Brainerd’s Bryton Mutz hasn’t started as fast as he would have liked this season, finishing second at the Blue Earth tournament and getting pinned in Thursday’s dual meet at Alexandria.
The Warrior senior regrouped Saturday to capture the 106-pound championship in the 46th annual Paul Bunyan Invitational at Brainerd High School.
After receiving an opening-round bye, Mutz pinned Moorhead’s Ethan Tallakson in 2:59 in the quarterfinals and decisioned Michael Ramirez of Burnsville 9-7 in the semifinals.
In the finals, Mutz was in control the majority of regulation against Cole Jones of Grand Rapids, eading 2-0 until Jones reversed him in the third to tie it and send it into overtime. Mutz took Jones down with six seconds left for the win.
“Toward the end there, I was getting a little nervous,” Mutz said, “but I was just thinking you’ve got to keep going, you’ve got this, don’t give up, keep going at him. Then, in the end, I guess that paid off. I took him down, got the two, and it was great.”
Mutz (6-2) couldn’t recall wrestling Jones before, but was told that he had defeated Jones in a previous meeting.
“That kind of gave me a little boost, but you still can’t go out there thinking you’re going to win just because you beat him before because they get better,” Mutz said.
Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran said Mutz had an “OK” Blue Earth tournament before wrestling a “disappointing” match against Alexandria.
“He came back after that and wrestled a good tournament,” Boran said. “He wrestled well, he wrestled good kids, and beat them. Good for him because now hopefully this brings some confidence and momentum for him and he’ll keep rolling for the rest of the year.”
Mutz was one of eight lakes area wrestlers who made the finals, one of five who won championships. Triston Rubner (132) and Drey Loge (145), both of Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, Pierz’s Brad Meyer (152) and Connor Swanson (285) of Little Falls were the other lakes area champions.
Runners-up were Connor Scherping (145) and Trysten Ross (195), both of Little Falls, and Casey Biever (220) of Brainerd. Meanwhile, in the team competition, Frazee dethroned 5-time defending champion Foley, accumulating 193.5 points to win the title. Foley was runner-up with 171.
Rubner (7-1) beat Moorhead’s Kenny Mark 5-0 for his title. Following a scoreless first period, Rubner scored an escape and a takedown in the second for a 3-0 edge.
“In the third, I chose down, and I got another escape,” Rubner said. “I turned him there at the end, and almost pinned him. It was a close, even match.
“It was a great accomplishment, especially coming in here as the fourth seed and coming in and taking first.”
Loge pinned his way through the tournament. He recorded a 1:31 fall against Alex Felton of Virginia, a 52-second pin against RJ Olson of Moorhead and a 3:37 fall against Ben Rogers of Mound Westonka. In the finals, he pinned Little Falls’ Connor Scherping in 3:37.
“We were told Little Falls was great cradlers, and a great team,” Loge said. “I have total respect for the guy. I went out thinking I was going to have to wrestle my best match of the year, and that’s what I decided to do.”
Loge remained unbeaten, raising his record to 9-0.
“It means I’m off to a good start,” he said, when asked what winning the tournament meant to him. “It doesn’t mean I can slack, by any means though. I have to keep pushing it in the practice room and hopefully our team gets better as well.”
Flyers coach Mike Hendrickson said Loge turned the table against Scherping.
“Connor got tied up,” Hendrickson said. “We’re a cradle team, but we got cradled, so that’s kind of crazy.”
Meyer (7-1) opened with a 1:47 pin against Sean Harrington of Burnsville. In the quarterfinals, he beat Foley’s Brandon Halverson 6-4 and decisioned Mark Sontag of Chisago Lakes 5-0 in the semifinals. In the finals, he blanked Frazee’s Bruce Lemon 5-0.
Meyer’s strategy: “To go after it,” he said. “Sweep the side leg is what I’m good at, what I’m going to keep doing. It works for me.
“I came into this tournament knowing I could win it. I always wanted to do it. I had my chance and I had to capitalize on it.”
Swanson (8-0) also pinned his way through the tournament. Curtis Brisk of Piez was his first victim in 2:21, followed by Kreston Gammon of Becker in
3:38 and Jonah Westbury of Chisago Lakes in 4:55. In the finals, he pinned Bemidji’s Alex Johnson at 2:50.
“I was just trying not to get shot on, and just stay on top,” Swanson said.
Swanson didn’t wrestle in the Paul Bunyan last year due to injury.
“He’s been battling injuries his whole career,” Hendrickson said. “Last year, Johnson actually hurt him in the section individual tournament, and he couldn’t wrestle for the team portion at state, which was kind of a killer for us, not having that heavyweight on the end.
“He had a super tournament. He beat three tough, tough kids, with Johnson being one of them in the finals. He’s getting a little clout. In the last rankings he was 10th. Rankings are whatever, but for him he’s got Roger Mischke (of the Guillotine Wrestling Newspaper) sitting in the stands.
That’s probably going to move him up a little bit because he beat a couple of tough kids.”
Biever pinned Becker’s Alex Lindberg at 1:14 in the opening round and beat Tommy Wychor of Moorhead 6-3 in the quarterfinals. He decisioned Cory Wensmann of Royalton 8-3 in the semis before losing 7-1 to Frazee’s Tony Reurink in the finals.
“Casey wrestled a real tough kid (in the finals),” Warriors co-head coach Jim Kath said. “He was a solid wrestler. Casey just had a hard time scoring points on him. He gave up a couple early points so it was just hard for him to come back.
“Casey was in the finals last year, too, (at 195). He moved up to the 220-pound weight class this year. He had a good tournament overall. Those were tough kid he lost to. He would have liked to win it but he didn’t wrestle a terrible match.” Ross pinned Grand Rapids’ Will Rusch in 51 seconds in the quarterfinals and decisioned Foley’s Mitch Sruffert 11-5 in the semifinals. State champion Chase Morlock of Moorhead pinned Ross at 2:41 in the finals.
“Trysten’s real physical, but this guy made Trysten look kind of tiny, which I didn’t think anybody could do,” Hendrickson said.
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.
Team scores: 1-Frazee 193.5, 2-Foley 171, 3-Bemidji 142, 4-Moorhead 140, 5-Little Falls 133.5, 6-Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 119, 7-Chisago Lakes 107, 8-Brainerd 106.5, 9-Becker 103, 10-Mound-Westonka 102, 11-Grand Rapids 90, 12-Pierz 83.5, 13-Royalton 40.5, 14-Burnsville 39, 15-Virginia 1
106: Championship: Bryton Mutz (Brd) dec. Cole Jones (GR) 4-2 ot; 3rd: Tanner Reetz (Fra) dec. Anthony Philipson (PLPRB) 4-3; 5th: Michael Ramirez (Bur) dec. Lee Schmalz (Bec) 9-2; 7th: Ethan Tallakson (Moor) dec. AJ Jenks (LF) 5-2
113: Championship: Brian Maas (Bem) maj. dec. Bryon Byer (Fra) 11-3; 3rd: Logan Kapphahn (LF) dec. Joe Palik (GR) 6-3; 5th: Aaron Sistrunk (CL) maj. dec. Neil Schmalz (Bec) 9-1; 7th: Andy Schlosser (Brd) pinned Joe Jensen (Roy) 3:22
120: Championship: Tyler Funk (Fol) pinned Sam Bennyhoff (MW) 5:51; 3rd: Kyle Schoenecker (CL) dec. David Brenden (GR) 2-0; 5th: Luke Schmalz (Bec) pinned Brandon Majer (PLPRB) 2:33; 7th: Jack O’Brien (Bur) pinned Drew Bruen (Brd) 2:34
126: Championship: Tristan Manderfeld (Fol) pinned Dylan Connell (CL) 3:56; 3rd: Jacob Rositas (Moor) dec. Austin Skillings (Fra) 3-2; 5th: Dylan Sauceda (Bem) injury default over Chris Ortman (Prz); 7th: Ryan Reid (MW) injury default over Justin Jenks (LF)
132: Championship: Triston Rubner dec. (PLPRB) Kenny Mark (Moor) 5-0; 3rd: Drake Heath (MW) dec. Logan Crosby (Bem) 6-4; 5th: Alonso Quintana (Bur) injury default over Keith Thell (Fol); 7th: Axel Lange (LF) pinned Evan Woitalla (Prz) 2:32
138: Championship: Hunter Sorenson (Fra) dec. Craig Maas (Bem) 6-3; 3rd: Carter Nielsen (Fol) tech. fall Cody Ferris (Bec); 5th: Dan Babineau (Brd) injury default over Dan Mushel (LF); 7th: Jackson Schauer (GR) dec. Jace Loge (PLPRB) 5-1
145: Championship: Drey Loge (PLPRB) pinned Connor Scherping (LF) 3:37; 3rd: Quade Zupko (CL) pinned Brett Kapsner (Prz) :40; 5th: Ben Rogers (MW) dec. John Gehling (Fol) 4-0; 7th: Robert Treuer (Bem) dec. Victor Flores (Bur) 6-0
152: Championship: Brad Meyer (Prz) dec. Bruce Lemon (Fra) 5-0; 3rd: Luke Boran (Brd) dec. Mark Sontag (CL) 7-0; 5th: Brandon Halverson (Fol) dec. Nick Gravdahl (PLPRB) 11-7; 7th: Derek McMahan (LF) dec. Gannon Strain (Bem) 7-3
160: Championship: Mitch Lange (Roy) dec. Joe Carpenter (Moor) 6-5; 3rd: Tyler Hebig (MW) dec. Luke Kelvington (Fol) 5-3; 5th: Jordan Petrone (LF) dec. Eric Dudek (Bec) 5-2; 7th: Joe Virga (CL) maj. dec. Erik Moltzan (Fra) 9-1
170: Championship: Kade Johnson (Bem) dec. Colton Vekved (Bec) 6-2; 3rd: Tyler Ziegler (Fra) dec. Ryder Schmidt (MW) 5-1; 5th: Jace Engelmann (Brd) dec. Sam Grove (Moor) 2-1; 7th: John Garceau (Fol) injury default over Nick Lochner (Prz)
182: Championship: Jamison Evans (GR) dec. AJ Wheeler (Moor) 4-2; 3rd: Bryan Tierney (MW) dec. Kody Vandenkyle (Fra) 7-1; 5th: Bobby Lee (Bec) dec. Justin Mackenthun (PLPRB) 8-3; 7th: Tyler Midas (Fol) maj. dec. Kevin Moruri (Bur) 8-0
195: Championship: Chase Morlock (Moor) pinned Trysten Ross (LF) 2:41; 3rd: Mitch Sruffert (Fol) dec. Travis Johnson (Prz) 6-2; 5th: Brett Gildersleeve (Fra) dec. Mason Olson (Bec) 9-5; 7th: Will Rusch (GR) dec. Brody Wilander (Bem) 7-3
220: Championship: Tony Reurink (Fra) dec. Casey Biever (Brd) 7-1; 3rd: Mitch Keeler (Fol) dec. Tommy Wychor (Moor) 5-3; 5th: Cory Wensmann (Roy) dec. Ryley Smude (Prz) 3-1 ot; 7th: David Copa (LF) pinned John Dahl (Bur) 2:43
285: Championship: Connor Swanson (LF) pinned Alex Johnson (Bem) 2:50; 3rd: Jonah Westbury (CL) pinned Cameron Svihla (Fol) 2:18; 5th: Garrett Malstrom (Fra) dec. Sam Adams (Brd) 5-3; 7th: Kreston Gammon (Bec) dec. Jared Adkins (PLPRB) 4-3.