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Broken leg ends 2A wrestler's title dreams

02/27/2016, 10:50pm CST
By Cody Stavenhagen, Star Tribune

Brady Berge returned from the hospital to cheer on his cousin at the X.


Kasson-Mantorville’s Brady Berge was supposed to be on the mat wrestling for his fourth state title Saturday.

Instead, he was in the Xcel Energy Center stands, his lower left leg in a cast, watching stoically as his cousin Aaron fought for his own championship.

In the Class 2A 160-pound semifinal against Luverne’s Solomon Nielsen, Brady got his lower leg trapped under Nielsen’s weight. As Nielsen moved backward, the leg snapped.

Despite Brady controlling the match through two periods, officials were forced to call the match due to injury.

Kasson-Mantorville coaches helped Brady off the mat, and coach Jamie Hiedt carried him into the tunnel and into a training room, Brady sobbing in Hiedt’s arms.

As he left the arena, the crowd gave Brady a standing ovation. Even after advancing to the state final, Nielsen was in tears in the lower level of the X.

In those same tunnels, Aaron Berge was preparing for his semifinal match. The cousins had talked of winning together as Aaron, a senior, went for his first state title.

Aaron advanced to the 182-pound championship against Foley’s Spencer Elwell, and not long before the final, Brady arrived back at the arena after a trip to the hospital. He suffered a broken left fibula and tore ligaments around his ankle.

“There’s nothing I can do about it now,” Brady said. “The only thing I can do is just recover.”

As Brady looked on, Aaron won a 3-1 decision.

“I was looking forward to winning a state championship with [Brady] by my side, but him sitting there gave me a true motivation to go out there and do it,” Aaron said.

Pin of dreams

In the Class 2A 152-pound final, New Prague senior Griffin Parriott got his third state title against Mahtomedi’s Devin Fitzpatrick, and it took only 10 seconds.

Parriott pinned Fitzpatrick with ease, then quickly circled around the mat to high-five his coaches before sprinting and leaping the short wall on the floor of Xcel Energy Center.

“I can’t [ask for anything more],” he said. “It’s been a fun career. A good way to end it.”

More of Moore

Jackson County Central’s Keegan Moore was briefly down on the mat in the Class 1A 182-pound title match against Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Caden Steffen.

But it didn’t take long for Moore, an Oklahoma State signee, to get up and finish with a 25-12 major decision.

Moore said he briefly became dizzy, something he said has happened before.

“I was not going to be stopped by that,” Moore said.

Moore finishes his high school career with three titles, adding to a combined three his brothers Cooper and Paden already won in their prep careers.

Worth noting

• Delano’s Tucker Sjomeling finished his undefeated season with a state title in the Class 2A 126-pound division.

• Albert Lea’s Garrett Aldrich defended his 2A 132-pound title by winning a 10-7 decision against previously undefeated Morgan Fuenffinger of Hibbing.

• Cannon Falls’ Ryan Epps won a battle of undefeateds against Logan Axford in the 145-pound 2A final.

• Kevin Kniesl of Delano also finished undefeated and won the 220-pound title.

• Pipestone’s Hunter Burnett and Michael Suda each finished undefeated and won titles in Class 1A.

• Manuel Garcia successfully defended his 220-pound title in Class 1A.

Gallery: State wrestling championships

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