by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Central wrestling team went 1-1 in a road triangular Friday as they geared up for the upcoming section tournament.
The Raiders defeating Paynesville, 33-30, and lost to Scott West, 75-4.
Paynesville 33, Central 30
The Raiders’ lower weights carried them to a win over Paynesville for the first time in school history in four matches, according to head coach Darrin Fox.
“It was a nice to beat a new team,” said Fox. “It’s a team that still has pretty good tradition overall.”
Anthony Hennen opened with a major decision at 108, Peter Barth got a win at 113, Ben Barth got a technical fall at 132 and Josh Lord added a pin at 138 for a 24-0 lead.
Jared Wickenhauser followed with a triple overtime loss.
“I thought it was a very well-wrestled match,” said Fox. “I thought he did some good things. He had a couple opportunities to win the match in the first overtime session.”
Alex Meeker then lost a 10-3 decision after going for the win down 5-3 in the third period.
“He was being offensive which was good,” said Fox.
Jordan Kohls later got a 7-1 win at 195.
It all came down to the heavyweight match with Central down 30-27 heading into the match where Steeven Smith got a pin.
“It worked out in our favor with matchups,” said Fox. “More importantly, I thought our kids wrestled fairly well against them.”
Scott West 75, Central 3
The Raiders had a pretty good showing against one of the top teams in the state in Scott West.
“We did some things that I thought were good from a perspective of being offensive in some matches,” said Fox. “We weren’t giving up easy points all of the time.”
Fox said his team continues to have better showings against Scott West.
“They are a tenacious team,” he said. “They wrestle for pins and wrestle to beat you up. In the past couple of years, we were never willing to stand in there and take it. Last year we started to work a little bit more and our kids got a little bit better at just standing up for yourself.”
The Raiders lone win came from Smith at heavyweight who got a 5-3 decision.
“It was a very nice victory for him,” said Fox, giving credit for Smith, a 220-pounder who frequently wrestles at heavyweight for the Raiders. “He was able to build a lead early which helped him. He was offensive for the first two periods of the match.”
Fox also credited Meeker for the way he wrestled, Wickenhauser for getting a couple of early shots and Barth and Hennen for limiting points.
The Raiders next have a triangular with Stillwater and Farmington on Thursday, Feb. 6. The JV squad will have a tournament at Dassel-Cokato on Saturday.
Fox said he was unsuccessful in adding another match or two to the schedule, but said his team will appreciate the time off before the section tournament.
“We’re going to give them a chance to get a little bit of wrestling in this week,” he said, “But at the same time recharge a little bit, but fine-tune some things and iron some things out.”
Section 4A play begins Feb. 13, and Fox expects his team will host a game as a top four seed. Seedings will be announced next Monday.
“My instinct on what we’ve done so far is we should be a 3 or 4 seed in our section,” said Fox. “It would be huge for us to have a home meet on Thursday.”
Other teams in the section include LeSueur-Henderson, Minneapolis North, Paladin Academy, Sibley East High School, Spectrum High School, Trinity School at River Ridge, Coop: 266 Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther Jayhawks, Coop: 389 St. Agnes, Coop: 399 Saint James Area, Coop: 431 River Valley Wildcats and Coop: 521 Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial Area.
The top four teams then advance to wrestle in matches hosted by Central on Feb. 15 for a trip to state.
“We haven’t been this far in a long time and we’re not there yet but at least they have the potential to be there,” said Fox. “It’s uncharted waters for us… I think we’ve never gone in with a group that has as much experience as this group does and at the same time, we’re still going to have to show up and wrestle, we’re going to have to work harder between now and then… so there’s a lot of things in the next week and half we’re going to have to continue to work on.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.