Panthers wrestle through growing pains
Youth and a lack of competitors continued to hinder the Rugby High School wrestling team last week. The Panthers fell 42-4 to Bishop Ryan and 39-16 to Northern Lights in a triangular at RHS on Dec. 12.
Only four Panthers competed in each dual and there were six double forfeits between RHS and the Lions and four more in the Northern Lights dual.
“In reality, what’s going on with this team is we have team rules in place and those team rules are meant to be followed and if you’re not gonna follow those team rules, you’re going to be suspended from competition,” RHS coach Craig Zachmeier said. “They’re missing practices on their own and I’m not gonna tolerate it.”
Zachmeier said two upperclassmen have been pulled from the lineup, but no one has been dismissed from the team. Senior Dylan Morin and junior Devon Berg did not wrestle Dec. 12 or at the Carrington individual tournament on Dec. 14.
Eighth-grader Kaden Jaeger (126 pounds) led the team in Carrington with a third-place finish after pinning Velva’s Levi Massine at the two-minute mark. Zachmeier said Jaeger (12-6 overall) overcame nerves that plagued him the first couple weeks of the season.
“His first match was tough,” Zachmeier said. “He was flat and didn’t wrestle well, but he came out of his shell and came back and took third. He won three matches in a row to come back … all three outscoring his opponents and then pinned ’em at the end when he was told to.”
Junior Reid Mundahl (145) wrestled up a division at 152 and took fourth at the tournament despite receiving a No. 6 seed. Mundahl (7-7) picked up a pair of wins and narrowly lost 5-2 to Pembina County North junior Gabe Schill.
“That score’s a little bit skewed compared to how well he wrestled,” Zachmeier said. “He outwrestled him and that guy had one flurry that could’ve went either way and that was the turning point in the match.”
Seventh-grader Riley Zachmeier, the coach’s son, was the third varsity wrestler in Carrington and dropped his two matches at 106 and fell to 3-6 on the season.
“His seventh-grade, 12-year-old nerves are still affecting him,” the elder Zachmeier said.
Four members of the team will wrestle at the junior high state championships in Minot today and the varsity team will finish a two-day tournament in Linton. The team also competed Thursday in a triangular with Stanley and Velva.
Zachmeier was most encouraged by the return of junior Bennie Mygland (152), who is recovering from torn knee cartilage.
“He’s back in full force,” Zachmeier said. “We could wrestle him this weekend, but we’ll take a couple extra weeks and make sure it’s healed.”
The team gets a break after this weekend and resumes competition at the Central Cass tournament Jan. 3-4.
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