us-they just outscored us. Across the board I think everyone put out a really good effort."

Brainerd champions included Atlie Danielson (120), Denny Busbey (132) and Kyle Patnode (138). Kyle Eschenbacher was runner-up at 126 and Cade Barrett was second at 220.

Danielson had to go into overtime to nip Dusty Wilke of Grand Rapids 6-4. Wilke is ranked seventh in Class 2A at 113. Danielson was a Bunyan champion at 106 last year.

"I use stingy a lot. Atlie's a really stingy wrestler," White said. "He's a good kid. ... actually this is two (titles) in a row for him. I don't think there are a whole lot of people who are 2-timers for us so that's a pretty big deal for him."

Busbey pinned Thade Osborn of Bemidji at 4:20 for his title. Patnode beat Foley's Isaiah Fitch 4-0 in his final.

"Denny looked really good," White said. "Denny's really getting good on his feet and scoring a lot of points. Kyle wrestled a good kid. Again same thing (as Busbey)."

Eschenbacher lost a 9-0 major decision to Pierz's Jake Andres, who's ranked sixth in 2A at 120. Barrett was outscored 11-5 by a much bigger Luke Tweeton of Frazee who's ranked 11th in 1A.

"Barrett ran into a tough kid," White said. "(Tweeton) is legit. He's a really good wrestler. That's the first time we've seen Barrett get tested but he got tested by a really good wrestler. He's giving up a little weight at 220 but he's a strong kid. He's long. He's got good levers. I think he'll be fine there. He's learning the 220 weight class with some of those big guys.

"Eschenbacher, I don't think he lost a match because he didn't try. He kept going the whole time. He just ran into a good kid."

Andres pinned his opponents in the first three rounds but Eschenbacher managed to stay off his back.

"Jake's got man strength at 126," Pierz coach Skip Toops said. "He goes out there and there's nobody in the state who's going to be in better shape than Jake. He's got the best set of lungs of anybody I've ever coached. It helps with that cross country running.

"He goes out so strong with position. He gets to his offense. He gets to a leg and he scores. When he's on top, he's deadly. It's fun watching that."

The Pioneers' Trevor Radunz (106) made quick work of Frazee's Jake Nagel, stretching him at 1:24.

"Trevor wrestled great today," Toops said. "He went out there and wrestled like a No. 1 seed. He was aggressive, he went after things, he was confident, he got to his positions, he got to his scoring opportunities and capitalized on them. He dominated all day long."

Staples-Motley's Spencer Miller, ranked 12th in 1A at 145, scored a major decision over Brendin Morlan of Grand Rapids, beating him 17-7 for the 152-pound title. The match had to be stopped numerous times as Miller tried to get nosebleeds under control. Miller was runner-up at 120 and 132 in previous Bunyans.

"I got the No. 2 seed, and I didn't really care, but I felt like I should have had the 1 seed," Miller said. "I wrestled the 1 seed in the finals and beat him a lot to not enough. I got about 12 nosebleeds in the middle of the match. I thought I was going to bleed out, but I felt pretty good.

"I destroyed him on my feet, controlled him on top, and blew out away from him on the bottom. I felt like I had a pretty good match overall and a pretty good tournament overall."

Gabe Nagel of Little Falls, ranked fifth in 3A, decisioned Chance Hinrichs of Bemidji 5-3 for the 160-pound title. Hinrichs is ranked sixth.

"These guys haven't wrestled before," Flyers coach Mike Hendrickson said. "What a great finish for Gabe. He had a great tournament."

Staples-Motley's Owen Bjerga was runner-up at 170, losing to TJ Turinske of White Bear Lake 3-2. Bjerga is ranked No. 2 in 1A at 160. Turinske is ranked sixth at 152.

Grant Litke of Little Falls, ranked ninth in 3A, won his 100th career match in the consolation semifinal and went on to finish third at 182.

"Unfortunately his 100th could have been going into the finals," Hendrickson said. "In the semis, he lost in overtime but came back and got a nice technical fall (in the third-place match)."


Final team scores: 1-Brainerd 182, 2-Frazee 160.5, 3-Bemidji 153, 4-Foley 149, 5-Pierz 133.5, 6-White Bear Lake 121, 7-Mound Westonka 102, 8-Moorhead 98.5, 9-Grand Rapids 96, 10-Staples-Motley 86.5, 11-Little Falls 83.5, 12-Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 44, 13-Chisago Lakes 41


Place matches

106: Championship-Trevor Radunz (Prz) pinned Jake Nagel (Fra) 1:24; 3rd place-Austin Litke (LF) dec Alex Jennison (Fol) 6-3; 5th place-Isaiah Jillson (Brd) dec Philip Keenan (GR) 4-0; 7th place-Tyler Brock (WBL) dec Dylan Marciulionis (CEC) 6-0

113: Championship-Levi Jacobson (Fol) pinned Andrew Novack (CL) 4:15; 3rd-Jacob Maas (MW) dec Zach Wilke (GR) 2-0; 5th-Preston Mayfield (Fra) injury default over Alex Peterson (CEC); 7th-Bryce Udy (LF)

120: Championship-Atlee Danielson (Brd) dec Dusty Wilke (GR) 6-4 ot; 3rd-Connor Wakefield (GR) dec Sebastian Warzecha (Prz) 4-3; 5th-Christian Carlson (Fra) dec Ethan Oswald (Fol) 5-4; 7th-Sam Adair (WBL) dec Cale Becker (Prz) 5-4)

126: Championship-Jake Andres (Prz) maj dec Kyle Eschenbacher (Brd) 9-0; 3rd-Seth Newby (Bem) pinned Noah Lietzau (MW) 2:20; 5th-Tyler Gobernatz (Moor) pinned Tyler Moe (Fra) 0:59; 7th-Payton Bjerga (SM) dec Josh Powell (WBL) 9-3

132: Championship-Denny Busbey (Brd) pinned Thade Osborn (Bem) 4:20; 3rd-Joe Hudson (Bem) dec Gabe Wagner (Brd) 4-3; 5th-Logan Thorsten (Fol) dec Lukas Volstad (Fra) 5-2; 7th-Jordan Allen (CEC) pinned Xander Risdal (Moor) 4:31

138: Championship-Kyle Patnode (Brd) dec Isaiah Fitch (Fol) 4-0; 3rd-Ryan Luthi (Moor) dec Brayden Christensen (SM) 7-2; 5th-Bryce Golden (Bem) dec Griffin Fjeld (CEC) 6-5; 7th-Kaden Hiemenz (Fra) by fft over Brock Barlund (Fra)

145: Championship-Kellen Schauer (GR) pinned Zeb Wehr (Clo) 1:30; 3rd-Darren Roth (Bem) dec Logen Weite (SM) 5-3 ot; 5th-Sutherlin Schmit (Fol) pinned Mason Newling (Fra) 4:13; 7th-Monte Collins (WBL) pinned Chase Storey (WBL) 4:03

152: Championship-Spencer Miller (SM) maj dec Brendin Morlan (GR) 17-7; 3rd-Matt Dierkes (Fol) dec Brad Patnode (Brd) 7-0; 5th-Alan Wuori (Bem) pinned Brady Behrens (Moor) 0:35; 7th-Blake Wgeishofski (Brd) pinned Dysin Strate (WBL) 0:42

160: Championship-Gabe Nagel (LF) dec Chance Hinrichs (Bem) 5-3; 3rd-Connor Thorsten (Fol) maj dec Victor Larson (Moor) 13-3; 5th-Tucker Peterson (Brd) pinned Ricky Roforth (Fra) 1:09; 7th-Josh Wenthe (CL) dec Brandon Tomala (Prz) 2-1

170: Championship-TJ Turinske (WBL) dec Owen Bjerga (SM) 3-2; 3rd-Reese Kapsner (Prz) dec Braden Kramer (Brd) 4-1; 5th- Max Lefebvre (Fol) dec Aidan Helwig (Bem) 8-2; 7th-Hayden Netland (Moor) pinned Brock Munsterteiger (MW) 3:47

182: Championship-Ben Schmalz (MW) dec Riley Schock (Moor) 6-1; 3rd-Grant Litke (LF) dec Brett Graham of Frazee 4-0; 5th-Nic Geiger (Bem) dec Mathew Sloan (WBL) 6-4 ot; 7th-Tanner Young (Prz) maj dec Gordon Enyart (SM) 10-0

195: Championship-Gabe Drewes (Fra) by fft over Colton Borah (Fra); 3rd-Carson Huls (Prz) maj dec Kris Kurtz (MW) 12-1; 5th-Peter Moen (Bem) injury default over Morgan Gibson (Brd); 7th-Sam Nagel (LF) pinned Muhamed Avdil (Moor) 2:19

220: Championship-Luke Tweeton (Fra) dec Cade Barrett (Brd) 11-5; 3rd-Carter Svihla (Fol) dec Jacob Gotvald (Prz) 2-1; 5th-Scott Kaufman (WBL) dec Landon Berry (Moor) 4-1; 7th-Jasper Lindqvist (GR) dec Eli VanRisseghem (LF) 5-3

285: Championship-Luke Parzyck (WBL) dec Kaleb Beam (Bem) 4-2; 3rd-Pedro Acosta (WBL) dec. Luke Venske (LF) 4-1; 5th-Howie Solem (Fra) by fft over Connor Bleymeyer (CL); 7th-Ryan Fitz (MW) pinned Codie Desrosier (Bem) 2:22


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