by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Central wrestling team ended a difficult week on a positive note with two key section wins.
They opened the week with a 58-9 home loss to Waconia last Tuesday, Jan. 21, lost 61-9 to Sibley East last Thursday, Jan. 23, before winning a pair of matches on Friday against LeSueur-Henderson, 47-22, and St. Agnes, 57-22.
The wins guarantee Central a home meet on the Thursday of the section tournament, said head coach Darrin Fox.
“We secured a home meet for first day of the section tournament,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal… so that’s kind of a nice feeling that we earned an opportunity to have on that Thursday. We have to make sure we’re ready for that Thursday and see what we can do… anything in our section can happen.”
Waconia 58, Central 9
Hosting Waconia last Tuesday, Central wrestlers managed just two wins in the difficult dual.
Josh Hendel recorded a first period fall at 113 and Ben Barth won an 8-4 decision at 126.
“We got out to a pretty good start,” said Fox. “Hendel and Barth got some nice wins for us there.”
Despite the final score, Fox said his team wrestled well considering the opponent.
“Waconia is a team that is kind of on the rise in their section,” he said. “They are a nice young team and are pretty competitive.”
Fox said he used the match a teaching tool as the season winds down.
“All in all I talked with our kids after the match,” he said. “There’s some thing we have to concentrate here the next month of the season if we want to be competitive with a team like Waconia… I think we’re fully capable but at the same time they need to make a decision… they really have to commit to it and help each other move forward.”
Sibley East 61, Central 9
On the road last Thursday, the dual against Sibley East felt like a bit a repeat of the Waconia match for Central wrestlers.
Hendel lost in overtime at 113, but Anthony Hennen got a win at 108 and Zeke Dodge got a win at 120 by forfeit.
Fox said the forfeit aside, Dodge has been wrestling well of late.
“Zeke has been on a little bit of a roll and is starting to turn it on towards the end,” said Fox.
The Raiders didn’t win a match the rest of the night, struggling against the middle of the Sibley East lineup.
“I think our guys are working to compete,” he said. “There is that gap. We have some experience but at the same time, it is some of the lost opportunities where Sibley East takes advantage.”
Central 47, LeSueur-Henderson 22, Central, 57, St. Agnes 22
The Raiders closed the week out impressively on the road on Friday, defeating a pair of their section opponents.
“Those are two good wins for us to get out of the way,” said Fox. “We got on the winning track a little… our kids needed a little bit of confidence and I hope that helps us.”
In terms of the highlights, Fox said Davis Colley was able to control his match against his LSH opponent and Dodge picked up two wins.
Barth ended up losing a close decision to his LSH opponent.
“It was a well-wrestled match in terms of consistent movement and he had a couple opportunities to score,” said Fox. “I don’t think we’re too far off in winning that.”
Josh Lord also picked up a win and Bennett Hatterschide got two wins on the night.
Central next wrestles in a triangular on Friday at Jordan with Scott West and Paynesville. They then are scheduled to travel to Stillwater and Farmington on Feb. 6 and the JV will take part in the Dassel-Cokato Tournament on Feb. 8.
Fox said the tournament works well to reward JV wrestlers at the end of the season and get them some competition. Among those are Ty Volner, who has wrestled some at the varsity level.
“He’s a pretty green kid to the sport but he’s put in a lot of a good time this year,” said Fox. “We’re trying to build his confidence for next year. He just needs experience but he’s definitely on the right track.”
Considering weather-related cancellations, Fox said he hopes to add one more meet to the schedule to get his team some extra matches.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.