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BEA downs Medford in a thriller

Squad moves on to face Kenyon-Wanamingo in Section championship

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 14, 2021

Referee Greg Ewing slaps the mat as BEA 285-pounder Luke Mertens pins No. 6-ranked Gavin Hermes of Medford to complete the team effort by the Bucs to defeat the Medford Tigers in a Section 2A semifinal dual. BEA moved on to the championship round where they faced No. 1-seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo on Saturday, March 13. Look for the results in next week’s Faribault County Register.

Wrestling fans were treated to an exciting contest when the No. 3-seeded Medford Tigers came to Blue Earth on Wednesday, March 10, to take on the No. 2-seeded Blue Earth Area Buccaneers in Section 2A semifinal action.

The teams were tied 27-27 with only the 285-pound match remaining. Taking the mat for the Tigers was Class A No. 6-ranked Gavin Hermes against BEA’s unranked Luke Mertens.

Mertens scored a takedown midway through the first period and began working on turning Hermes to his back. With the clock winding down in the opening period the referee slapped his hand to the mat giving Mertens the pin with four seconds remaining.

The victory by Mertens gave BEA a 33-27 win.

Although COVID might have limited the number of fans in attendance, you would not have known it by the decibel level of the Buccaneer fans cheering on their team.

“Our coaches always preach to us to do our job,” Mertens said. “My teammates did theirs so I wanted to go out and do mine.”

The Bucs triumph put them in the Section 2A championship match against the No. 1-seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights on Saturday, March 13, at St. James Area High School. The Knights are the No. 12-ranked team in Class A according to the latest rankings released on March 10.

“We knew Medford was a formidable opponent,” BEA head coach Randy Wirtjes said. “We expected it to be a close battle.”

The strategy for the meet had the Bucs bringing up Timmy Nagel from the junior varsity to wrestle the 106-pound match and bump up the next four wrestlers up a weight, an idea Wirtjes said came from assistant coach Dan Eckhardt.

“Give Dan the credit,” Wirtjes commented. “He brought it up, we went with it and it worked out.”

Nagel was pinned by Medford’s No. 3-ranked Tommy Elwood in 43 seconds at 106 pounds. BEA’s Cooper Peterson produced a 5-1 decision over Evan Schweisthal at 113 pounds and Caleb Langager earned three more points for the Bucs with a 4-0 decision in the 120-pound match to tie the team score at 6-6.

Medford regained the lead when No. 2-ranked Alex Helgeson scored a 5-3 decision over Carson Sturtz at 126 pounds to go up 9-6.

The Tigers increased their lead to 13-6 with Derek Bartosch’s 18-6 major decision over Blair Lunz at 132 pounds.

“Cooper and Caleb got us big wins and give credit to Carson and Blair for limiting the number of bonus points we gave up,” Wirtjes said.

Ty Peterson picked up six points for the Maroon and Gold when he pinned Kael Neumann in 45 seconds at 138 pounds to cut Medford’s lead to 13-12.

The next two matches went to the Tigers.

Medford’s No. 1-ranked Charley Elwood was unable to get a pin against Gabe Smith and had to settle for a 16-0 technical fall at 145 pounds. Garron Hoffman added three more team points to the Tiger’s score with a 7-1 decision over Parker Meyers at 152 pounds. Medford’s lead was now 21-12.

BEA’s No. 2-ranked 170-pounder Max Ehrich needed only 43 seconds to pin Dillon Bartosch in the 160-pound match to pull the Bucs within three points of the Tigers.

Kean Hicks trailed Medford’s Tate Hermes 4-3 after two periods at 170 pounds but rallied for a 9-5 triumph to knot the score at 21-21.

Medford went back on top 24-21 when their No. 7-ranked 170-pounder Josiah Hedensten moved up to 182 pounds and defeated Adam Schavey 9-4.

The Bucs took their first lead of the contest at 27-24 when No. 10-ranked 195-pounder Nick Frank put Dylan Heiderscheidt’s shoulders to the mat in 1:31.

Medford tied the dual at 27-27 when Brennon Hoffman earned a 5-1 decision over Logan Johnson at 220 pounds, which set up the meet-deciding battle between Mertens and Hermes.

“Our older guys have been getting the job done for us all year and tonight the younger guys jumped on board,” Wirtjes said. “Nick (Frank) produced a big pin for us and I felt pretty good knowing we had Luke at the end.”

Blue Earth Area will host the Section 2A individual wrestling tournament beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16.

BEA 59, USC 18

The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers played host to the United South Central Rebels in the quarterfinal round of the Section 2AA wrestling tournament on Monday evening, March 8.

BEA came out on top 59-18 over a USC squad which was short of a full squad and gave up six forfeits to the Maroon and Gold.

BEA’s Cooper Peterson scored a technical fall over USC’s Kolt Bullerman at 106 pounds, winning by a score of 16-0.

The 113-pound match had the Bucs’ Caleb Langager winning by a fall in 40 seconds over Isaiah Gonzalez to put BEA on top 11-0.

USC’s Bryce Sonnek scored a 14-0 major decision over Carson Sturtz in the 120-pound match. Byron Getchell tallied four more team points for the Rebels when he won a 13-0 major decision over Blair Lunz at 126 pounds.

Trailing 11-8, Ethan Elvebak put USC ahead 14-11 when he pinned Angel Martinez in 56 seconds in the 132-pound match.

BEA’s Ty Peterson received a forfeit at 138 pounds to put the Bucs back in the lead 17-14.

An 11-3 major decision by USC’s Micah Hamson over Parker Meyers at 145 pounds put the Rebels on top 18-17. It would be the last match they would win.

Cory Kitchel at 152 pounds, Max Ehrich at 160 and Kean Hicks at 170 all received forfeits to give the Bucs a 35-18 lead.

BEA’s Nick Frank pinned Collin Van Cleave in 29 seconds in the 182-pound match to extend the Buccaneer’s lead to 41-18.

The Bucs claimed six more points when 195-pounder Adam Schavey received a forfeit.

A pin in 2:36 by BEA’s Logan Johnson over Matt Beyer in the 220-pound match increased the Bucs’ lead to 53-18.

BEA captured their final six points of the night when Luke Mertens received a forfeit at 285 pounds.