The West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon Evansville wrestlers have entered the busy portion of their dual season. Facing off with three sound teams last week the mat men came out unscathed as they posted victories over Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, Barnesville and Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley/Montevideo.
Following another storm day which moved Tuesdays event to Friday, the grapplers opened the week Thursday at home versus #15 ranked AA and Park Region Conference opponent BHVPP. The Raiders came in looking to force their weight around in a conference match up but the Knights had other ideas. Following a fantastic start to the dual the Knights kept the Raiders off balance for the entire contest eventually legging out the score to a gaudy 68-9 shellacking.
The second match on Thursday was against Section 6A rival Barnesville. Once again the lower weights for the Knights got out to a hot 4-0 start and never looked back. The team posted four pins to the Trojans one putting the bonus factor edge clearly in favor of the Knights. Following the final match of the evening the Knights kept a perfect section record intact by a score of 48-16.
Junior Varsity wrestlers went 8-7 in competition with wins being posted by Shad Swanson, Ruebens Swanson, Cody Nadgwick, Brett Duncan, Hunter Hanson, Connor Nadgwick, Devin Stone and two from Kade Olson.
On the evening Coach Brandon Gruchow said, “I feel that we took a step in the right direction tonight against two very solid teams. We wanted to win but we also wanted to win in dominating fashion. Going into the second half of January we are going to be seeing some of the best teams in Class A wrestling and in order to beat those teams we needed to make another jump to the next level on the mat. Tonight our boys proved they want to continue to get better and take it to that next level.”
Friday found WCAABE traveling to Montevideo for the make-up dual from Tuesday with DBLPM. United has a strong program, recently receiving votes for state ranking in the AA class but a determined Knight wrestling squad once again took control early posting the first five victories. The closest United would ever get was 10 points at the very end as the Knights posted a 35-25 win.
The JV found extended mat time as they competed with DBLPM and the Sauk Centre JV. Going 11-14. JV wrestlers earning victories included: Hunter Hanson, Cody Nadgwick, Brett Duncan, Connor Nadgwick, Alex Butcher, Ruebens Swanson, and Colton Lindquist. Ashton Danner and Kade Olson each posted two wins.
Coach Gruchow reported after the dual that, “It was a good test of mental toughness tonight for our wrestlers. After a long night last night, back to back weigh-ins, going on the road and wrestling a Class AA team the boys were definitely put to the test. I thought we wrestled tough but struggled getting the pins. I knew the boys were tired tonight and I could see it in their performances but they fought through it and put up a win. All in all it was a good indicator of where we are at and were we want to get to.” He finished with, “I can say that I am definitely proud of their efforts and their mental toughness.”
The coming week will ramp up even further as the team will find itself in six road duals over the course of four days. The wrestlers will open the week on Tuesday vs. the AA Morris Area/Hancock/Chokio-Alberta Tigers. Wrestling will begin at 6:30 pm. For those unable to attend it can be followed on KKOK radio. Thursday the squad will travel to Breckenridge for a pair of section duals with the home team Cowboys and the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines. Wrestling will commence at 5 pm. Friday the team heads south to Kerkhoven for three duals. They will face off with #5 ranked Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, #9 ranked Pipestone and AA Quad County. Action will start at 4 pm.
Saturday the youngest of the Knight wrestlers host their home elementary tournament in Barrett. Wrestling will start at 9 am.