by Adam Gruenewald
With team sections set for this Saturday, Central wrestling competed at a triangular with host Benson and Quad County on Friday.
Facing a pair of relatively unfamiliar teams, the Raiders lost 45-25 to Quad County and were edged 34-33 in a match that went to criteria, total 6-point matches, to host Benson, according to head coach Darrin Fox. Quad County defeated Benson, 43-32 in the other match of the triangular.
“They were matches that were winnable for us but we had to wrestle well,” said Fox. “In a lot of places we wrestled really well.”
The match against Benson was clearly close, as the Raiders and Benson battled throughout.
Central started well as Isaac Mueller opened with a win, Benson got a pin and won a 3-2 decision, Peter Barth then won a 6-3 decision and Eddie Mendoza won a 8-0 major decision.
“Eddie was up 6-0 and needed one takedown in 20 seconds and he went and got the takedown,” said Fox. “He went out and won that bonus point for us because he pushed himself to get it.”
Zeke Dodge got a technical fall and Wallace Michels won a 8-7 decision after being up 4-0 and was put to his back.
“He stayed composed and fought his way out,” said Fox. “He got his bearings and was able to have a productive third period where he got back to something he was good at. He worked his way back into a lead and controlled the rest of the match.”
The Raiders then lost a 7-5 decision, gave up three pins and also lost a 2-1 overtime decision at heavyweight.
In the match against Quad County, Isaac Mueller opened with a 10-0 major decision at 106, Quad County won by pin at 113 before the Raiders won two straight matches as Jared Kleindl won by forfeit at 120 and Peter Barth won a 4-3 decision at 126 for a 13-6 Central lead.
“Peter had a really good night,” said Fox. “He wrestled two really good kids and beat them both.”
Quad County then picked up a decision win a 132, before Zeke Dodge won by a 18-9 tech fall at 138, Joe Hennen won a 3-2 decision at 145 and Wallace Michels won a 11-2 decision at 152 to put Central up 25-9.
Quad County then won the next five matches to close out the victory included a forfeit at 170 and four pins.
“We had leads in both matches which we figured,” said Fox. “We just gave up too many team points and couldn’t stay off our backs in the upper weights.”
Fox said his team has continued to work on situational wrestling in practice and knows what they need to do to have success on Saturday.
“It’s not something we don’t work on but the execution of it has to happen,” he said. “We don’t have any extra ones to get it right.”
Fox added that middle school and junior varsity wrestlers concluded their competition seasons on Saturday, with Fox noting the solid performances by Wyatt Lemke, Sean Weckman, Riley Lentsch and Sean Franck.
The Raiders next travel to take part in the one-day Section 4A team tourney at Trinity School at River Ridge on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Seeded #3, Central will open up against #6 Trinity at 1 p.m. Semifinal matches will be at 3 p.m. with the final at 5 p.m. Sibley East earned the top seed, while ACGC got the second seed, and St. Agnes and Kimball are in the 4/5 quarterfinal matchup.
Both Joash Lord and Sam Meeker will provide a boost as they are expected to return on Saturday to give Central their full anticipated lineup for the first time all season.
“I like the spot where we are in. I like our team and I like the guys and the way they wrestle,” said Fox. “I think they picked up on some things and have some confidence and have the ability… I think that we can wrestle well.”
Individuals will then compete at Kimball Area the following Saturday, Feb. 25. The Class A state tournament will be on March 2.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.