As the past several weeks unfolded power houses in Class A wrestling clashed around the state. In dramatic fashion upset after upset has taken place. Even #1 ranked Frazee fell to #2 Pierz in that time. Heavyweights around Minnesota dualed it out but just one team in Class A remains undefeated through the season...the West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville Knights.
This has been no small task for the Knights. Head Coach Brandon Gruchow has put together a grueling schedule in which to sharpen his grapplers skills. The team has faced top 20 opponents week after week. That list includes (with current rankings at the time wrestled) #9 Staples-Motley, #20 New York Mills, #15 AA Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, #9 Pipestone and #5 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. One by one the Knights faced opponents and took them down. Now add to that list #2 Pierz, #15 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and #7 Minneota. WCAABE has put together an impressive resume but their work is far from over. The coming week will once again test the team in dual action as they face off with former #1 and now #2 Frazee. The mat men will also compete with #16 Royalton-Upsala.
The Knights began the week on Tuesday traveling to Long Prairie for a triangular. First on the docket was Pierz. The dual pitted the last two undefeated Class A teams in the state. As the dual commenced the Knights would take a 17-0 lead through the first four matches. The Pioneers would close that gap to 11 points as they scratched out two victories but that would be as close as they would come to catching up. Although the individual victory margin was close at 8-6 in favor of the Knights it was the teams’ ability to gather bonus points through pins and major decisions that stretched out the score to a 36-24 win.
The Knights then turned their attention to a fast rising and gritty Long-Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville team. WCAABE posted nine wins out of the 14 bouts and won by a score of 42-15 but a young Wolves crew showed much promise for the future. They will be a Park Region Conference force to reckon with in a very short time.
The junior varsity also wrestled in Long Prairie. Victors on the mat included Connor Nadgwick, Hunter Hanson, Brett Duncan, Kade Olson and Deklin Goeden.
Friday found the Knights traveling to Browerville for a dual tournament. WCAABE would be looking to avenge last years’ loss to the BBE Jaguars and trouncing by the hand of the Minneota Vikings. The first match opened with BBE. Jordan Lohse gave the Knights a four point lead with his major decision but the Jaguars would answer with a pin at 113 lbs. giving them a two point swing. Drake Swanson and Jake Nohre gathered up 2nd and 1st period pins putting the Knights back on top 16-6. BBE wrestled out a decision at 132 lbs closing the gap to seven points however the Knights would put on a landslide winning six out of the last nine matches. Final score, 49-23 in favor of the boys in black and red.
Final match of the evening pitted #7 Minneota vs. #4 WCAABE. Two teams with incredible scoring power and two teams looking to make noise in Class A wrestling. As in so many previous duals the lighter end of the Knights lineup provided a comfortable lead. Following the 126 lb. match WCAABE had legged out the score to 22-0. The Vikings scored twice at 132 and 138 earning a pin and a major but the effort was a little too little a little too late. Following Alex Butcher's decision at 182 lbs. the Knights had bullied their way to a 43-14 mark putting the dual out of reach. Saving match count Minneota tossed out two forfeits in the last three bouts. Final score found the Knights on top 55-20.
JV wrestlers finding success in Browerville included: Mark Adams, Deklin Goeden, Kade Olson, Aiden Winter, Devin Stone. Ruebens Swanson pined two opponents.
Following the duals Coach Gruchow commented about his wrestlers, “We took a different approach tonight.” He continued with, “We focused on making sure that we wrestled to our full potential, leaving it all on the mat and wrestling for the love of the sport. We didn't want them worried about winning, pinning or points. We just simply wanted them to go out and wrestle. We probably wrestled the best we have all year in our Minneota match. It was fun to watch the momentum get rolling. I know they feel good about the wins tonight but I also know that these young men know next week is going to be another test and another chance to get to the next level.”
WCAABE will finally return home after a several week long road trip. Tuesday at 6 pm they square off with #2 ranked Frazee. For those that cannot make it in person the dual will be broadcast on KKOK radio. Thursday the team heads back on the road as they travel to Royalton for a triangular. The Knights will wrestle the home team Royals and the AA Albany Huskies. Action will start at 5 pm. Saturday morning will find the team in Parkers Prairie for the Park Region Conference Tournament. Wrestling begins at 10 am. KKOK will cover the tournament.
Tuesday , January 24 Long Prairie
#6 WCAABE 36, #2 Pierz 24
106 lb. Jordan Lohse (WCAABE) over Brandon Funk per decision 3-0.
113 lb. Kaleb Getz (WCAABE) over Chandler Doucette per technical fall 16-0.
120 lb. #6 Drake Swanson ( WCAABE) over #8 Jake Andres per fall 3:53.
126 lb. #2 Jake Nohre (WCAABE) over Austin Radunz per decision 8-3.
132 lb. Lucas Popp (Pierz) over Chris Onstad per decision 7-2.
138 lb. Reese Kapsner (Pierz) over Hunter Mickelsen per decision 4-1.
145 lb. #4 Kaden Spindler (WCAABE) over #6 Andrew Tomala per major decision 13-3.
152 lb. #9 Keaton Long (WCAABE) over Colton Kasper per fall 3:11.
160 lb. Jalen Jansen (Pierz) over #9 Tyler Onstad per decision 11-10.
170 lb. Levi Larkin (WCAABE) over Logan Leese per fall 2:22.
182 lb. Brett Kapsner (Pierz) over Alex Butcher per major decision 12-2.
195 lb. #8 Matt Kummet (Pierz) over Wyatt Olson per technical fall 15-0.
220 lb. Mason Nibbe (WCAABE) over Carson Huls per decision 6-2.
285 lb. Austin Dickman (Pierz) over Zach Mattson per fall 3:04.
#6 WCAABE 42, LPGEB 15
106 lb. Jordan Lohse (WCAABE) over Justin Crandall per O.T. decision 6-4.
113 lb. Mason Gode (LPGEB) over Kaleb Getz per decision 5-4.
120 lb. #6 Drake Swanson (WCAABE) over Nye Becker per decision 7-0.
126 lb. #2 Jake Nohre (WCAABE) over Riley Thom per fall 1:19.
132 lb. Ted Stacey (LPGEB) over Chris Onstad per decision 8-5.
138 lb. Austin Carr (LPGEB) over Hunter Mickelsen per decision 8-3.
145 lb. #4 Kaden Spindler (WCAABE) over Caleb Pesta per fall :30.
152 lb. #9 Keaton Long (WCAABE) over Thomas Pest per major decision 18-8.
160 lb. #9 Tyler Onstad (WCAABE) over Dalton Butler per major decision 10-2.
170 lb. Levi Larkin (WCABE) over Remington Meagher per fall 1:40.
182 lb. Keegan Cavellero (LPGEB) over Alex Butcher per decision 6-5.
195 lb. Hans Holmquist (LPGEB) over Wyatt Olson per O.T. decision 6-4.
220 lb. Mason Nibbe (WCAABE) over Devin Lange per major decision 12-2.
285 lb. Zach Mattson (WCAABE) over Adam Lindquist per fall 3:30.
New rankings released Friday morning.
Friday, January 27 Browerville
#4 WCAABE 49, #15 BBE 23
106 lb. #10 Jordan Lohse (WCAABE) over Blaine Fischer per major decision 11-2.
113 lb. #5 Cannon Swanson (BBE) over Kaleb Getz per fall 1:57.
120 lb. #5 Drake Swanson (WCAABE) over Tyler Jensen per fall 3:02.
126 lb. #2 Jake Nohre (WCAABE) over Dylan Kampsen per fall 1:16.
132 lb. #6 Tyler Bents (BBE) over Chris Onstad per decision 12-5.
138 lb. Hunter Mickelsen (WCAABE) over Mark Jennings per fall 3:25.
145 lb. #6 Kaden Spindler (WCAABE) over #10 Isaiah Gilbert per fall 3:12.
152 lb. #5 Keaton Long (WCAABE) over Spencer Amundson per decision 8-4.
160 lb. #2 Adam Jaeger (BBE) over #6 Tyler Onstad per major decision 16-5.
170 lb. Levin Larkin (WCAABE) over Trevor Kern per fall 1:19.
182 lb. Dalton Guzier (BBE) over John Barber per fall 4:43.
195 lb. Jonah Voss (BBE) over Wyatt Olson per major decision 9-1.
220 lb. Mason Nibbe (WCAABE) over Seth Roering per fall :44.
285 lb. Zach Mattson (WCAABE) over Leo Ziemer per fall 1:19.
#4 WCAABE 55, #7 Minneota 20
106 lb. #10 Jordan Lohse (WCAABE) over Eric Carrasco per fall 3:23.
113 lb. Kaleb Getz (WCAABE) over Isaac Laleman per fall :57.
120 lb. #5 Drake Swanson (WCAABE) over Teddy Pesch per fall 5:21.
126 lb. #2 Jake Nohre (WCAABE) over Blake Resis per major decision 13-4.
132 lb. #8 Brenan Riess (MIN) over Chris Onstad per fall 2:31.
138 lb. Austin DeVlaminck (MIN) over Hunter Mickelsen per major decision 12-3.
145 lb. #6 Kaden Spinnler (WCAABE) over Cole VanOverbeke per fall 3:22.
152 lb. #5 Keaton Long (WCAABE) over Kyle Banks 4:44.
160 lb. #6 Tyler Onstad (WCAABE) over Shawn Buysse per fall :18.
170 lb. #2 Alec Bueltel (MIN) over Levi Larkin per major decision 10-2.
182 lb. Alex Butcher (WCAABE) over Josh Laleman per decision 8-1.
195 lb. Wyatt Olson (WCAABE) won per forfeit.
220 lb. Mason Nibbe (WCAABE) won per forfeit.
285 lb. #4 Trent Esping (MIN) over Zach Mattson per fall :13.