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Piepenburg voted most valuable wrestler

Senior Trent Piepenburg (top) wrestles Jarod Julkowski of Coon Rapids during the first round of the Class AAA state tournament. Piepenburg wrapped up his career with the second most wins in school history. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria wrestling team looked back at some season highlights and handed out awards during its 2013-2014 banquet Monday night.

The Cardinals had six state participants this season to go along with being the Central Lakes Conference runner-up and making a push in the section tournament. Despite losing three seniors, head coach Tom Ellison expects the Cardinals to repeat its success next year.

“As a team, we finished second in the conference to a strong Willmar team and lost to the section champions Moorhead in the team section tournament,” Ellison said. “Both of those teams return a lot of their lineups so our guys know they have to really step it up this offseason and make a big push for improvements if we are to overtake either of those teams for a conference or section title.”

In the team awards, senior Trent Piepenburg was selected Most Valuable and Most Dedicated for the Cardinals this season.

He was also automatically inducted to the Cardinals Wrestling Hall of Fame after finishing with 142 wins in his varsity career. To qualify for the hall of fame, wrestlers need to either have more than 100 career varsity wins or place in the state tournament. Piepenburg did both as his career 142 victories puts him second all-time for Alexandria, and he also placed fourth in state as a sophomore in the 106-pound weight class.

Dylan Kriese was named Most Improved after finishing third on the team in wins with a 31-10 record. Ben Johnson earned the Diamond in the Rough award.

Justin Cumberbatch earned Most Takedowns and Most Pins for the Cardinals in a season where he was crowned the Class AAA state champion at 195 pounds. He had 67 takedowns on the season and 18 pins.

Academics was a strong point for the Cardinals this season as it received a Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Gold Academic award for having an average team GPA of 3.5 or higher.

With captains Piepenburg, Jacob Schiltgen and Shawn Nelson all graduating, the Cardinals will need some younger wrestlers to step up into that role next year.

“All three (seniors) have been our captains the last two years and we hope that our underclassmen recognize that loss and make solid attempts to step up and try to fill those shoes,” Ellison said.

Cumberbatch earned some state recognition by being selected as part of the Minnesota Elite wrestling team. The team is comprised of the top sophomore and junior wrestlers in Minnesota and will compete at a national duals tournament in Indiana on April 11 through 13.

Kriese, Piepenburg, Blake Olhausen, Schiltgen, Dustin Neu and Cumberbatch were all named all-conference this season. The Cardinals’ state participants were Kriese, Piepenburg, Olhausen, Neu, Mike Schluter and Cumberbatch.


ALEXANDRIA – Justin Cumberbatch – 33-3 record, 67 takedowns, 18 pins; Dylan Kriese – 31-10 record, 51 takedowns, 12 pins; Blake Olhausen – 32-11 record, 44 takedowns, 11 pins; Dustin Neu – 29-10 record, 41 takedowns, 12 pins; Adam Johnson – 20-18 record, 38 takedowns, 4 pins; Trent Piepenburg – 29-11 record, 31 takedowns, 14 pins; Ben Bogart – 21-17 record, 25 takedowns, 4 pins; Ben Johnson – 12-11 record, 21 takedowns, 3 pins; Tristan Johnson – 9-12 record, 18 takedowns, 5 pins; Shawn Nelson – 10-17 record, 18 takedowns, 3 pins; Mike Schluter – 10-9 record, 12 takedowns, 7 pins; Quintin Kluver-Longfellow – 9-17 record, 12 takedowns, 4 pins; Jake Nienaber – 10-22 record, 10 takedowns, 1 pin; Jacob Schiltgen – 10-13 record, 9 takedowns, 2 pins; Tryg Burgau – 6-14 record, 7 takedowns, 3 pins; Dan Oberg – 6-17 record, 6 takedowns, 5 pins; Jay Kohls – 1-5 record, 2 takedowns, 1 pin; Gage Zieske – 1-0 record, 1 takedown; Mitch Kremer – 3-5 record, 1 takedown, 1 pin; Chris Jorud – 1-3 record, 1 takedown, 1 pin; Logan Kliendl – 0-2 record, 1 takedown; Dakota Keller – 1-2 record, 0 takedowns, 0 pins;

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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