The Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran wrestling team swept LeSueur-Henderson and Glencoe-Silver Lake in a home triangular on Tuesday, Jan. 10, but lost their first dual meet of the season two days later when they fell to fourth-ranked New Prague, 31-27, in tough road match on Thursday, Jan. 12.
The Royals fell to 7-1 on the season after the loss, a match that head coach Joe Traen said very easily could have gone the other way against one of the top teams in the Royals section.
“We had at least three or more real good chances to win, but we didn’t come through in either situation,” Traen said. “That’s the way it goes. It seemed like we were ready, but it didn’t turn out to be that way.”
The Royals actually took a 9-0 lead in the match after Jackson Sweeney, ranked No. 7 in the state, won a 6-1 decision at 106 pounds, Bryce Duske won a 12-5 decision at 113 pounds and Adam Traen won a 4-2 decision at 120 pounds.
However, New Prague got on the board with a third-period pin at 126, and in one of then night’s bigger surprises, New Prague’s James Berg pinned the Royals’ Matt Elsenpeter, ranked No. 8 in the state at 126, to take a 12-9 lead.
“Thirty-two really caught us off guard,” Traen said. “But even after that, we still had two real solid chances to win.”
The Royals got back on track at 138 when Aaron Sweeney, ranked sixth in the state at 132, won an 8-1 decision to tie the match back up at 12. However, New Prague got a pin at 145 and a major decision at 152, taking a 22-12 lead they would never relinquish. Joe Reinert won a 5-3 decision for the Royals at 160 pounds, but New Prague got it right back with a 6-5 decision at 170 pounds, a match the Royals actually led by 4 points with 10 seconds left.
New Prague won a decision at 182, but Austin Torres, ranked No. 4 in the state at 195, kept the Royals alive with a pin. However, New Prague put the match out of reach with a 7-2 decision at 220 pounds. Davion Franklin, ranked No. 7 in the state at 285, closed the match with a pin for the Royals at heavyweight.
“It’s frustrating the way we lost, but it’s encouraging to see there’s a lot of different ways that we can improve,” Traen said. “Next time, our lineup and their lineup might be different, but we certainly had our chances.”
Things went a lot better for the Royals earlier in the week in a home triangular, when they cruised past LeSueur-Henderson, 65-7, and then held off Glencoe-Silver Lake, 36-28, in a match that wasn’t clinched until Torres and Franklin earned back-to back pins in the final two matches to make up a late four-point deficit.
Glencoe-Silver Lake actually took a 15-0 lead after four matches before Elsenpeter, Aaron Sweeney and Jobe rattled off three consecutive pins to give the Royals an 18-5 lead.
“Joe Jobe really came through for us,” Traen said. “He had been pinned by that same kid in the Glencoe tournament in a close match. Again, it was close, but this time he caught the other kid. That was a pretty big match for us.”
A major decision for GSL at 152 pounds gave the Panthers the lead back, but Joe Reinert’s 17-10 decision at 160 put the Royals back in front, 21-19. GSL surged ahead again, 22-21, with a decision at 170 pounds, but Logan cooper put the royals back in front, 24-22, with a 4-1 decision at 182 pounds.
The Panthers, however, took the lead back once more, 28-24, on a pin at 195 with just two matches to go. However, Torres’ and Franklin’s pins to close the night clinched the match for the Royals against another tough section opponent.
“They match up real well with us,” Traen said of GSL. “Their good kids are on some of our good kids.”
The Royals had a much easier time in their first match of the night, a conference match against LeSueur-Henderson. LSH won the first match thanks to their No. 1-ranked wrestler at 106, but it was all Royals the rest of the way. Duske (113), Traen (120), Elsenpeter (132), Cooper 182), Torres (195) and Franklin (285) all earned pins for the Royals. Aaron Sweeney also won by technical fall, Joe Jobe and Jon Vouk won by forfeit. Corey Jobe won a 12-5 decision at 126 and Bryce Kallenbach won a 3-1 decision at 170.
The Royals were also scheduled to be at the Paynesville Tournament on Friday, Jan. 11, but that tournament was cancelled because of icy road conditions. The Royals will be back on the mat for a home triangular on Thursday, Jan. 17, when they host Tri City United (5 p.m.) and Rockford (8 p.m.), and again at the Hutchinson Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 10:30 a.m.
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org