By PATRICK SLACK
Little Falls senior Conor Swanson, Pierz senior Brad Meyer and Royalton-Upsala junior Mitch Lange all swept through their weight brackets to earn first place at the 15-team Paul Bunyan wrestling tournament in Brainerd, Friday – Saturday.
Little Falls finished in fifth place as a team, Pierz took 12th and Royalton-Upsala placed 13th.
Little Falls results
Swanson continued his early-season tear through the competition at 285 pounds, pinning all four of his opponents for the second tournament in a row to improve to 8-0 overall.
Swanson earned a pair of second-period falls to advance to the semifinals, where he dropped Class AA’s fifth-ranked senior Jonah Westbury of Chisago Lakes Area in 24 seconds to move on to the finals.
In the championship, the third-seeded Swanson flattened Class AAA’s seventh-ranked senior Alex Johnson of Bemidji in 2:50 to secure the title.
Senior Connor Scherping earned a fall in 3:22 and a 3-1 victory en route to a second-place finish at 145 and junior Trysten Ross earned a fall in 51 seconds and an 11-5 decision to finish as the runner-up at 195.
Sophomore Logan Kapphahn was the next highest placer for the Flyers, winning three of four matches to place third at 113.
Also placing were senior Jordan Petrone in fifth at 160, junior Dan Mushel in sixth at 138, senior David Copa in seventh at 220, junior Derek McMahan in seventh at 152, sophomore Axel Lange in seventh at 132, freshman Justin Jenks in eighth at 120 and seventh-grader A.J. Jenks in eighth at 106.
Little Falls wrestles at Foley, Thursday.
Meyer, the third seed at 152, opened the tournament with a first-period fall before defeating Foley junior Brandon Halverson 6-4.
In the semifinals, Meyer shut out Chisago Lakes Area junior Mark Sontag 5-0, then blanked Class A’s sixth-ranked senior Bruce Lemon of Frazee by the same 5-0 score in the finals.
The Pioneers’ other place-winners included senior Travis Johnson in fourth at 195, eighth-grader Brett Kapsner in fourth at 145, junior Chris Ortman in sixth at 126, junior Ryley Smude in sixth at 220, senior Nick Lochner in eighth at 170 and junior Evan Woitalla in eighth at 132.
Pierz hosts a tri against St. Cloud Apollo and Milaca, Friday.
Lange entered as the fourth seed at 160, reaching the semifinals with a second-period fall and a 7-2 decision to set up a match with top-seeded and Class AAA’s fifth-ranked senior Tyler Hebig of Mound-Westonka.
Lange opened up an early lead and pulled away late with back points as time wound down for an 11-4 decision to reach the finals, then edged Class AAA’s third-ranked senior Joe Carpenter of Moorhead 6-5 to earn the championship.
Senior Cory Wensmann earned fifth place at 220 and sophomore Joe Jensen took eighth at 113 for the Royals.
Royalton-Upsala wrestles at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Tuesday.
Brainerd Paul Bunyan tournament
Team—1. Frazee, 193.5; 2. Foley, 171; 3. Bemidji, 142; 4. Moorhead, 140; 5. Little Falls, 133.5; 6. Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, 119; 7. Chisago Lakes, 107; 8. Brainerd-Pillager, 106.5; 9. Becker, 103; 10. Mound-Westonka, 102; 11. Grand Rapids, 90; 12. Pierz, 83.5; 13. Royalton-Upsala, 40.5; 14. Burnsville, 39; 15. Virginia, 15.
Little Falls: 106: A.J. Jenks, eighth; 113: Logan Kapphahn, third; 126: Justin Jenks, eighth; 132: Axel Lange, seventh; 138: Dan Mushel, sixth; 145: Connor Scherping, second; 152: Derek McMahan, seventh; 160: Jordan Petrone, fifth; 195: Trysten Ross, second; 220: David Copa, seventh; 285: Conor Swanson, first.
Pierz: 126: Chris Ortman, sixth; 132: Evan Woitalla, eighth; 145: Brett Kapsner, fourth; 152: Brad Meyer, first; 170: Nick Lochner, eighth; 195: Travis Johnson, fourth; 220: Ryley Smude, sixth.
Royalton-Upsala: 113: Joe Jensen, eighth; 160: Mitch Lange, first; 220: Cory Wensmann, fifth.