Card wrestling: Three heading to state for AlexandriaTrent Piepenburg, Tony Hubbard and Justin Cumberbatch will represent the Cardinals in the State Class A tournament starting Friday.
Alexandria’s Tony Hubbard, Justin Cumberbatch and Trent Piepenburg will be heading to the State Class AAA individual wrestling tournament next week after finishing in the top two during Section 8AAA action at Sauk Rapids-Rice Friday and Saturday. Action for the three will begin at 9 a.m.
Hubbard and Cumberbatch came away with section titles at 145 and 220 pounds, respectively, while Piepenburg was second at 106 pounds.
Hubbard, a junior, used a 10-3 decision over Craig Maas of Bemidji and a 4-2 decision over No. 8 ranked Josh Halicke of Sartell to reach the finals, where he edged out St. Cloud Tech’s Thomas O’Brien 2-1 in the championship.
“If there was an award for the most valuable wrestler in the tournament, Tony no doubt would have received this award,” said head coach Tom Ellison. “Tony’s 145 weight class was talented and deep.
“There were four wrestlers with previous state tournament experience and two others that had outstanding records. Tony had to face a Bemidji opponent with a 24-13 record in the opening match, [and] won that match 10-3.
“Then he had to face the No. 1 seed and used solid technique during the match to find the score tied at two apiece late,” Ellison continued. “With five seconds on the clock, Tony locked up a throw on his Sartell opponent and tossed him to score the takedown as time ran out.
“The crowd was stunned, and the Alex fans erupted with joy!
“In the championship match, Tony had to face a Tech wrestler that had been in the previous two state tournaments, and was acting like he had his third wrapped up,” said Ellison. “Again, Tony used perfect positioning throughout the match and was able to keep the pressure on the very defensive Tech wrestler to get a stalling point awarded in his favor for the lead with 30 seconds left.
“Tony held off several desperation attempts to claim his Section 8AAA championship.”
Cumberbatch, a freshman, pinned his way to the finals with a 31 second fall over Jess Hulden of Moorhead and a 3:10 fall over David Copa of Little Falls. In the championship match, Cumberbatch earned a 15-8 decision win over Bryce Kirchner of St. Cloud Apollo.
“Justin had a great season wrestling in the upper weights, given the fact he is just a 9th grader,” said his coach. “His section opponents tried to use his youth against him by trying to come at him early in the match very aggressively in hopes of rattling his confidence.
“Each of his opponents tried, but all three could not succeed. Justin picked up two pins and a 15-8 win in the finals to extend his season to the state tournament.”
Piepenburg, a sophomore, reached the finals by technical fall over Andy Schlosser of Brainerd in 6:07, then a 12-4 decision over Justin Jenks of Little Falls. He faced Brian Maas of Bemidji in the championship, losing 2-0.
“Trent dominated his first two opponents to gain the finals,” said Ellison. “In the championship match, he faced a wrestler from Bemidji that, during the regular season, he had to go into three overtime periods to gain the victory.
“The Bemidji wrestler was able to slow the match down and get a 2-0 win over Trent.
“Trent has been a model to all of our team members of how to wrestle a match,” said Ellison. “The rest of the varsity team members are fortunate to have a leadoff man such as Trent to set the tone and pace of our wrestling action.”
The Cardinals also had Blake Olhausen (113 pounds) finish in fourth place, Gage Sonczalla (152) and Shawn Nelson (170) in fifth and Dylan Kriese (120) and Jake Nienaber (138) in sixth.
Olhausen opened his tournament action with a pin in 5:29 over Jake Fernholz of Sartell, then fell to Grant Dullinger of St. Cloud Apollo 13-4, dropping the Cardinal into the wrestlebacks. There Olhausen defeated Taylor Laidlaw of Moorhead 8-5 before falling to Axel Lange of Little Falls by a 9-1 major decision.
Kriese, wrestling at 120 pounds, had a bye in his first round, then fell to eventual champion Frank Wilczek of Little Falls in a 0:52 pin. In the wrestlebacks, Kriese had another bye, then decisioned Cody Freyholtz of Bemidji 6-4. He fell to Matt Braun of St. Cloud Apollo by pin in 1:42, then lost to Jon Pelach of Sartell 15-3 for sixth place.
Nienaber opened with a 2:48 pin over Matt Fenalson of Sartell at 138 pounds, then fell to eventual champion Grant Nehring of St. Cloud Apollo by technical fall in 2:23. In the wrestlebacks, Nienaber fell to Nate Krepp of Sauk Rapids-Rice 6-3 and Gannon Strain of Bemidji 7-3.
Sonczalla finished fifth as he met the eventual champion in his opening match, falling to Nam Nguyen of St. Cloud Apollo in a 1:49 pin. Sonczlla then pinned Keith Yorek of Little Falls in 2:30 before falling to Nate Adams of Brainerd 3-0. He stopped Joey Reed of St. Cloud Tech by technical fall 17-0 for fifth place.
Mike Schluter, wrestling at 160 pounds, fell to champion Daniel Vitale of Sartell in a 2:19 pin, then fell to Jordan Petrone of Little Falls 9-0.
At 170 pounds, Nelson lost to A.J. Wheeler of Moorhead by a 4:50 pin. He stopped Austin Mehr of St. Cloud Apollo in the first wrestleback match in 1:26 before falling to Jed Anderson of Sartell 13-3. Nelson defeated Tyler Gastecki of Little Falls by a 12-4 major decision to finish fifth.
Grant Hockert lost his first match at 182 pounds, falling to Dylan Mehr of St. Cloud Apollo 13-3, then fell to Chuck Rudy of Sauk Rapids-Rice in the first wrestleback match by a 2:17 pin.
At 195 pounds, Ariel Way lost his first match to Casey Biever of Brainerd in a technical fall in 5:31, then fell to Brody Wilander of Bemidji by 4:35 pin.