by Scott DCamp
Sixth-seeded Thief River Falls pulled off a mild upset of third-seeded Ottertail Central Saturday to advance to the Section 8AA high school wrestling team tournament Final Four for the 11th consecutive season.
The dual was filled with pins – only three of the 14 matches went six minutes – and the Prowlers out-pinned the Bulldogs 6-5 in the 39-36 victory
Ottertail Central scored the dual's first points when Ben Naddy pinned Jake Davis at 106 pounds.
Thief River Falls claimed its first lead in the dual with back-to-back pins by Cole Johnson over Hayden Hart at 113 and Cade Lundeen over Marc Hendricks at 120.
The Bulldogs took a 24-12 lead with three pins of their own. Nate Hart pinned Dakota Fellman at 126; James Holen pinned Cody Sele at 132; and Sam Naddy pinned Teagan Kruckeberg at 138.
The teams alternated victories for the next five bouts, with Kyle Fowler of Thief River Falls pinning Alex Erlandson at 145; Coy Thorson of Ottertail Central topped Josh Bernier 3-1 at 152; Kyle Miller of Thief River Falls pinned Micheale Fielding at 160; Dylan Schieske of OTC topped Brenan Peralta 5-0 at 170; and Hunter Roller of Thief River Falls pinned Ramon Lopez-Moen at 182.
Thief River Falls regained the lead at 195 pounds with a Connor Swanson 4-2 decision victory over Joe Onstad.
OTC took a 36-33 lead with a Daniel Ukelberg win by fall over Ethan Halvorson at 220. Then, with the dual on the line, AJ Riddle sealed a Prowler victory with a win by fall over Ben Cole at heavyweight.
“We knew the OTC match could go either way and we would have to get some bonus points, and we did,” said Thief River Falls coach Kenny Geiser. “Two key wins in the comeback were Hunter Roller's pin and Conner Swanson’s win. But obviously the hero was AJ Riddle. His pin against Cole was the loudest I have heard that arena in a long time. AJ has come a long ways this year and has a bright future if he can stay focused and work hard.”
TRF vs. Bemidji
With the win over Ottertail Central, the Prowlers advanced to face eventual section runner-up Bemidji. The relatively young Thief River Falls squad hung around against the much more experienced Lumberjacks.
Thief River Falls briefly held a 7-3 lead after winning two of the first three matches as Jake Davis defeated Bryce Golden 11-5 at 106 and Cade Lundeen scored an 11-3 major decision win over Nate Golden at 120.
The Prowlers almost made it three-for-three to start the dual with Cole Johnson losing to Joe Hudson 8-7 at 113.
Bemidji took control with bonus point victories by Jon Solum over Cody Sele 18-5 at 126; Indi Farris by fall over Mason Iverson at 132; and Chance Hinrichs over Teagan Kruckeberg by fall at 138.
The Prowlers cut the lead to 18-13 with a pair of one-point victories by Josh Bernier over Parker Beyer, 10-9, at 145 and Kyle Fowler, 8-7, over Corey McAllister at 152.
Bemidji clinched the dual with wins in five of the final six matches. Nick Peterson pinned Kyle Miller at 160; Hunter Schoenborn majored Hunter Roller 19-5 at 182; Gannon Strain pinned Connor Swanson at 195; Wyatt Yoemans pinned Connor Jensen at 220; and Brody Wilander pinned AJ Riddle at 285.
Rounding out the scoring for Thief River Falls was Brenan Peralta, who won by 16-8 major decision over Calvin Sheffield at 170.
“I was very proud of how hard the guys fought,” Geiser said. “I thought we came out strong and ended strong. We were just a few horses short in the end. This young team has come a long ways this season, they are scrappy and they have a great attitude. I look for good things in the future out of this bunch.”
TRF 39, OTC 36
106: Ben Naddy (OTC) fall Jake Davis 0:51; 113: Cole Johnson (TRF) fall Hayden Hart 1:58; 120: Cade Lundeen (TRF) fall Marc Hendricks 5:31; 126: Nate Hart (OTC) fall Dakota Fellman 0:32; 132: James Holen (OTC) fall Cody Sele 5:07; 138: Sam Naddy (OTC) fall Teagan Kruckeberg 0:43; 145: Kyle Fowler (TRF) fall Alex Erlandson 1:20; 152: Coy Thorson (OTC) dec Josh Bernier 3-1; 160: Kyle Miller( TRF) fall Michael Fielding 3:37; 170: Dylan Schieske (OTC) dec. Brenan Peralta 5-0; 182: Hunter Roller (TRF) fall Ramon Lopez-Moen 1:22; 195: Connor Swanson dec. Joe Onstad 4-2; 220: Daniel Ukkelberg (OTC) fall Ethan Halvorson 0:26; 285: AJ Riddle (TRF) fall Ben Cole 5:11.
Bemidji 47, TRF 17
106: Jake Davis (TRF) dec. Bryce Golden 11-5; 113: Joe Hudson (Bemidji) dec. Cole Johnson 8-7; 120: Cade Lundeen (TRF) maj. dec. Nate Golden 11-3; 126: Jon Solum (Bemidji) maj. dec. Cody Sele 18-5; 132: Indi Farris (Bemidji) fall Mason Iverson 2:20; 138: Chance Hinrichs (Bemidji) fall Teagan Kruckeberg 5:38; 145: Josh Bernier (TRF) dec. Parker Beyer 10-9; 152: Kyle Fowler (TRF) dec. Corey McAllister 8-7; 160: Nick Peterson (Bemidji) fall Kyle Miller 1:13; 170: Brenan Peralta (TRF) maj. dec. Calvin Sheffield 16-8; 182: Hunter Schoenborn (Bemidji) maj. dec. Hunter Roller 19-5; 195: Gannon Strain (Bemidji) fall Connor Swanson 1:20; 220: Wyatt Yoemans (Bemidji) fall Connor Jensen :59; 285: Brody Wilander (Bemidji) fall AJ Riddle 5:59.