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Buc wrestlers 3rd at State

By Staff | Feb 28, 2020

The Blue Earth Area Buccaneer wrestlers, coaches and managers all pose with the Third Place trophy after their victory over Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove on Thursday night. It was their first time back at State as a team in the last 18 years.

Blue Earth Area’s Nick Lawrence delivered what was probably the biggest pin of his high school career to seal the win for the Buccaneers and enable the Maroon and Gold to claim the third place trophy in the Class A Minnesota State Team Wrestling Tournament. The pin by Lawrence put the Bucs ahead of the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove Panthers 33-26 with only one match remaining. Ian Cornelio scored a 4-2 decision for BEA to make the final score 36-26 in favor of the Bucs.

Ironically, Lawrence’s previously most important pin of his career occurred about eight hours earlier when the sophomore moved up from his normal 220-pound weight class to wrestle at 285 pounds against the Grand Meadow-Leroy Ostrander-Southland Bulldogs. Lawrence’s pin brought the Bucs back from a 32-28 deficit to a 34-32 win.

“Nick has really wrestled well the last three weeks,” Bucs head coach Randy Wirtjes said. “I was concerned because he injured his knee in the Team Sections but he has come back strong. I cannot say enough about how well all the boys have been wrestling. And I know I have said it before, but these guys really support their teammates and cheer each other on.”

Here is a wrapup of all three State Team Wrestling matches.

BEA 36, TMB/WWG 26

These two teams had squared off earlier in the year on Jan. 31, and TMB/WWG had won 34-28.

The Panthers got the early edge in the third-place match when the Bucs were forced to forfeit the 106-pound match because of Caleb Langager’s concussion which he suffered in the semi-finals. So with Langager unable to go the Bucs fell behind 6-0.

Ty Peterson’s third period pin of Alexander Schuh at 113 pounds tied the match at 6-6.

The Panther’s No. 1-ranked 120 pounder, Ayden Horner pinned Carson Sturtz to put TMB/WWG ahead 12-6.

BEA’s No. 7-ranked Davis Sunken moved up to 126 pounds as the Bucs started shifting the middle of their lineup up a weight bracket. Sunken produced a pin over Jayden Torgeson in 2:55 knotted the score at 12.

The Panthers’ No. 8-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds, Levi Ellingson moved up to 132 pounds and downed Jacob Beeler 4-1 to give TMB/WWG a 15-12 lead.

Caleb Beeler’s 3-2 decision over the Panthers’ Blaine Peterson at 138 pounds evened the score at 15 apiece.

Jaxen Klinkner, ranked No. 8 at 138 pounds, put the Bucs on top 21-15 with his first period pin over Sawyer Otto at 145 pounds.

Koby Nagel increased the Bucs’ lead to 24-15 by earning a 4-3 decision over Caden Johnson at 152 pounds.

An 8-6 decision in favor of BEA’s No. 3-ranked Max Ehrich over No. 5-ranked Sawyer Schwartz in the 160-pound match put the Bucs on top 27-15.

The Panthers’ Gabe Krick won the 170-pound match over the Bucs’ Kean Hicks by a 5-3 decision to narrow BEA’s margin to 27-18.

BEA’s Nick Frank then faced the No. 3-ranked Jace Paplow. Paplow came away with a 10-4 decision at 182 pounds and TMB/WWG narrowed their deficit to 27-21.

Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Trevor Eastvold of the Panthers moved up from his normal 182-pound weight bracket to 195 pounds. Eastvold scored a 22-7 technical over Luke Mertens. BEA now led 27-26 with two matches remaining.

That set the stage for Lawrence to pin Eathan Martinez in 3:01 in the 220-pound match and secure the victory.

Cornelio’s decision over Travis Willhite was icing on the cake and the Bucs earned their first team trophy at the State Tournament since their championship in 2002.

“I am so happy for the boys. It is a great feeling,” Wirtjes commented. “It was nice having the great fan support up here at the tourney. All of us, the players and coaches, really appreciate our fans.”

LPGEB 39, BEA 18

After a first round win against Grand Meadow-Leroy Ostrander-Southland, Blue Earth Area moved on to face the No. 1-seeded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville Wolves in the semifinals of the Class A Minnesota State Team Tournament. The Wolves, champions of Section 5A, had defeated Section 8 champion Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in their opening tournament contest by a score of 44-25.

The Bucs held their own in the opening matches but the Wolves, who are the defending Class A Team Champions, eventually pulled away and downed BEA 39-18.

LPGEB scored the first six team points when BEA 106 pounder Caleb Langager suffered a mild concussion during his match and lost by an injury default to Braden Thom.

Ty Peterson of the Bucs scored a first period takedown and added an escape and another takedown in the third period of the 113-pound match to score a 5-2 decision over Cael Lorentz. BEA now trailed 6-3.

Davis Sunken’s pin of Justin Crandell in 5:17 at 120 pounds gave the Bucs a momentary 9-6 lead over the Wolves.

LPGEB tied the dual when Carter Meiners pocketed a 5-0 decision over BEA’s Jacob Beeler in the 126-pound match.

The Wolves’ Landon Gode recorded a fall over Caleb Beeler in 1:32 at 132 pounds to give LPGEB a 15-9 lead in team points.

The Bucs’ Jaxen Klinkner lost by a 20-5 technical fall at the 4:13 mark to Mason Gode at 138 pounds. The Wolves now led 20-9.

Koby Nagel got three points back for BEA in the 145-pound match. The senior edged out Nye Becker by an 11-7 decision to cut LPGEB’s lead to 20-12.

The 152-pound match went to the Wolves Ted Stacey. Stacey pinned Parker Meyers in 3:47. The Bucs now trailed 26-12.

Adam Schavey stepped in to wrestle at the 160-pound weight for the Bucs. The sophomore lost an 8-0 decision to Riley Thom and the Wolves extended their lead to 30-12.

BEA’s Max Ehrich bumped up to 170 pounds and came away with an 8-6 win over Gabe Pesta, but the Bucs still trailed 30-15.

Caleb Pesta bested the Bucs’ Nick Frank by a score of 4-3 at 182 pounds to make the score 33-15 in favor of the Wolves and seal the victory for the top-seeded team.

The Bucs lost the next two matches by decisions. Luke Mertens lost 5-1 to Hans Holmquist at 195 pounds and Nick Lawrence dropped a 5-2 decision to Levi Line at 215 pounds and the Wolves now led 39-15.

BEA’s Ian Cornelio scored a takedown in the closing seconds of his 285-pound match against Trey Lancaster to win by a 5-3 decision and make the final score 39-18 in favor of LPGEB.

LPGED went on to win the State Championship.

BEA 34, GMLOS 32

The No. 4-seeded Bucs and the No. 5-seeded Bulldogs squared off in an exciting dual in the first round of the State Team Wrestling Tournament. The outcome was not decided until the final match when BEA’s Nick Lawrence pinned Colten Gardner at 285 pounds to give the Bucs a 34-32 win.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-0 lead after the first two matches. No. 2-ranked Anthony Romero pinned the Bucs’ Caleb Langager at 106 pounds. Then the Bulldogs No. 9-ranked 113 pounder, Cohen Wiste earned a 6-2 decision over Ty Peterson.

BEA’s No. 7-ranked Davis Sunken scored an 11-1 major decision over Cael Gilbert at 120 pounds and Jacob Beeler pinned James Jacobsen at 126 pounds to put the Bucs on top 10-9.

Caleb Beeler made it 13-9 in favor of BEA with his 20 decision over Lucan Winfield at 132 pounds.

The Bulldogs’ No. 9-ranked Donavon Felten pinned Jaxen Klinkner at 138 pounds to put GMLOS on top of BEA 15-13.

Koby Nagel pocketed six team points for the Bucs when he pinned Corbin Ludemann in 2:55 at 145 pounds to give BEA a 19-15 lead.

Parker Meyers of the Bucs lost an 11-1 major decision to Rece Voigt at 152 pounds to knot the score at 19-19.

Christian Jacobson, who sported a 37-7 record, pinned BEA’s Adam Schavey in the 160-pound match to give GMLOS a 25-19 lead.

The 170-pound match featured two wrestlers who are each ranked at 160 pounds. BEA’s Max Ehrich holds the No.-3 ranking and GMLOS’ Daniel Smith is ranked fourth. Ehrich was a close 9-7 decision cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 25-22.

Kean Hicks moved up to 182 pounds from his normal 170-weight bracket and lost to No. 7-ranked Noah Sayles 11-2. GMLOS now held a 29-22 lead.

Nick Frank bumped up a weight bracket to wrestle at 195 pounds and produced a pin in 1:04 over Aaron Mork. The Bulldogs’ lead had shrunk to one point at 29-28.

It was BEA’s Luke Mertens’ turn to bump a weight. The junior 195 pounder moved to the 220 weight bracket to take on Cameron Sneed, who also normally wrestles at 195 pounds. Sneed, who had a record of 30-8, decisioned Mertens 9-2. However, the three team points earned by the Bulldogs kept them in striking distance of the Bucs, who now trailed 32-28.

Nick Lawrence moved from his usual 220 pounds up to the 285-pound weight bracket and produced a pin in 34 seconds over Colten Gardner to give the Bucs a thrilling 34-32 come-from-behind victory.