Grapplers take 2nd at SCC meet
Blue Earth Area went undefeated in the South Central Conference during the regular season, but it was Waseca who came out on top at the SCC tournament held Feb. 14 in St. Peter.
The Bucs, ranked No. 9 in Class A, had three champions and five second-place medalists to tally 204.5 points.
However, Waseca finished the day with six champs and three runners-up for 217.5 points.
“Waseca wrestled well and some of our kids weren’t ready to go. And, we gave up too many pins to Waseca,” says Head Coach Randy Wirtjes.
St. James finished third (195.5), followed by St. Peter (158.5) and Fairmont (102).
New Ulm wrestlers competed in the first few rounds but were then disqualified because the team had not weighed-in its wrestlers on site.
That canceled a showdown between the Bucs 215-pounder Mat Willner, ranked No. 4 in Class A, and New Ulm’s Pat Brinkman, rated No. 2 in Class AA.
Willner defeated Brinkman 7-3 in a dual meet against the Eagles.
Willner breezed to the title, scoring three pins and improving his season record to 33-0.
Heavyweight Jake Lee had a tougher time winning his gold medal.
Lee, rated No. 3 in Class A, first needed to get by Fairmont’s Scott Hines to earn a spot in the finals.
The Buc senior pinned his opponent in 1:55 and would get a re-match with St. Peter’s Brandon Zabel, the No. 6-ranked heavyweight in Class AA.
In their earlier meeting this year, Lee won 5-2 and this time he needed an overtime period to defeat Zabel 4-2.
“I wanted to stay busy and shoot in for a takedown. I just got to get a leg, is all I thought about,” says Lee, who improved his season record to 34-1.
BEA’s Joe Franta (125), Carter Hanson (130), Bryce Werner (135), Cody Eckhardt (160) and Taylor Andrews (189) all made it to the championship match but had to settle for second place.
Franta and Hanson were beaten by two St. James wrestlers rated in the latest Class A rankings.
Franta lost 3-2 to Ethan Hildebrandt, ranked No. 4, while Hanson dropped a major decision to eighth-rated Brady Stauffer.
Placing third for the Bucs were Travis Hagedorn (103), Jake Wirtjes (112), D.J. Gronewald (119), Collin Nienhaus (140) and Sinjin Bell (145).
103: Travis Hagedorn (BEA) bye; Tanner Pehrson (Waseca) pinned Hage-dorn, 3:25; Hagedorn forfeit win for third place.
112: Jake Wirtjes (BEA) tech fall Ryan Westman (St. James), 2:16; Hunter Pehrson (Waseca) pinned Wirtjes, 3:03; Wirtjes pinned Joe Weber (Fairmont), 3:15 for third place.
119: D.J. Gronewald (BEA) maj. dec. Dakota Haslip (St. Peter), 9-0; Zach Gehloff (Waseca) pinned Gronewald, 4:05; Gronewald bye for third place.
125: Joe Franta (BEA) tech fall Jacob Gleason (Waseca), 5:46; Franta dec. Luke Schmit (New Ulm), 13-6; Ethan Hildebrandt (St. James) dec. Franta, 3-2 for first place.
130: Carter Hanson (BEA) pinned Korey Brown (Fairmont), :19; Hanson bye; Brady Stauffer (St. James) maj. dec. Hanson, 11-0 for first place.
135: Bryce Werner (BEA) pinned Devon Ford (Fairmont), :22, Werner dec. Giovanni Alvarado (St. James), 3-2. Bruce Harguth (Waseca) pinned Werner, 5:34.
140: Collin Nienhaus (BEA) bye; Ethan Pierson (St. James) pinned Nienhaus, 3:22; Nienhaus tech fall Andrew Doherty (St. Peter), 15-0 for third place.145: Sinjin Bell (BEA) bye; Chris Whitehead (St. James) pinned Bell, 1:48; Bell pinned Arturo Hidalgo, :58 for third place.
152: Dan Eckhardt (BEA) pinned Matt Westman (St. James), 5:39; Eckhardt maj. dec. Aaron Ingrim (Waseca), 11-1; Eckhardt dec. Jim Wilkins (St. Peter), 3-1 for first place.
160: Cody Eckhardt (BEA) pinned Andy Sanden (Fairmont), 3:12; Eckhardt dec. Sam Koch (St. James), 9-2; Sam Milbrett (Waseca) dec. Eckhardt, 5-2 for first place.
171: Jamaal McDaniel (Waseca) pinned Cody Klinksiek (BEA), :35; Briar Bonin (Fairmont) pinned Klinksiek, 2:57; Klinksiek bye for fifth place.
189: Taylor Andrews (BEA) bye; Andrews dec. Rhys Tiedeken (St. James), 7-1; Brandon Pederson (Waseca) pinned Andrews, 4:15 for first place.
215: Mat Willner (BEA) pinned Michael Hayes (Waseca), :44; Willner pinned Jose Velasquez (Fairmont), 1:15; Willner pinned Dylan Wright (St. James), 2:43 for first place.
285: Jake Lee (BEA) pinned Justin Deling (Waseca), 1:41; Lee pinned Scott Hines (Fairmont), 1:55; Lee dec. Brandon Zabel (St. Peter), 4-2 in OT for first place.