Wrestling: Pierz punches ticket to state with 48-16 win over Holdingford

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The Pierz wrestling team won the Section 7A tournament in convincing fashion, Friday, topping Mille Lacs Area 53-22 in the semifinals before defeating Holdingford 48-16 in the finals.

After the Pioneers cruised past the Raiders in the first match of the night and the Huskers edged Aitkin, the top two seeds squared off in front of a packed gym at Ogilvie in the championship.

Pierz senior Nathan Tomala records the section-clinching fall at 182 pounds.

Following a 37-21 Pierz win when the two Central Minnesota Conference foes squared off two weeks prior, Holdingford knew it would need several breaks to fall its way to be able to knock off the 10th-ranked Pioneers.

It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that nothing was going to derail Pierz.

Eighth grader Kolton Eischens started the dual with an 18-3 technical fall to give Pierz a 5-0 lead.

Locked in a 2-2 tie after the first period at 113, sophomore Evan Woitalla rolled his opponent to his back to not only pick up a win in an early swing match but a fall in 3:35.

Sophomores Chris Ortman and Brandon Sullivan followed with decisions to push the Pierz edge out to 17-0.

The Huskers bounced back to take the next two bouts, with junior Trevor Scott winning 16-4 at 132 and freshman Jake Knettel rallying from an early deficit for a pin, cutting the gap to 17-10.

Holdingford had an opportunity to pull even closer at 145, only to be denied by Pierz senior Alex Julich.

Trailing 4-0, Julich managed to escape as time expired at the end of the second period, then again early in the third.

Pierz junior Brad Meyer (top) keeps the Pioneers in front with a fall in 4:35 at 160 pounds.

After a wild scramble ended with Julich knotting the score up at 6-6, he earned a quick escape and a final takedown to prevail 9-7.

Top-ranked Huskers senior Mike Jarnot came back with a fall, only to have Pierz junior Brad Meyer match his bonus points with a pin off of a headlock early in the third at 160.

Junior Nick Lochner delivered next at 170, winning by a 10-2 major decision.

That set the stage for senior Nathan Tomala.

With the Pioneers ahead 30-16, Tomala clinched the dual with a second-period fall and sealed a return trip to state.

With the dual already put away, senior Dustin Waytashek scored eight unanswered second-period points en route to an 11-4 victory, sophomore Ryley Smude won 5-3 and junior Travis Johnson notched a fall in 40 seconds.

Pierz 53, Mille Lacs Area 22

The Pioneers opened the night by punishing Mille Lacs Area, piling up bonus points in each of their nine victories.

Eischens, Woitalla, Sullivan, Waytashek and Smude all had falls for Pierz.

Ortman won with a 15-0 technical fall, Julich and Meyer won by injury default and Tomala received a forfeit.


Holdingford 36, Aitkin 28

Holdingford freshman Zach Scott turned the tide of the Huskers’ 36-28 semifinal win against Aitkin in the first match, coming from behind to secure a late fall.

Senior Mike Jarnot and sophomores Mitch Merten and Kyle Gerads also recorded pins.

Senior Galen Piwowar, junior Trevor Scott, sophomore Mitch Messman and eighth grader Clem Gerads won with decisions.

Next up for both teams is the section individual tournament, which will be held Friday – Saturday at Royalton. Friday’s competition begins at 5 p.m. and Saturday’s starts at 11 a.m.

Pierz sophomore Ryley Smude elevates a single leg before recording a takedown on his way to a 5-3 win at 220 pounds.

The state team tournament will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Thursday, March 1. The Class A quarterfinals are at 9 a.m.


Pierz 48, Holdingford 16

106: Kolton Eischens (PZ) 18-3, (PZ, 5-0)
113: Evan Woitalla (PZ) Fall 3:35, (PZ, 11-0)
120: Chris Ortman (PZ) 6-2, (PZ, 14-0)
126: Brandon Sullivan (PZ) 5-0, (PZ, 17-0)
132: Trevor Scott (HOLD) 16-4, (PZ, 17-4)
138: Jake Knettel (HOLD) Fall 2:53, (PZ, 17-10)
145: Alex Julich (PZ) 9-7, (PZ, 20-10)
152: Mike Jarnot (HOLD) Fall 1:16, (PZ, 20-16)
160: Brad Meyer (PZ) Fall 4:35, (PZ, 26-16)
170: Nick Lochner (PZ) 10-2, (PZ, 30-16)
182: Nathan Tomala (PZ) Fall 0:53, (PZ, 36-16)
195: Dustin Waytashek (PZ) 11-4, (PZ, 39-16)
220: Ryley Smude (PZ) 5-3, (PZ, 42-16)
285: Travis Johnson (PZ) Fall 0:40, (PZ, 48-16)


Pierz 53, Mille Lacs Area 22

106: Kolton Eischens (PZ) Fall 1:48, (PZ, 6-0)
113: Evan Woitalla (PZ) Fall 0:33, (PZ, 12-0)
120: Chris Ortman (PZ) 15-0, (PZ, 17-0)
126: Brandon Sullivan (PZ) F 0:22, (PZ, 23-0)
132: Whitney (MLA) Fall 2:57, (PZ, 23-6)
138: Borchert (MLA) 4-0, (PZ, 23-9)
145: Alex Julich (PZ) Inj. Def., (PZ, 29-9)
152: Brad Meyer (PZ) Inj. Def., (PZ, 35-9)
160: Petty (MLA) 9-1, (PZ, 35-13)
170: Nathan Tomala (PZ) Forfeit, (PZ, 41-13)
182: Sammis (MLA) 8-5, (PZ, 41-16)
195: Dustin Waytashek (PZ) F 2:46, (P, 47-16)
220: Ryley Smude (PZ) Fall 0:52, (PZ, 53-16)
285: Sam (MLA) Fall 4:46, (PZ, 53-22)


Holdingford 36, Aitkin 28

106: Zach Scott (HOLD) Fall 5:20, (H, 6-0)
113: Clem Gerads (HOLD) 5-4, (H, 9-0)
120: Novak (AIT) 2-0, (H, 9-3)
126: Galen Piwowar (HOLD) 11-4, (H, 12-3)
132: Trevor Scott (HOLD) 6-3, (H, 15-3)
138: Jackson (AIT) Fall 0:52, (H, 15-9)
145: Kyle Gerads (HOLD) Fall 3:57, (H, 21-9)
152: Mike Jarnot (HOLD) Fall 1:37, (H, 27-9)
160: Chounard (AIT) 13-0, (H, 27-13)
170: Novak (AIT) 5-3, (H, 27-16)
182: Bast (AIT) Fall 5:02, (H, 27-22)
195: Mitch Messman (HOLD) 8-6, (H, 30-22)
220: Mitch Merten (H) Fall 2:40, (H, 36-22)
285: Blau (AIT) Fall 1:57, (H, 36-28)