Bucs wipe out Saints
An undermanned St. James wrestling squad was no match for the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers on Thursday, Jan. 25.
BEA’s Koby Nagel at 132 pounds, Jaxen Klinkner at 145, Rylee McGuire at 152, Zach Buseman at 160, Eric Anderson at 182, Jordan Huse at 195, and Nick Lawrence at 220 all won by way of forfeit. The end result was a lopsided 65-8 victory for the maroon and gold.
For Buccaneer wrestling head coach Randy Wirtjes, things went as expected for his athletes once they had an opportunity to see some time on the mat.
“We knew the matches that were going to be close, and we competed well at them,” Wirtjes said. “It kind of ended up like we thought it would because St. James had a lot of open weights.”
BEA’s Caleb Beeler lost a 3-2 decision to Troy Parulski of St. James at 106. Meanwhile, Davis Sunken overcame a slow start and finished strong for the Bucs en route to a 10-2 major decision win over Wyatt Westcott in the 113-pound division.
St. James junior Sam Kulseth, a state qualifying competitor at 120 pounds last year, provided one of the few highlights for the Saints as he registered a 15-0 tech fall victory over Blue Earth Area’s Jack Frundt.
Other Buccaneer winners from the meet included Max Ehrich, who cruised to victory in his showdown with St. James’ Austin Knickrehm. Ehrich’s aggressive style allowed him to win by way of a 20-4 tech fall at 126 pounds. At 138, BEA senior Joe Schavey easily dispatched Landon Hoppe with a 17-2 technical fall.
In the 170-pound division, Blue Earth Area’s Akeira Morrow handled matters against Anthony Rodriguez of St. James in a 7-1 decision. Afterwards, coach Wirtjes said he was particularly impressed with Morrow’s poise in closing out the match.
“That was a good win for him because he wrestled Rodriguez last week, was ahead on points and got pinned. He really finished off the match well and got a nice win,” Wirtjes said.
As for future Minnesota Golden Gophers student-athlete Trevor Oppedal, he got the job done against St. James’ Noah Sandmeyer by way of fall at 285 pounds.
After a very physical battle in the heavyweight division, coach Wirtjes applauded Oppedal’s aggressiveness. The Buccaneer wrestling mentor says this type of mentality is unusual for competitors in the heavier weight classes.
“There’s a lot of pushing and shoving in heavyweight matches, but Trevor likes to shoot right in there,” Wirtjes explains. “He’s a gamer and that’s what we like.”
With this latest conference win, the Buccaneers improve to 5-1 in the Big South and 15-7 overall on the season.
Before the season began, coach Wirtjes believed his team had the potential to qualify for state. So far, he thinks the maroon and gold is right on track with those expectations.
“We’re doing pretty well, we’re just really working hard and trying to get better each week, so we feel we’re on pace to be there,” he added.