By Tyler Ohmann
An impressive nine Pierz wrestlers competed at the Class A State Tournament, March 3-4.
None was more impressive than senior Brett Kapsner, who wrestled his way to the title match.
Kapsner won via pin, 10-0 major decision and 3-1 decision to land himself in the title match against Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Caden Steffen, the top-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds entering the tournament.
Kapsner had watched Steffen wrestle teammate Matt Kummet in the team title match just two nights prior.
“Matt (Kummet) wrestled him really tough, and I knew he’d be a straight forward, really strong, bulky guy,” Kapsner said. “To beat him you had to get him out of his groove, and I obviously wanted to win it, so it was hard.”
Kapsner wrestled Steffen tough, but got caught in the first round, getting pinned at the 1:34 mark to cede the 182-pound title.
“It was really cool to wrestle at that time, at that stage, when you’re used to watching it,” Kapsner said. “
Kapsner concluded his senior season with a 40-2 overall record.
Though it ended with an injury, another Pioneers senior had a strong state tournament.
Brandon Ortman wrestled his way through the 132-pound bracket. He won 16-5 and 10-3 in his first two rounds,
but ran into eventual 132-pound winner Tanner Pasvogel of Sibley East in the semifinals, falling 5-2.
Ortman then lost via injury to the third place finisher, and had to forfeit his fifth place match and settle for sixth due to that injury.
Ortman concluded his senior year with a 26-5 record.
Two other Pierz seniors hit the mat at the tournament.
Kummet, who entered the tournament undefeated, went 2-2, falling to a pair of strong wrestlers.
Kummet pinned his opening opponent, but fell 3-2 to fourth place finisher Jake Erckenbracker.
He then pinned another opponent to earn a shot against Royalton-Upsala’s Jason Kasella, who edged him 3-1 on his way to a third place finish.
Kummet settled for a 30-2 season record in his senior season.
The other Pierz senior was Andrew Tomala at 145 pounds.
Tomala lost 3-1 to eventual runner-up Maverick Jackson of Zumbrota-Mazeppa in his opening round. He then fell 8-1 to end his run.
Junior Jalen Jansen wrestled at 152 pounds for the Pioneers.
Jansen was pinned by eventual champ Tyler Ryan of Kenyon-Wanamingo in the opening round, and then lost 6-2.
His season record ended at 35-10.
A trio of sophomores were also in action at state for Pierz.
Jake Andres lost 6-4 in overtime in his opening match, which ended up being his last, as his opponent fell in the next round. Andres concluded the year at 32-7.
Carson Huls lost 4-1 to eventual fifth place finisher Trenten Rogich, which ended his year at 28-11.
Reese Kapsner lost twice, falling 11-3 and 3-1 to end his year at 36-7.
Lastly, Freshman Brandon Funk was beaten by tech fall and 6-0 decision in his two matches at 106 pounds. He concluded the season with a 34-16 record.
“It is an extremely grueling tournament when you have to put your heart and soul into wrestling three matches in the team tournament the day before,” Jensen said. “But we had nine individuals qualify for state, and that’s an accomplishment.”