by Scott DCamp
Seven Thief River Falls wrestlers earned top-eight finishes to lead the Prowlers to a runner-up finish at the 39-team Big Bear wrestling tournament in Cass Lake Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17.
Junior Josh Bernier was Thief River Falls’ lone champion, defeating Adam Jaeger of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 7-6 in the championship match at 152 pounds. Bernier’s path to the title also included a 5-3 win over Ian Frenzel of Blackduck/ Cass Lake-Bena in the semifinals; a 10-2 major decision over Luke Glasener of Sauk Centre/Melrose in the quarterfinal; a 20-6 major decision win over Ray Pierce of Hibbing in the second round and a first period win by fall over Chase Metzger of MAHACA in the first round.
“Josh continued his dominance this season,” said Thief River Falls coach Kenny Geiser. “He has only been scored on offensively one time. He looks strong, quick, and his technique is great, but his attitude and relentless approach are probably his best assets. It was a great finals match, Jaeger from BBE came after Josh and made Josh scramble and work hard for his points. Josh needed a match like that.”
Geiser noted that Jaeger is ranked number two in the state in Class A.
Sophomore Cade Lundeen added a third place finish for the Prowlers. A runner-up in last year’s Big Bear, Lundeen’s bid to return to the championship match fell short in a 10-4 semifinal loss to Jamaal Baird of Deer River. Lundeen finished strong, however, with a 5-1 consolation semifinal win over Owen Bjerga of Staples-Motley and a 4-2 win over Tyler Bents of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the third place match.
“Cade had a great run, especially after his loss to Baird in the semi’s,” Geiser said. “He ended up beating three ranked wrestlers in the tourney. He is getting very tough with his cradles again, just needs to work a little on picking up the pace on his feet.”
Also placing for the Prowlers were a trio of fifth place finishers: Matthew Kolden, at 106; Noah Hawkins, at 160; and Brenan Peralta, at 195; Hunter Roller, seventh at 182; and Jake Daivs, eighth at 120.
“I am very proud of Noah Hawkins,” Geiser said. “He lost early on and ended up coming back for fifth – tough to do in a tourney this large.
Matthew Kolden did a great job of battling and getting some wins against some tough kids, especially in his fifth place match against a top notch opponent.
“Brenan Peralta looked like he was in mid season form throughout the tourney, his ability to score points from his feet on tough wrestlers made the difference in his run to fifth place.”
TRF Has Day 1 Lead
Thief River Falls took second in the 39-team field with 161.5 points – their highest finish in the tournament since 2011.
The Prowlers were well behind champion Hutchinson, who pulled away early in Day 2 and amassed 209.5 points, but comfortably ahead of Staples-Motley, West Central Area and Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, who finished third, fourth and fifth, with 142.5, 141.5 and 139.5 points, respectively.
The Prowlers raced to the lead in Round 1 of the tournament, with 12 first round wins. Eleven of the wins were by fall and the other was by technical fall, which gave the team 24 advancement points and 23.5 bonus points to take a commanding lead right out of the gate.
Hutchinson closed the gap on Thief River Falls after the first round, but pins kept the Prowlers in the lead for all of Day 1. Going into Day 2, the Prowlers led Hutchinson by four points, 118.5 to 114.5. Key semifinal and round of 12 losses ended any hopes Thief River Falls had of winning a second Big Bear championship.
“We had a great day Friday, the guys were very aggressive and that is really what propelled us into the lead,” Geiser said. “We led the field in pins with 23 and also in total match points. This team continues to impress with its ability to score points and pins.”
Big Bear Invitational
n Team totals – Hutchinson 209.5; Thief River Falls 161.5; Staples-Motley 142.5; West Central Area 141.5; Bertha-Hewitt/ Verndale/Parkers Prairie 139.5; Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena 134; Park Rapids 125; Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 112.5; Mounds View 112; Hibbing 111; Barnesville 107; Detroit Lakes 101; Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 96.5; Deer River 83.5; Fosston-Bagley 80; United North Central 79.5; Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 76.5; St. Cloud Apollo 75; Osakis 72;. Roseau 72; Bemidji 70; Mora 66.5; Sauk Centre-Melrose 63; Aitkin 61.5; Andover 54.5; Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 54; Crookston 38; MAHACA 34; Wadena- Deer Creek 32.5; Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/ Nevis 27; Crosby-Ironton 25; United Clay-Becker 25; Nashwauk-Keewatin-Greenway 24; Virginia 23; Fertile-Beltrami 17; Fergus Falls 12; Spectrum 7; Red Lake County Central 6; Mahnomen-Waubun 5.
TRF Individual Results
106 – Matthew Kolden, fifth place, def. Zach Brown (Crookston) fall 3:06; def. Lazaro Garcia (Sauk Centre-Melrose) 5-0; def. by Quinn Kern (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie) fall 1:36; def. by Isaac Tellers (United North Central) 8-1; def. Alex Kowelchek (Andover) 4-2.
113 – Cody Wienen, DNP, def. by Ryan Nosbush (Mora) fall 0:59; def. Wyatt Ward (Spectrum) fall 1:29; def. David Platt (Hibbing) fall 4:47); def. by Nathan Kulzer (Osakis) fall 3:51.
120 – Jake Davis, eighth place, def. Justin Boyd (Fergus Falls) 17-0; def. Jack Fuchs (Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) 9-5; def. by Dillon McGee (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis) fall 1:41; def. Kevin Leecy (Virginia) fall 2:09; def. by Drake Swanson (West Central Area) 10-6; def. by Nate Williams (Crosby-Ironton) 6-4;
126 – Cade Lundeen, third place, def. Hunter Anderson (Barnesville) fall 1:56; def. Ben Johnson (United North Central) fall 2:57; def. Trenten Juelson (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) fall 4:46; def. by Jamaal Baird (Deer River) 9-4; def. Owen Bjerga (Staples-Motley) 5-1; def. Tyler Bents (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa) 4-2.
132 – Cole Johnson, DNP, def. Jake Klancher (Crosby-Ironton) fall 3:19; def. by Gage Zieske (Osakis) 12-7; def. Gideon Joos (MAHACA) fall 0:08; def. Trevor Bruce (Fertile-Beltrami) fall 0:27; def. by Silas Berg (Aitkin) 10-4.
138 – Jayce Lizakowski, DNP, def. by Matt Miller (Staples-Motley) fall 4:00; def. by Jake Poehler (Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus) 3-0.
145 – Kyle Fowler, DNP, def. Evan Gravdahl (Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus) fall 5:38; def. Chase Dressel (Mounds View) fall 5:57; def. by AJ Bethea (Hibbing) 3-2; def. by Thomas Mclaughlin (Andover) 6-4.
152 – Josh Bernier, first place, def. Chase Metzger (MAHACA) fall 1:22; def. Ray Pierce (Hibbing) 20-6); def. Luke Glasener (Sauk Centre-Melrose) 10-2; def. Ian Frenzel (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) 5-3; def. Adam Jaeger (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa) 7-6.
160 – Noah Hawkins, fifth plae, def. Izaah Bennefeld (Fertile-Beltrami) fall 3:37; def. by Mason Preston (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) fall 5:33; def. Isaac Swendsrud (Staples-Motley) 14-5; def. Charles Dressel (Mounds View) 5-3; def. Logan Wadsworth (Hutchinson) 16-2; def. Isaiah Thompson (Detroit Lakes) SV-1 3-1; def. by Tyler Onstad (West Central Area) 7-5; def. Mason Preston (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) 7-5.
170 – Kyle Miller, DNP, def. Brandon Szymkowiak (Staples-Motley) fall 0:40; def. by Blake Skogstad (Roseau) fall 1:53; def. Conner Sharp (Spectrum) 7-0; def. by Matt McNeil (MAHACA) fall 4:03.
182 – Hunter Roller, seventh, def. Kyle Gagner (Red Lake County Central) fall 0:47; def. by Rowan Morgan (Mounds View) fall 4:39; def. Dakota Luepke (MAHACA) fall 1:44; def. Steven Erkenbrack (Wadena- Deer Creek) fall 1:37; def. Jacob Arends (Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) 7-3; def. by Holt Truax (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie) fall 3:23; def. Kole Platt (Nash-Kee- Greenway 13-2.
195 – Brenan Peralta, fifth place, def. Tj Heines (United Clay-Becker) fall 1:08; def. Kendall Richardson (St. Cloud Apollo) fall 0:43; def. Daniel Van Oort (Mounds View) 6-3; def. by Tyler Stenzel (Hutchinson) 6-1; def. Hunter Wilcowski (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) 7-6; def. Dominik Vacura (Badger-Greenbush-Middle River) 17-6.
220 – Connor Swanson, DNP, def. Chris Bushee (Mahnomen-Waubun) fall 1:12; def. Austin Surgenor (Andover) fall 2:36; def. by Chandler Kurth (Hutchinson) fall 1:51; def. by Johnathan Smid (Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena) 4-0.
285 – Brayden Ivaniszyn, DNP, def. Jack O`Brien (Mounds View) fall 2:48; def. by Hunter Macziewski (Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) fall 4:26; def. Alex Ranta (Virginia) (DQ); def. by Logan Veo (Park Rapids) fall.