PREP WRESTLING: Ready to roll

Marshall wrestling team opens its season with spirited win over Redwood-River Valley

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Lucas Hodges battles for control during their meet against Redwood-River Valley on Thursday. The Tigers defeated the Badgers 66-6 in their season opener.

MARSHALL – After getting their initial season opener cancelled last weekend due to snow, the Marshall wrestling team was more than ready to go on Thursday as the Tigers opened their season against Redwood-River Valley.

Led by a strong start, Marshall took early control of the match and never looked back, rolling to a season-opening 66-6 victory over the Badgers.

Marshall coach Justin Bouwman said it was great to finally get the season underway and felt they showed a lot of promising things.

“It feels great to finally get going; with Saturday getting cancelled, the kids have been wrestling each other for three weeks and they were ready to wrestle somebody else,” Bouwman said. “I think it really showed, we came out and we were ready to go and didn’t hold anything back. I know (Redwood-River Valley) had a lot of opens, but they’ll be a better team by the end of the year. They’ve got a lot of good pieces.”

Bouwman added that he was pleased with how his wrestlers have responded to different changes in weight classes and rised to the occassion, especially the younger grades.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys. We didn’t graduate a ton of guys, only one, but we filled them in and we had to fill weights and move some guys around and they’re doing a great job,” Bouwman said. “They’re willing to put in the work and the time and we come in with a big class of seventh graders and one of them steps up and gets a start, so that’s a big thing for us.”

Dylan Louwagie got things going for the Tigers with a decision victory (7-2) in the 106-weight class before Hsa Khee Lar earned the first pin of the season in just 51 seconds. Marshall then won by forfeit in the next three bouts to take a 27-0 lead.

Lucas Hodges then won by pin (4:22) for the Tigers in the 137-weight class before a decision victory (5-4) for Noah Jensen and another pin by Jackson Hughes (1:49) pushed Marshall’s lead to 42-0 just over the midway point of the match.

After the Badgers got their first victory over the night with a decision win (160-weight class), the Tigers got a pin from Elijah Sterner (5:57) and a trio of forfeits on their way to a 66-6 victory.

Bouwman said one thing that stood out to him throughout the match was the team’s overall level of conditioning and that it was a key for them in the win.

“I think our big thing was our conditioning; we’re in really good shape and didn’t seem to get tired at all,” Bouwman said. “It just shows in how much work these guys are willing to put in.”

Marshall (1-0) will compete next Thursday against Adrian Area and Fulda/MCC in a triangular at 5 p.m. Bouwman said their biggest takeaway is working on some defensive areas like counters and position skills.

“Just some little defensive things that we’ve got to work on, some counters and different things, head position and stuff where we got a little sloppy because we were wrestling somebody else,” Bouwman said. “So just some basic position things that we’ve got to fix.”