Pierz rattled off five more wins this week to run its perfect record to 15-0, with arguably its biggest win to date coming at rival Little Falls 38-24, Jan. 10.
The dual started off in ideal fashion for Pierz, with freshman Brandon Ortman recording a fall at 106 pounds and junior Cole Brausen enduring a tight match for a 4-2 overtime win at 113.
“Cole’s match at 113 was a big momentum match for us,” Pierz head coach Mark Jensen said. “I knew that match could go either way. When Cole scored the takedown in overtime to win, it definitely was a big motivator for our team.”
Little Falls came back to tie the team score at 9-9 in the next two bouts, though, as junior Logan Kapphahn won a swing match 5-1 at 120 and freshman Josh Beack delivered a quick pin at 126.
Senior Chris Ortman came through with a fall at 132 to give the lead back to Pierz, before Little Falls senior Dan Mushel won a wild rollercoaster bout at 138 with an 8-6 decision, securing the match-winning reversal as the final buzzer sounded.
Little Falls had a great chance to tie or take the lead at 145, but after falling behind 5-0 early, Pierz sophomore Kolton Eischens gained the upper hand in a second-period scramble, catching his opponent for a fall and a massive swing to extend the Pioneers’ lead to 21-12.
“Kolton’s match appeared to be pretty evenly matched, until the flurry of action and he caught the Little Falls wrestler on his back and was able to secure the fall,” Jensen said. “Kolton’s ability to scramble and gain the upper position is an attribute that will serve him well in the future.”
Little Falls junior Axel Lange built an early lead before hanging on for a 12-8 decision at 152, then Pierz freshman Brett Kapsner won in similar fashion at 160, using a third-period turn to provide enough cushion for a 6-5 win that effectively sealed the dual.
Pierz senior Jordon Goebel won with a 9-1 major decision at 170, followed by a 7-2 win for Little Falls senior Tyler Gastecki at 182.
To round out the dual, Pierz senior Ryley Smude earned a late fall at 195, Little Falls senior Trysten Ross earned a first-period pin at 220 and Pierz senior Curtis Brisk won 9-0 at 285.
“I thought our team did a nice job of not giving up many bonus points and gaining them in the positions where we could,” Jensen said. “It is critical in wrestling in the tournament stretch that you are able to keep matches that you lose close.”
Pierz also swept through a pair of home triangulars during the week, the first of which came with wins over Osakis (54-19) and Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Indus (48-6), Jan. 9.
Senior Evan Woitalla, freshmen Andrew Tomala and Matt Kummet, Chris Ortman, Eischens, Goebel and Brisk all went 2-0 on the night for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers dominated in similar fashion against a pair of Central Minnesota Conference opponents, Tuesday, sweeping Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (61-12) and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (52-12).
Winning two matches apiece for Pierz were senior Brandon Sullivan, Brandon Ortman, Tomala, Chris Ortman, Woitalla, Eischens, Kummet, Kapsner, Goebel and Smude.
Royals’ Lange wins bracket at Bemidji Invite
Senior Mitch Lange swept through his bracket at 170 to lead Royalton-Upsala to sixth place out of nine teams at the Bemidji Rick Lee Invite, Jan. 11.
Sophomores Clint Gadacz (285) and Kyle Lange (182) were runners-up in their brackets, with other placewinners including in third place sophomore Brad Kroll (152) and freshman Michael Petron (113); in fourth place senior Shawn Urbanski (160); in fifth place sophomore Cody Wensmann (138) and seventh-grader Jackson Held (120); and in sixth place senior Matt Neu (132).
Royalton-Upsala took two of three matches at a home quad, Tuesday, toppling Sauk Rapids-Rice 48-34 and Prairie Valley 60-6 while falling against Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 45-33.
Junior Brady Moulzolf, Mitch Lange and Kyle Lange all went 3-0 on the night, with Jackson Held and Urbanski both going 2-0.
Freshman Ty Held, Wensmann, Gadacz and Petron also won two matches apiece.
Gerads, Scott take
first at Paynesville
Senior Kyle Gerads took first place at 160 and junior Zach Scott won the 132 bracket to lead Holdingford to fifth place out of eight teams at the Paynesville tournament, Jan. 10.
Juniors Jake Knettel (145) and Nathan Brinker (182) were runners-up at their weights and sophomore Clem Gerads took third at 138.
Holdingford dropped a non-conference dual 48-21 at Milaca-Faith Christian, Tuesday.
Freshman Walker Nienaber won by pin, with junior Jamey Koetter, Scott, Gerads and Brinker also winning.