Seven West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville wrestlers were in championship matches on Saturday at the Park Region Conference Tournament. The Knights crowned five champions and had two runners-up as they won the PRC Team title with 215 points and Head Coach Brandon Gruchow was named Park Region Conference Coach of the Year.
Royalton/Upsala was second with 151.5, followed by Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (143.5) Ottertail Central (141), Wadena-Deer Creek (105.5), Long Prairie/ Grey Eagle/Browerville (105), United North Central (97.5), New York Mills (95.5) and Osakis (79).
"It took a little bit of adjustment for all of us today," reported Coach Gruchow. "We have been wrestling in so many duals, it definitely felt different. We haven't been in an individual tournament since the Big Bear. However, the boys wrestled very well and didn't seem to be phased too much by it. We put up some big pins throughout the day and got an early jump on the race to first place. We tried not to change up the mentality of going out there and wrestling for the team. They wanted pins and extra points and they did a good job getting them. We had a few milestones and awards captured today. Tyler Onstad earned his 125th win, Jake Nohre earned Most Valuable Conference Wrestler, and Drake Swanson earned the Pin Award and his 100th career win. Drake pinned his way through the tournament, capturing three pins in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Another highlight of they day happened when Zach Mattson earned a pin in the first round over his opponent who is currently ranked 8th in the state. It was a great win and a good eye-opener for the team and himself. We put a total of seven guys in the finals and had five champs. We also placed at thirteen of the fourteen weight classes."
Gruchow continued, "We arrived in the gym around 7:30am and we walked out of the Bertha school at about 8:30pm. It was a long day by time but with all the fun action and success, time flew by. I can't think of too many more things that I would rather be doing than hanging out with these young men and coaches all day. It's been a great season and we had an awesome tournament. However, we are going to stay focused. We are going to continue to work hard, tune some things up, and push even harder as we start nearing the post season."
106: Jordan Lohse 2-1 and 2nd place
113: Kaleb Getz 2-2 and 4th place
120: Drake Swanson 3-0 1st place
126: Jake Nohre 2-0 1st place
132: Chris Onstad 1-2 5th place
138: Hunter Mickelsen 2-2 5th place
145: Kaden Spindler 3-0 1st place
152: Keaton Long 3-0 1st place
160: Tyler Onstad 3-0 1st place
170: Levi Larkin 2-1 2nd place
182: Wyatt Olson 1-2 5th place
195: Devin Stone 0-2 DNP
220: Mason Nibbe 2-2 4th place
Hwt: Zach Mattson 2-2 4th place.