PINE RIVER -- Although the high school season runs during the winter, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew heavyweight Josh Bresnahan wrestles all year long.
During the fall, Bresnahan throws around offensive and defensive lineman like talking dummies for the Pine River-Backus football team.
This summer Bresnahan qualified for a national wrestling tournament in Fargo, N.D. There he recorded a third-place finish in Greco-Roman wrestling and a fourth-place finish in freestyle wrestling. He was named an all-American in both styles.
Last weekend, the junior made his biggest splash into the wrestling community at the Section 7AA individual tournament Friday and Saturday in Perham.
With a quick, athletic style and a powerful determination Bresnahan battled three top wrestlers to earn his first section title.
After a first round bye the 238-pounder pinned Adam Erickson of Morris Area/Hancock in 2 minutes and 35 seconds. In the semifinal round he pinned Aitkin's Chad Hasskamp.
For the finals Bresnahan locked up with Minnewaska's George Guggisberg. Both wrestlers are ranked in the state and faced each other in the section team competition. There Bresnahan beat the senior as he did Saturday.
"I told him to stay inside and hit when you see an opening," said Road Crew coach Randy Rager. "It was 0-0 in the second and Josh was down. He basically sat on the guy and got an escape and then got a penalty point because Guggisberg was stalling.
"He got another stalling call and that really says that Josh was always on the offensive. He was the one making the moves and Guggisberg was just trying to fend him off."
Bresnahan will make his second straight appearance at the Class AA state individual tournament Thursday through Saturday.
"This time it's a lot less stressful," Bresnahan said about this year's state appearance. "In nationals this summer I wrestled in front of a big crowd so it's not as overwhelming."
The experience Bresnahan learned over the summer paid off as he goes into state with a 33-1 record.
"That was really fun because it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world," Bresnahan said about his summer wrestling. "There's 25 mats with a lot of people. You get the big crowd feeling and it's pretty exciting.
"It helped me a lot with all the technique that I learned. They aren't big moves but they really help a lot."
Bresnahan's only loss came to Class 3A's third-ranked Justin Bends of Virginia. Since that loss, Bresnahan has been focused on his quest for a better placing at state.
"This year he's definitely focused as an individual," said Rager. "He plans on doing something down at that state meet.
"Whoever shows up that day mentally ready will do well. His chances of making the top three are very good. I believe that he's ready to be in one of those places."
With quickness unmatched by most opponents, the heavyweight wrestles more like a lower weight class, said Rager.
"He doesn't wrestle like a traditional heavyweight," Rager said. "He's more like a 130-pounder. There is, however, a lot of upper body power. The best thing he has going for him is his speed. He's able to get shots on people and create angles.
"His mental focus going into the match is great, plus he's in great condition," added Rager. " This time of the year it's mental focus. Everyone's worked on condition and technique, it's up to the mental focus and whoever has that will get the nod and Josh definitely has that."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Nate Miller of the Little Falls Flyers scored 37 points in a win over Sartell. He added 22 more in a win Friday over Brainerd.
Pillager's Lee Roberts scored 28 points and had six steals as the Huskies beat Royalton. Roberts added 23 points and four steals Thursday against Verndale. Against Pine River-Backus he scored 20 points.
Hockey -- Chris Dobis of Little Falls recorded a hat trick in a 7-6 loss to Wadena-Deer Creek.
Wadena-Deer Creek's Jeff Metzdorff scored two goals and collected two assists in a 7-6 win over Little Falls.
Wrestling -- Leland and Logan Brincefield, Peter Hayes, Kyle Trout, Luke Trout and Tony Vittetoe of Wadena-Deer Creek won Section 7AA titles Saturday.
Ben Keen of PL/PR-B won the 135-pound Section 7AA title Saturday.
Pierz's Craig Luberts recorded a Section 6A title at 119 pounds.
Trevor Balback, Jared Oyster, Reggie Rach, Adam Becker, Casey Finck and Justin Messer of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale all won Section 7A titles Saturday.
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