Despite 14 hours and more than 400 wrestling matches, the team championship in the Paul Bunyan Invitational Saturday at Brainerd High School wasn't determined until the final bout.
Frazee heavyweight Justin Olson enabled the Hornets to repeat as team champions, pinning Deer River's John Martin for the title. The victory gave Frazee 230.5 points, 3.5 more than runner-up Bird Island-Lake Lillian-Olivia-Danube.
The Hornets won just three individual titles but depth carried them to the team title.
"At this point of the season we're on target where we want to be," Frazee coach Clay Nagel said of his defending Class 1A state champion Hornets.
"We've got a lot of things to work on," Nagel added. "What I liked most was our kids answered the call to compete. They didn't back away from anything. We wrestled hard. That's all you can ask of them."
The Hornets have won three state team championships in the last 10 years and have won four of the last five Bunyan titles.
"We try to keep things fun and keep the kids wrestling," Nagel said. "We try to set up opportunities for the kids. Minnesota USA Wrestling has been a huge benefit for our kids. It's like another season. You can go right down the line of kids here in the finals that are involved and do the extra things.
"That's what makes the difference, the willingness of our kids to do the extra things."
In the 15-team event, Pierz placed seventh, Brainerd 10th, Staples-Motley 11th and Aitkin 13th.
Pierz had nine wrestlers in the top eight. Kyle Bednar (103) was third, Nathan Janson (112) champion, John Andres (119) fifth, Joe Hyatt (125) eighth, Kyle Girtz (135) sixth, Tony Andres (140) sixth, Craig Luberts (152) fourth, Jesse Zalac (171) seventh and Cody Luberts (189) seventh.
Brainerd placed seven in the top eight. Andy Pickar (152) was third, Konrad Abramo (119) fourth, Tom Zelinske (125) fifth, Kyle Dukowitz (130) and Chad Weiss (160) were sixth, Adam Hahnert (140) seventh and Jake Smith (145) eighth.
"I can't say I was too worried about the team scores," Warriors coach Bob Brakke said. "I just wanted the kids to perform and of course for the tournament to run smoothly."
S-M placed six wrestlers in the top eight. Cory Wilson (103) was seventh, Kurt Porter (125) third, Zach Hanson (145) fifth, Chris Dobson (152) seventh, Adam Johnson (189) runner-up and Mark Tollefson (275) eighth.
Aitkin placed three wrestlers in the top eight. Mike Wagner (171) was sixth, Mikael Arvidson (275) seventh and Jordan Keil (130) eighth.
"We were just a bit overmatched for this competition," Aitkin coach Dan Stifter said. "We're a fairly inexperienced team. We have a number of seniors but they haven't seen a lot of varsity competition. It was kind of an eye-opener."
Final team scores -- Frazee 230.5, BOLD 227, Becker 197, Perham 125, Bemidji 120, Foley 108.5, Pierz 107.5, Deer River 98.5, Grand Rapids 86.5, Brainerd 81.5, Staples-Motley 79, Maple Grove 76.5, Aitkin 30, Royalton 29, Sartell 28
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