The wrestling dual meet between Blue Earth Area and United South Central on Feb. 5 held in Blue Earth was expected to be close.
Very close, to be exact.
Blue Earth Area emerged as a 34-33 winner in the matchup pitting two Section 2A teams.
But, the outcome for the Bucs was in doubt as they trailed by 11 points with just two matches remaining.
"I knew we needed a pin when I went out there. It was the loudest I've ever heard this place," says Kysten Zierke.
The Buc junior put Isaac Hernandez's shoulders to the mat with 18 seconds left in the first period.
The pin didn't come easy, however.
Zierke held a 4-1 lead when he let Hernandez go for a one-point escape in hopes of getting a takedown to add to his point total.
But, Hernandez scored on a takedown to tie the score at 4-4.
Zierke got a quick reversal to go ahead 6-4.
"I got mad and kicked it in. I got him over on his back and thought. 'You're done,'" says Zierke.
The six points for the pin made the score 33-28 in favor of the Rebels.
That set the stage for heavyweight Martin Granados.
Another pin would give the Bucs a team victory.
The No. 9-ranked Granados didn't disappoint hometown fans, pinning his opponent in just 45 seconds.
Head coach Randy Wirtjes says the win was " a total team effort."
On paper, Wirtjes says he figured the outcome would come down to a match or two.
"Our young guys got us off to a good start in the lower weights and stayed off their backs," he says. "We talked about not giving up bonus points and getting them when we could. We thought every point would matter."
The Rebels built a 24-3 lead with two decisions and three pins in the first six matches.
Luke Schavey started the Bucs' comeback with a 10-0 major decision at 145 pounds.
David Franta pinned his opponent in 45 seconds at 152 pounds.
That was followed by Carter Hanson's tech fall win at 160 and a major decision from Gus Phillips at 170 to cut USC's lead to 24-22.
The Rebels won the next two matches to make the score 33-22 with two matches left.
BEA 34, USC 33
106: Zach Buseman (BEA) dec. Keenan Biddle, 2-0.
113: Dominic Alger (USC) dec. Camden Bowers, 5-2.
120: Adam Knutson (USC) dec. Matt Goodrich, 6-3.
126: Jacob Gonsalez (USC) pinned Jordan Stelter, 4:27.
132: Dylan Herman (USC) pinned Mike Ankeny, 3:35. Herman is rated No. 4 in Class A.
138: Derek Herman (USC) pinned Jesse Alleven, :52. Herman is ranked No. 5.
145: Luke Schavey (BEA) maj. dec. Matt Harpestad, 10-0.
152: David Franta (BEA) pinned Corey Ehlert, :45.
160: Carter Hanson (BEA) tech fall Seth Olson, 16-1, 4:49. Hanson is rated No. 5.
170: Gus Phillips (BEA) maj. dec. Travis Brown, 16-2.
182: Colten Carlson (USC) won by forfeit. Carlson is rated No. 6.
195: Logan Sonnek (USC) dec. Chris Ramos, 8-3.
220: Kysten Zierke (BEA) pinned Isaac Hernandez, 1:42.
285: Martin Granados (BEA) pinned William Borkenhagen, :45. Granados is rated No. 9.
BEA 78, N. Ulm 0
Blue Earth Area wrestlers convincing claimed the South Central Conference title and team trophy with a 78-0 shutout win over New Ulm on Feb. 1 in Blue Earth.
The Bucs finished with a 5-0 record in the SCC and improved to 21-4 overall.
Outcome of the meet was never in doubt as BEA jumped out to a 30-0 lead with five straight pins. In all, the Bucs tallied 48 points on eight pins and added a decision, major decision, tech fall and three forfeits.
BEA's two ranked wrestlers had little trouble in their matches.
Class A No. 5-ranked Carter Hanson registered a 16-0 tech fall in 1:21 over Nathan Janke at 160 pounds.
At heavyweight, No. 9-ranked Martin Granados scored on a takedown to take a 2-0 lead and put Andy Bregel's shoulders to the mat 1 second before the end of the first period.
BEA 78, New Ulm 0
106 Adam Buseman (BEA) pinned Hunter Ranweiler, 4:46.
113: Camden Bowers (BEA) pinned Tanner Stark, 2:47.
120: Matt Goodrich (BEA) pinned Elijah Northquest, :23.
126: Jordan Stelter (BEA) pinned Austin Iles, :55.
132: Mike Ankeny (BEA) pinned Max Deslauriers, :36.
138: Jesse Alleven (BEA) maj. dec. Jagger Hoffmann, 9-1.
145: Luke Schavey (BEA) dec. Austin Brandes, 5-2.
152: David Franta (BEA) pinned Sam Hoppe, 1:40.
160: Carter Hanson (BEA) tech fall Nathan Janke, 16-0, 1:21. Hanson is ranked No. 5 in Class A.
170: Gus Phillips (BEA) won by forfeit.
182: Chris Ramos (BEA) won by forfeit.
195: Kysten Zierke (BEA) pinned Lorenzo Hernandez, 1:02.
220: Micah Twedt (BEA) won by forfeit.
285: Martin Granados (BEA) pinned Andy Bregel, 1:59. Granados is rated No. 9 in Class A.
BEA takes 1st place at tourney
Blue Earth Area took home the team trophy at the Red Bull Invite held Feb. 2 in Sherburn.
The Bucs finished with 161.5 points to edge Pipestone with 159.5 and the Class A, No. 8-ranked Minneota Vikings (141).
BEA used six second-place, three third-place and two fourth-place finishes to win the title.
United South Central Rebels (USC) took fourth with 124 points on the strength of two Rebels winning championships, two taking silver and four earning third place.
In the battle of rated wrestlers at 160 pounds, the Bucs Carter Hanson, rated No. 5 in Class A, lost a 13-5 major decision to No. 1-rated Adam Cooling of Madelia/Truman.
Hanson in the first round pinned the Rebels' Corey Ehlert in just 46 seconds and scored a tech fall at 3:37 over Worthington's Zach Kempema in his next match.
At heavyweight, the Bucs' Class A No. 9-ranked Martin Granados advanced to the finals with an injury default win in the second round.
In the finals, however, he was pinned by Class AA No. 3-rated Colton Hines of Fairmont/Martin County West at 1:15.
BEA's Jordan Stelter gained the finals at 126 pounds by pinning USC's Shawn Redman at 5:13 in the first round and then Madelia/Truman's Issac Pfeffer at 1:21 in the second-round.
Stelter was then pinned in the finals with 45 seconds remaining in the match.
Luke Schavey took second place for BEA at 145 pounds.
Jon Whitney of Madelia/Truman edged the Buc sophomore 5-3 in the championship match.
Schavey in the first round earned a 4-0 win over Fairmont/Martin County West's Tanner Lange and then slipped past Walker Kor from Pipestone 10-8 in the second round.
At 170, the Bucs' Gus Phillips took second place.
He won his first match, pinning Phillip Bowie of Fairmont/Martin County West at 1:19 and then got a 10-2 major decision win over Pipestone's Will Smith.
Phillips lost in the finals 8-3 to Issac Josephson of Minneota, who is ranked No. 6 in Class A.
USC's Colten Carlson defeated BEA's Chris Ramos in the 182-pound finals.
The Class A, No. 6-ranked Carlson pinned Ramos at 4:47.
Ramos made the finals with a first-round bye win before pinning Minneota's Trent Esping at 1:07.
Taking third for BEA were Camden Bowers at 113, Alec Huber (132) and David Franta (152).
Bowers lost to USC's Brett Byrne in the opening round by way of a pin at 1:59.
In the first round of wrestlebacks, Bowers pinned Fairmont/Martin County West's Chris Ettesvold at 1:25 to advance and beat Eric Hauswedell of Minneota, 4-2.
Bowers then pinned Worthington's Hser Moo Pwae at 1:35 to claim third place.
Huber's weight bracket had two ranked wrestlers.
He won his first-round match, defeating Worthington's Ben Johnson at 1:32 before falling to Class A, No. 4-ranked 132-pound Dylan Herman from USC at 1:33.
The Buc junior rebounded, pinning Justin Gifferson of Madelia/Truman at 5:00 and then pinned Pipestone's Class A, No. 10-ranked Cole Nordmeyer at 5:00 to win the bronze medal.
At 152 pounds, Franta lost a 3-2 decision in the second round to Class AA, No. 10-ranked Joe Weber of Fairmont/Martin County West.
He went on to claim third-place honors, pinning Jesus Lopez of Madelia/Truman at 1:52 in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Franta won the bronze medal by pinning Grant Abraham of Minneota at 3:33 in the third-place match.
Buc senior Jesse Alleven dropped a 3-1 decision to Alex Ossefoort of Pipestone in the 138-pound third-place match and 220-pounder Micah Twedt lost a close 2-1 decision to Blake Wolters of Pipestone for third place.
Red Bull Invite teams
Blue Earth Area 161.5, Pipestone 159.5, Minneota 141, United South Central 124, Fairmont/Martin County West 114.5, Worthington 90, Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther 56.5.
106: Dominic Alger (USC) dec. Garrett Ploeger (Pipestone), 7-2, for 3rd place. Alger is rated No. 3 in Class A.
113: Michael Suda (Pipestone) maj. dec. Adam Knutson (USC), 16-6, for 1st place.
Camden Bowers (BEA) pinned Hser Moo Pwae (WOR), 1:35, for 3rd place.
120: Jacob Gonsalez (USC) pinned Leo Buysse (Minneota), 5:00, for 3rd place.
126: Elijah Gronewold (F/MCW) pinned Jordan Stelter (BEA), 5:14, for 1st place.
132: Dylan Herman (USC) dec. Alec Engler (Minneota), 2-1, for 1st place. Herman is ranked No. 4.
Alec Huber (BEA) pinned Cole Nordmeyer (Pipestone), 5:00, for 3rd place.
138: Cole Hennen (Minneota) dec. Derek Herman (USC), 6-4, for 1st place. Herman is rated No. 5 in Class A.
Alex Ossefoort (Pipestone) dec. Jesse Alleven (BEA), 3-1, for 3rd place.
145: Jon Whitney (MTML) dec. Luke Schavey (BEA), 5-3, for 1st place.
152: David Franta (BEA) pinned Grant Abraham (Minneota), 3:33, for 3rd place.
160: Adam Cooling (MTML) maj. dec. Carter Hanson (BEA), 13-5, for 1st place. Cooling is rated No. 1 and Hanson is No. 5.
170: Isaac Josephson (Minneota) dec. Gus Phillips (BEA), 8-3, for 1st place. Josephson is rated No. 6 in Class A.
182: Colten Carlson (USC) pinned Chris Ramos (BEA), 4:47, for 1st place. Carlson is rated No. 6 in Class A.
195: Logan Sonnek (USC) dec. Jared Hillard (Pipestone), 9-4, for 3rd place.
220: Blake Wolters (Pipestone) dec. Micah Twedt (BEA), 2-1, for 3rd place.
285: Colton Hines (F/MCW) pinned Martin Granados (BEA), 1:15, for 1st place. Hines is rated No. 3 in Class AA and Granados is No. 9 in Class A.
Jared Nygaard (Pipestone) pinned Joe Matthews (USC), 1:00, for 3rd place.