ST. PAUL -- Andy Pickar joined an elite group of Brainerd Warrior wrestlers Saturday. Next season, he has an opportunity to write additional history.
The Warriors' junior became only the fifth individual state champion in program history when he captured the 140-pound title in Class 3A at the Xcel Energy Center. Pickar decisioned Henry Sibley sophomore Adam Rall 6-4 in the final.
He joins Dennis Stamp (1965), Pat Whelan (1981), Jim Caughey (1983 and 1984) and Jesse Marohn (2001) as Warrior state champions.
"State championships don't come that often," Pickar said. "The last couple years have been different. That shows how our program is going. We're going uphill from here, which is great. Hopefully, we'll go to state as a team next year."
Brainerd wrestling career victories
Jim Caughey 111
Andy Pickar 110 (through 2001-02 season)
Ryan Smith 101
Matt Ostrowski 100
189-Dennis Stamp (1965)
112-Pat Whelan (1981)
135-Jim Caughey (1983, 1984)
130-Jesse Marohn (2001)
140-Andy Pickar (2002)
After enduring a 17-year stretch between state champions, Pickar (37-3) provided the Warriors with their second in two years.
"When the match was over, it wasn't like Jesse Marohn last year when we were excited and pumped," Warriors coach Bob Brakke said. "It was almost like expectation, relief, because you knew all season Andy belonged here, and to get it done, that's a lot of pressure."
Next season, Pickar has an opportunity to join Caughey as the second Warrior to win two state titles. In addition, Pickar won his 110th career match Saturday, one behind Caughey as the school's all-time victory leader.
"That's great personnel to be with," Pickar said of the possibility of becoming a 2-time champion. "Jim Caughey is the best wrestler Brainerd has had. That would be fantastic."
Brakke said the prospect of being a 2-time state champion would attract attention from college programs.
"Being a 2-time state champion would be something to be pretty proud of," Brakke said. "Being a state champion will open up some opportunities for him. Hopefully, he has a good season next year and has some college possibilities.
"He's one of those raw talents that the colleges would be interested in. He's unrefined."
Following a scoreless first period, Pickar chose the down position and scored a takedown with 40 seconds left in the second period for a 2-0 lead.
In the final period, Rall scored a reversal with 1:40 left to tie it before Pickar reversed him for a 4-2 lead. Rall then escaped to slash the deficit to a point but Pickar took him down again for a 6-3 edge. Rall escaped with 25 seconds left for the final margin.
"He was more of a scrambler," Pickar said. "Whenever I shot in on him, he would scoot behind me. I knew that coming into the match. I worked on it. I had to keep scooting my hips toward him, not allow him any space, and I guess that paid off, knowing what he was going to do."
Sellnow finishes sixth
at 103 pounds
The Warriors' Vince Sellnow lost his bid for fifth place as Tyrone Meyer, the top-ranked wrestler in the class, decisioned him 8-2.
Sellnow, ranked third, scored a takedown before the first-period buzzer for a 2-0 lead. Meyer reversed him in the second period to deadlock it and scored two near falls in the final period.
"You take what you can get, I guess," Sellnow said of finishing sixth with a record of 25-3.
Brakke was delighted with Sellnow's finish considering the senior missed part of the season with an injury.
"After having been out for about a month, that has to play a part in it," Brakke said. "To come back with a strong finish to end the year and place, that's good."
Class 3A Individual Finals
103-Wrestlebacks-Jayson Ness (Bloomington Kennedy) pinned Vince Sellnow (B) 2:04, Fifth place-Tyrone Meyer (Apple Valley) dec. Sellnow 8-2
140-Championship-Andy Pickar (B) dec. Adam Rall (Henry Sibley) 6-4
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