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Wrestling: Cumberbatch takes title as Alex finishes fourth at Big Ole

Alexandria's Justin Cumberbatch (top) wrestles Rocori's Ryan Vigil in the championship match at the 195-pound weight class on Saturday during the Big Ole Invitational. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria wrestling team used a first-place finish from Justin Cumberbatch and six other top-three finishes to take fourth as a team at the final Big Ole tournament at Jefferson High School on Saturday.

Cumberbatch didn’t disappoint as the third-ranked wrestler in the state at 195 as he went into his finals match against Rocori’s Ryan Vigil as the favorite. Vigil lasted into the second period, but Cumberbatch put him away with a pin once they got there to secure Alexandria’s only individual title of the day.

“Today was a good tournament,” Cumberbatch said. “I also feel very comfortable whenever we’re wrestling at home, so I knew that was kind of an advantage. I just came in and did my best. It definitely felt great. This is the last Big Ole we’re going to have at this school, so we definitely had to do our best. It was just a good feeling coming out here and ending up placing first.”

He was hardly alone on the podium for Alexandria. The Cardinals got a second-place finish from Mike Schluter at 182 pounds. Dustin Neu also finished second, but it came after he had to withdraw before the title match at 152 pounds. Neu won his first two matches, but got tangled up in his semifinal match and suffered an elbow injury as he tried to keep his opponent from rolling him over.

He was able to finish that match and pick up the win, but Neu and his Cardinal coaches decided to error on the side of caution and keep him out with the hope of making sure he is healthy coming down the final stretch of the season.

“We just made a decision that he wouldn’t wrestle the final,” head coach Tom Ellison said. “He had a really tough opponent from Albany, a guy who took fifth in state last year. So rather than have him go out and risk injury further, we wanted to make sure we had Dustin for next Friday.”

Four other Alexandria wrestlers took third in their weight classes. Blake Olhausen and Trent Piepenburg both won titles last year at the Big Ole tournament but settled for third this season. Piepenburg won 12-0 in his third-place match at 132 pounds. Olhausen won 3-0 at 138 in his final match. Ben Bogart and Dylan Kriese also took third as Bogart won 1-0 at 106 to wrap up his tournament and Kriese won 5-1 in overtime at 120.

“We had a good day,” Ellison said. “This is a tough tournament, and we had some good rounds wrestling with a couple guys that ran into some tough competition. Maybe they didn’t finish in the championship matches, but they shook off that semifinal loss and came back and wrestled hard in the consolation bracket and came back and took third. So I thought it was a good showing in the last round for us.”

Plenty of others also finished on the podium for Alexandria. Adam Johnson was fourth at 113 pounds and Tristan Johnson did the same at 145. Ben Johnson was fifth at 106 and Jake Nienaber finished fifth at 160, while Tryg Burgau was sixth at 126 pounds.

Minnewaska took home a title in the only championship match the Lakers were represented in as Ryan Stottler won 10-6 in the 170-pound final. Minnewaska’s Joseph Weaver was third at 113 after beating Adam Johnson 14-9 in their final match. The Lakers’ Kashawn Brown then had a fourth-place finish in the heavyweight bracket.

The team title went to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. It was the third Big Ole tournament title for the Class A program since the Fighting Saints joined the tournament in 2009. They edged defending champion Moorhead by just two points, while Frazee finished third, right in front of Alexandria.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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