By PATRICK SLACK
Holdingford will likely have to do it again Friday.
But the Huskers proved it had the ability to contend with reigning Section 7A champion Pierz, Feb. 1, upsetting the seventh-ranked Pioneers 29-28 to end Pierz’ 21-match winning streak and claim a share of first in the Central Minnesota Conference.
Eighth-grader Brandon Ortman emerged with a 6-5 decision at 106 pounds to open the dual and give Pierz a 3-0 lead, but Holdingford sophomore Andrew Zachman responded with a pin with only two seconds left at 113 to put the Huskers ahead 6-3.
Junior Brandon Sullivan, freshman Kolton Eischens and junior Chris Ortman earned consecutive wins to put Pierz back in front at 16-6 before the Huskers pulled within three at 16-13 after a 3-2 decision by sophomore Jake Knettel and a 9-1 major decision from senior Trevor Scott.
Seniors Brad Meyer and Josh Lanners picked up decisions to extend the Pioneers’ edge to 22-13, before the Huskers’ second crucial third-period pin of the night from junior Jordan Gombos at 170, cut the gap back to three at 22-19.
Sophomore Matt Messman gave the Huskers their first lead since the second bout of the night with an 11-2 major decision at 182, then juniors Mitch Messman and Mitch Merten earned back-to-back wins to seal the dual for Holdingford.
Junior Curtis Brisk earned a fall for Pierz at 285 to close the match.
Little Falls takes third at Anoka Duals, falls 32-29 to Becker
Little Falls took two of three matches at the Anoka Tornado Duals, Feb. 2, defeating Willmar 36-24, falling 44-27 to fifth-ranked Cambridge Isanti, then knocking off 12th-ranked Anoka 37-35 in the third-place dual.
Junior Trysten Ross was the lone unbeaten wrestler for the Flyers in the tournament, going 3-0.
Seniors Joe Reis and Conor Swanson, junior Dan Mushel, sophomore Axel Lange, freshman Justin Jenks and seventh-grader Leo Wilczek each went 2-1 in the tournament.
Three consecutive falls to close the dual weren’t enough as Little Falls fell 32-29 at Becker, Jan. 31.
Ross, senior David Copa and Swanson earned falls for the Flyers, senior Connor Scherping and Lange recorded major decisions and Jenks picked up a 6-3 win.
Holdingford knocks off Royals and Bulldogs, claims Rogers Rumble title; Lange earns 150th career win
Leading 25-20 with five bouts to go, Holdingford seized four of the remaining matches to defeat Royalton-Upsala 47-26, Jan. 31.
It was the first match held in Upsala in 10 years, with junior Mitch Lange notching his 150th career win in front of the home crowd with a 22-6 technical fall.
Senior Cory Wensmann, sophomore Brady Moulzolf and freshman Brad Kroll recorded pins for the Royals.
Holdingford pounded Mille Lacs Area 59-11 and Rogers 62-12 to reach the finals of the Rogers Royal Rumble, Feb. 2, then edged Eagan 35-29 in the championship dual.
Seniors Trevor Scott and Kyle Gerads, junior Jordan Gombos and sophomore Zach Scott and Nathan Brinker went 3-0 on the day for Holdingford.
The Huskers cruised once again against Paynesville Area, Tuesday, toppling the visiting Bulldogs 47-21. Sophomore Jamey Koetter, freshman Clem Gerads and Trevor Scott delivered falls for Holdingford.
Royals place fourth at conference tournament, hammer Mille Lacs Area 61-12
Lange earned first place at 160 pounds to lead Royalton-Upsala to fourth out of 10 teams at the Park Region/Prairie Conference tournament held at New York Mills, Feb. 2.
Senior Tyler Hegna, junior Tony Gadacz and Kroll turned in runner-up performances for the Royals and sophomore Joe Jensen took third.
Royalton-Upsala handled Mille Lacs Area 61-12 at home, Tuesday, with Cory Wensmann, junior Matt Neu and freshmen Kyle Lange and Clint Gadacz delivering pins.
Moulzolf, freshman Cody Wensmann, eighth-grader Michael Petron, Kroll, Jensen, Mitch Lange and Tony Gadacz added victories with bonus points.
Pierz bounces back with sweep
Pierz returned to form with an easy sweep of Tuesday’s home tri, dispatching Minneapolis Patrick Henry 59-13 and Aitkin 50-14.
Senior Travis Johnson, juniors Evan Woitalla and Nathan Athman, Meyer, Lanners, Sullivan, Chris Ortman and Brandon Ortman all earned two wins for the Pioneers.