PREP WRESTLING: Top-10 tangle
TMB/WWG tops Minneota 39-34 in tight clash
WESTBROOK – Occupying the No. 8 and No. 10 spots in the state Class A rankings, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Minneota wrestling programs squared off in a dual on Thursday in Westbrook where the Panthers narrowly defeated the Vikings in a 39-34 final.
TMB/WWG coach Karl Campbell identified their string of four consecutive pins late in the match as one of the keys to their success.
“Bonus points was the big key. In a match like this you have to get bonus points,” said Campbell. “You try to minimize their bonus points and get bonus points and we were able to get bonus points once we hit 160. When we hit 160 we started pinning. I think we had four in a row. That’s 24 points right there. That was huge for us.”
Though it wasn’t the result they were looking for, Minneota coach Matt Myrvik was pleased with the team’s effort and is excited about the direction the team is moving as the season progresses.
“I thought we competed (well). We won seven matches, they won seven. Unfortunately we gave up too many falls in the seven that we lost but we’ve come a long ways,” said Myrvik. “We’re going to have some ups and downs the rest of the year there’s no doubt about it, but our guys are starting to believe. They’re wrestling for each other and we’re coming together as a team.”
The Panthers got off to a strong start in the back and forth dual by picking up three victories in the first four bouts. Devin Carter gave TMB/WWG a 3-0 lead after defeating Troy Vankeulen at the 106-weight class via decision. Following an Eric Carrasco pin victory (0:50) over Alexander Schuh that gave the Vikings a brief lead, the Panthers recorded back-to-back pins by Ayden Horner at the 120-weight class and another by Levi Ellingson at 126 over Truman Wambeke to make it 15-6. The victory for Horner was the 125th of his career.
Minneota responded by going on a run of their own with four straight wins, including a pair of pins by Jonah Gruenes at 145 over Sawyer Otto (2:40), and another by Blake Reiss at 152 over Caden Johnson (1:38). Minneota’s Zack Fier at 132 won his bout over Jayden Torgeson with a major decision (9-1) before Kade Lozinski defeated Blaine Peterson at 138 in another decision (7-5). Through the first eight bouts, the Vikings held a 25-15 advantage.
The turning point of the dual came in the next four matches that all resulted in pin victories for TMB/WWG. Sawyer Schwartz cut the deficit to four with a pin victory (0:41) over Branden Johnson at 160 before Jace Paplow at 170, Gabe Krick at 182 and Trevor Eisfeld at 195 each followed suit with pins of their own to put the Panthers in front at 39-25. The Vikings gained ground in the final two matches with Jackson Esping defeating Travis Willhitte at 220 via decision (6-1) and a forfeit win for Jayden Gamrak at 285.
Weather permitting, the Vikings will return to the mat today when they wrestle Canby at home at 6 p.m. Looking ahead, Myrvik is hopeful that the team can continue to make strides in improving.
“Just improving every time out (is our focus),” said Myrvik. “All we want them to do is to compete to get better. We’re looking for some of our young guys to go the distance. We’ve made some strides with some of our young guys but we still have a long ways to go.”
The Panthers will be back on the mat on Saturday for the Plum Creek Duals against MAHACA. Campbell hopes the team can build off its big win over the Vikings with more success down the road.
“It’s nice to get a win against a quality program like Minneota and they’re going to be one of the players in section 3 obviously,” said Campbell. “We’re going to have a lot to build off. I’m just really happy for the kids to get this win.”