Brandon Ortman, freshman, Pierz
Pierz had the luxury of starting off almost every dual with a win this season thanks to Ortman, who posted a record of 35-7. One of his biggest wins was his last, knocking off an individual state place winner to help the Pioneers advance in the consolation semifinals at state as a team.
Michael Petron, freshman, Royalton-Upsala
It took awhile for Petron’s season to get under way, but once it did, the lightweight served as a major spark plug for the Royals. Petron outscored his three section opponents 40-10 to reach state, where he advanced into the quarterfinals with an 8-4 first-round victory. Petron finished with a mark of 18-8.
Logan Kapphahn, junior, Little Falls
Kapphahn started the season strong, upsetting the top seed to reach the finals at the sterling Paul Bunyan Invite in December, then kept the momentum rolling as the year went along. By the end of the season, Kapphahn found himself ranked in the top 10, finishing with a record of 34-7.
Chris Ortman, junior, Pierz
After narrowly missing out on placing at state a year ago, Ortman left little doubt this time around. First, Ortman delivered a perfect performance in state team competition to land a spot on the Class A all-tournament team for the fifth-place Pioneers, then he went on to reach the semifinals and take fourth place individually. Ortman’s record was 41-6.
Zach Scott, junior, Holdingford
Scott spent the better part of the regular season bouncing back and forth between 126 and 132, then made a home at 126 for the postseason. Scott made good on the decision, avenging an earlier loss in the first round to start off a rollercoaster ride through the state tournament that ended with him on the medal stand in sixth place. Scott finished with a 37-10 record.
Dan Mushel, senior, Little Falls
A master of funk, Mushel’s style led to some high-scoring and entertaining bouts in the heart of the Little Falls lineup throughout the year. It also put the Flyers senior on the top-seed line at the section tournament and led to a placing effort at the Paul Bunyan Invite. Mushel closed with a 17-16 record.
Kolton Eischens, sophomore, Pierz
Whoever coined the term “sophomore slump” didn’t have Eischens in mind. After seeing spot duty as a freshman, the Pierz middleweight surged all the way into the state finals at 145 in Class A this season. Eischens put together a 36-10 record on the year.
Brad Kroll, sophomore, Royalton-Upsala
Kroll enjoyed a breakthrough season to help give the Royals a devastating presence in the middle of the lineup this winter. After reaching the round of 12 at the 69-team Rumble on the Red in late December, Kroll kept the momentum going all the way into the postseason, advancing through one of the toughest brackets in Section 7A to reach state, capping his year with a 26-10 record.
Mitch Lange, junior, Royalton-Upsala
Lange, the Morrison County Record Wrestler of the Year for the second season in a row, saved his best performance for last, making the jump to the top of the podium this year by winning the Class A 160-pound state championship. Lange also surpassed 200 career wins at the section tournament, posting a season mark of 40-2.
Jordon Goebel, senior, Pierz
The upward trajectory of Goebel’s career continued in a big way this winter, as the Pierz veteran was a key piece in the Pioneers running through the regular season with only one defeat. Goebel followed that up by earning a spot on the Class A all-tournament team with two pins and a technical fall, while also qualifying for state individually. Goebel had a 36-6 record on the year.
Tyler Gastecki, senior, Little Falls
Gastecki regularly gave up weight in order to bump up against tougher opponents for the Flyers, and even more regularly rewarded those decisions with wins. The Little Falls standout capped his career by pinning his way through the Section 8AAA individual tournament, earning him a trip to state at 170 and a season-end record of 37-6.
Ryley Smude, senior, Pierz
Smude played a key role in the Pioneers’ trek to fifth place in the Class A state team tournament, giving Pierz lineup flexibility with his ability to rack up victories at 195 as well as 220. Smude’s pin all but sealed the consolation championship for Pierz, while he also qualified for state individually at 195, finishing with a record of 29-9.
Trysten Ross, senior, Little Falls
Ross provided plenty of muscle in the upperweights for the Flyers with a vicious cradle that led to a bountiful supply of bonus points. Early on in the year, Ross powered his way to a championship at the Paul Bunyan Invite with a lightning-quick 39-second pin in the finals, then concluded his 36-8 season with three more pins en route to placing fifth in the state tournament.
Curtis Brisk, senior, Pierz
With most duals long since wrapped up by the time the final bout rolled around, Pierz was plenty pleased to have Brisk provided the exclamation point at 285 this year. Brisk climbed as high as No. 4 in the state rankings by punishing opponents with his strength, reaching the state tournament. Brisk closed with a record of 25-11.