It’s a first for Jeff Flickinger and it’s been long enough to almost be a first again for Luke Boran.
The two Brainerd Warrior seniors survived true second-place matches Saturday at Brainerd High School to advance to the Class 3A state individual tournament.
Boran last went to state as an eighth-grader. He pinned Little Falls’ Jordan Petrone in 1:14 during his 152-pound true second match to return.
“I knew I could probably beat him on my feet and then ride him tough,” said Boran. “I got a quick first takedown and got my bar just like I like it and turned him over and pinned him.
“It felt really good getting the win and going back to state. It’s a long time coming. I had some ups and downs throughout the years, but it’s nice to get back there.”
Boran advanced through his bracket by pinning St. Cloud Tech’s Jeremy Northom and Alexandria’s Dustin Neu. That set up his championship match with Sauk Rapids’ Chris Keske. The top-seeded Boran was hampered by an elbow injury and Keske took advantage, pinning him at 3:54.
“I took a shot in that wasn’t probably my best shot and the guy caught me with my arm up and dumped me right to my back,” said Boran. “The coaches helped a lot to get me back mentally. I was pretty mad after that match and coach (Jim) Kath came up and told me I wasn’t done yet. They told me this next match (the true second match) wasn’t one to lose, but it was one to win to make it to state. That really got me ready to go.”
Flickinger also had to regroup after his championship match loss to top-seeded and fifth-ranked Joe Carpenter of Moorhead. Carpenter earned the 7-2 decision to send Flickinger into a true-second match against Tech’s Patrick Niehaus. The No. 2 seed in the 160-pound bracket was relentless on his attack and it paid off as he scored a technical fall. An impressive pick of an ankle ended the match at 5:40.
“That last takedown was huge,” said Flickinger. “I was kind of second-guessing myself while I was out there because he could have head-locked me with a big move, but I was confident in my ankle pick there at the end and took him down and won.”
Flickinger wasn’t too upset about his championship loss and that helped him for his true-second match.
“(Carpenter) was a tough kid, fifth in state, and I took him down right away and I thought I had a chance,” said Flickinger. “I got on top of him and had a good bar, but he was a tough wrestler. Nothing really wrong there. I just had to put that loss behind me.
“I knew I beat the kid I was wrestling for true second earlier in the year so it was just motivation. It’s my senior year. I haven’t made it to state and I wanted to go so I just left it all on the mat.”
The senior from Pillager opened with a tech fall over Sauk Rapids’ Richard Carriveau and decisioned Zach Pederson of Sartell in the semifinals to advance to the finals.
“I’ll see who I get for the first round of the draw at state,” said Flickinger. “That’s kind of the big thing. But placing at state has definitely been a goal all year. I think I have a chance. I lost to some ranked kids. They were close matches. We’ll see what happens I guess.”
Connor Scherping and Conor Swanson will lead a caravan of four Little Falls Flyers to the state tournament. All four Flyers finished second.
Scherping lost to defending state champion, top-ranked, top-seeded and unbeaten Mitch Bengston of St. Cloud Apollo by a pin in the 138-pound bracket.
Scherping, who is ranked 10th in the state and advanced to state last year, pinned Alexandria’s Jacob Neinaber and Sartell’s Zach Motschke to match up with Bengston.
“I just wanted to go all out against him,” said Scherping. “I had nothing to lose. This weight class is an easier way into state because nobody wants to face (Bengston), but I knew second was my way into state.
“Getting to the final was pretty easy. I had pins all the way through so it wasn’t to difficult.”
Swanson, who was injured before last year’s section tournament, lost his championship heavyweight bout to Tech’s Jerrad Nieland, who is ranked fourth. Swanson, who is ranked eighth, pinned Alex’s Dan Oberg and earned a 6-3 decision over Bemidji’s Alex Johnson to advance to the final.
“I just tried to go for his legs and stay out of his throw,” said Swanson. “I just knew I had to stay away from his throw because that’s how I lost the last time I wrestled him.
“Making it to state was definitely something I wanted for my senior year.”
Also advancing to state for the Flyers is Tyler Gastecki at 170 pounds. He lost to Bemidji’s Kade Johnson, who is ranked sixth, in the final and rebounded to beat Alexandria’s Mike Schluter with a 1:30 pin in the true-second match. 182-pound Joe Reis didn’t need a true second. He lost to Sartell’s Daniel Vitale in the championship.
106: Final: Peter Nelson (SCA) dec. Grant Brendemuhl (M) 7-0; Third-place: Logan Kapphahn (LF) maj. dec. Austin Brenner (Tech) 10-2; Fifth-place: Ben Bogart (Alex) dec. Bryton Mutz (Brd) 6-4; Semifinals: Nelson dec. Mutz 9-2; Brendemuhl dec. Kappahahn 10-3: Consolation semis: Brenner pinned Mutz 4:57; Kappahahn dec. Bogart 2-0
113: Final: Brian Maas (Bem) pinned Drew Bienusa (Sar) 2:07; True second: Taylor Rau (SRR) pinned Bienusa ; Third-place: Rau dec. Trent Piepenburg (Alex) 4-3; Fifth-place: Ethan Tallakson (M) maj. dec. AJ Jenks (LF); Semifinals: Maas dec. Rau 8-4, Bienusa dec. Piepenburg 7-4; Consolation semis: Rau maj. dec. Tallakson 10-2, Piepenburg pinned Jenks 1:47
120: Final: Blake Olhausen (Alex) pinned Kory Keske (SRR) 4:48; Third-place: Josh Beack (LF) pinned Dylon Sanuceda (Bem) 2:32; Fifth-place: Jacob Fernholz (Sar) dec. Drew Vanvleet (SCA) 17-11: Semis: Olhausen dec. Sanuceda 7-4, Keske dec. Beack 12-8: Consolation semis: Sanuceda dec. Vanvleet 4-3, Beack pinned Fernholz :38
126: Logan Crosby (Bem) dec. Jacob Rositas (M) 3-2; Third-place: Matt Braun (SCA) pinned Justin Jenks (LF) 1:26; Fifth-place: Tristan Johnson (A) pinned Sam Krauel (Sar) 2:10; Semifinals: Crosby pinned Jenks 3:29, Rositas dec. Braun 4-3; Consolation semis: Jenks pinned Krauel 3:14, Braun maj. dec. Johnson 10-0
132: Final: Kenny Mark (M) dec. Craig Maas (Bem) 7-5; True second: Walz dec. Maas 7-5; Third-place: Austin Walz (SRR) dec. Axel Lange (LF) 10-3; Fifth-place: Dan Babineau (Brd) pined Jonathan Pelach (Sar) :54; Semifinals: Mark dec. Lange 13-8, Maas dec. Babineau 12-5, Consolation semis: Lange pinned Pelach 1:47, Walz dec. Babineau 4-1
138: Mitch Bengston (SCA) pinned Connor Scherping (LF) 1:45; Third-place: Zachary Motschke (Sar) dec. Tommy Schlosser (Brd) 10-5; Fifth-place: Jacob Neinaber (Alex) pinned Lucas Gast (Bem) 2:46; Semifinals: Bengston pined Schlosser 1:10, Scherping pinned Motschke 1:34, Consolation semis: Schlosser dec. Neinaber 14-7, Motschke dec. Gast 3-1
145: Final: Grant Nehring (SCA) pinned Tony Hubbard (Alex) 5:17; True second: Hubbard dec. Grove 3-2; Third-place: Joseph Grove (M) maj. dec. Derek McMahan (LF) 10-1; Fifth-place: Garrett Counter dec. Dillon Solid (Brd) 9-6; Semifinals Nehring (SCA) pinned Grove 1:39, Hubbard dec. McMahan 8-4; Consolation semis: Grove dec. Counter 5-0, McMahan maj. dec. Solid 11-3
152: Final: Chris Keske (SRR) pinned Luke Boran (Brd) 3:54; True second: Boran pinned Jordan Petrone (LF) 1:14; Third-place: Petrone dec. Dustin Neu (Alex) 3-2; Fifth-place: Theodore Deuel (Sar) dec. Larimee Martell (Bem) 10-4; Semifinals: Boran pinned Neu :40, Keske dec. Petrone 5-3; Consolation semis: Neu pinned Martell 2:40, Petrone dec. Deuel 3-1
160: Final: Joseph Carpenter (M) dec. Jeff Flickinger (Brd) 7-2; True-second: Flickinger tech. fall Niehaus 5:40; Third-place: Patrick Niehaus (Tech) pinned Zachary Pederson (Sar) 1:03 ; Fifth-place: Keith York (LF) dec. Richard Carriveau (SRR) 11-7; Semifinals: Carpenter tech. fall Niehaus 4:00, Flickinger dec. Pederson 7-1; Consolation semis: Niehaus pinned Carriveau 2:23, Pederson maj. dec. Yorek 10-1
170: Final: Kade Johnson (Bem) pinned Tyler Gastecki (LF) 3:22; True second: Gastecki pinned Mike Schluter (Alex) 1:30; Third-place: Schluter dec. Joseph Reed (Tech) 7-5; Fifth-place: McKinley Lain (SRR) pinned Jace Engelmann (Brd) 2:04; Semifinals: Johnson pinned Schluter 1:45, Gastecki pinned Reed 5:56; Consolation semis: Schluter pinned Engleman 4:53, Reed pinned Lain 1:53
182: Final: Daniel Vitale (Sar) pinned Joe Reis (LF) 3:22; Third-place: Skyler Berry (M) dec. Josh Dreyer (Bem) 4-3; Fifth-place Dylan Vait (SRR) pinned Justin Kilanowski (Tech) 3:17; Semifinals Vitale pinned Dreyer 5:35, Reis pinned Berry 5:03; Consolation semis: Dreyer dec. Kilanowski 8-6, Berry pinned Vait 1:29
195: Final: Chase Morlock (M) dec. Austin Klaverkamp (Tech) 6-4 ; True second: Klaverkamp pinned Charley Rudy (SRR) ; Third-place: Rudy pinned Nicholas Jensen (Sar) 3:36; Fifth-place: Trysten Ross (LF) pinned Chris Laber (Brd) :32; Semifinals: Morlock pinned Jensen :23, Klaverkamp pinned Ross 4:33, Consolation semis: Jensen dec. Laber 8-1, Rudy pinned Ross 2:25
220: Justin Cumberbatch (Alex) pinned Bryce Kirchner (SCA) 1:28; Third-place: Noah Voigt (Tech) dec. Brady Goebel (Sar) 6-3; Fifth-place: Sam Adams (Brd) dec. Tom Wychor (M) 3-1; Semifinals: Cumberbatch dec. Wychor (M) 9-5, Kirchner dec. Goebel 8-3; Consolation semis: Voigt dec. Wychor 5-0, Goebel dec. Adams 3-2
285: Jerrad Nieland (Tech) pinned Connor Swanson (LF) 3:25; Third-place: Alex Johnson (Bem) pinned Brody Jerome (M)1:24; Fifth-place: Trent Klejeski (SRR) dec. James Weiss (Brd) 1-0; Semifinals: Nieland pinned Weiss 2:29, Swanson dec. Johnson 6-3; Consolation semis: Jerome dec. Weiss 1-0, Johnson dec. Klejeski 4-3