The Cardinals will have six representatives competing in the individual state wrestling tournament this weekend in St. Paul.
Dylan Kriese, Trent Piepenburg, Blake Olhausen, Dustin Neu, Mike Schluter and Justin Cumberbatch all qualified for state during a successful Section 8AAA tournament for the Cardinals.
The first round of the Class AAA individual tournament begins at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Cumberbatch was one of three Alexandria wrestlers who finished in first place at the section tournament. He used three straight pins to wrap up the 195 pound championship.
His performance was so dominant that he sometimes became a spectator for his teammates during his matches. While wrestling his semifinal match against Bemidji’s Brody Wilander, Cumberbatch found himself keeping a close watch on Schluter who was wrestling a mat over.
Once he saw Schluter finish with a pin, Cumberbatch followed suit with a pin of his own.
“Justin later admitted that he was watching Mike a bit more than he should have and cheering for a positive outcome for his teammate while his match was going on,” Ellison said.
Olhausen began the tournament as the second seeded wrestler at 138 pounds.
But top seeded Little Falls wrestler Dan Mushel was upset in the semifinals, and Olhausen defeated Sartell’s Jonathan Pelach 4-0 for his second straight section championship.
Neu finished in first place at 152 pounds after picking up a dramatic comeback victory over St. Cloud Tech’s Cole Schreder in the championship match.
He trailed Schreder by two points in the title match when he decided to go for a throw with 20 seconds left. Neu successfully tossed his opponent onto his back and ended up with a 9-5 victory and his first section title.
Piepenburg won his first two matches at 132 pounds before losing a 4-1 decision to Moorhead’s Kenny Mark in the championship match.
Piepenburg then needed to win a true second place match to qualify for the state tournament. He defeated Bemidji’s Dylan Sauceda 7-3 in that match to advance.
“He was the only one we had in true second, so we were all nervous about him getting it done,” Ellison said.
Schluter pinned two of his opponents at 182 pounds to finish in second and advance to the state tournament.
He cruised to the semifinals match where he ran into Moorhead’s Ryan Schock, who twice pinned Schluter in the past two weeks. But this time it was Schluter who avoided trouble and put Schock on his back.
“You had to be there, but I think you could see a season of disappointments and missed opportunities come flowing out of that pin hold Mike had on the Moorhead wrestler,” Ellison said. “There was no getting out of that hold and Mike got the pin and a trip to state.”
Dylan Kriese won a close 12-10 upset decision over Brainerd’s Andy Schlosser in a 120 pound quarterfinal match on his way to a second place section finish.
Kriese lost a close 4-3 decision to Sauk Rapids-Rice’s Taylor Rau in the championship match.
ALEXANDRIA – 106 – Ben Bogart, fourth place; 113 – Adam Johnson, fourth place; 120 – Dylan Kriese, second place;126 – Tryg Burgau, sixth place; 132 – Trent Piepenburg, second place; 138 – Blake Olhausen, first place; 145 – Tristan Johnson, fifth place; 152 – Dustin Neu, first place; 160 – Jake Nienaber, 0-2; 170 – Quinton Kluver-Longfellow, fifth place; 182 – Mike Schluter, second place; 195 – Justin Cumberbatch, first place; 285 – Dan Oberg, 0-2