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Panthers wrestle tough

By Staff | Jan 17, 2014

Rugby eighth-grader Kaden Jaeger puts eventual champion Joe Bakke of Carrington to his back during their 126-pound quarterfinal match at the Rugby Tournament on Jan. 11. Bakke won the match by fall in 2 minutes, 33 seconds. Jaeger finished the tourney in eighth place.

Fans packed Charles Hanneman Gymnasium on Jan. 11 to see one of North Dakota’s premiere wrestling tournaments ahead of the state championships in mid-February.

Rugby High School hosted some of the best teams and individuals in Classes A and B and saw three Panthers earn top-8 finishes in the loaded field.

RHS junior Reid Mundahl led the Panthers with his seventh-place finish and 15 team points at 145 pounds. RHS was 14th out of 21 teams led by Carrington’s 257 points. Pembina County North was second with 226.5 followed by South Border with 215.5. Class A Turtle Mountain (199) and Central Cass 154.5 rounded out the top 5.

Mundahl finished 4-2 through the two-day tournament, including two wins by forfeit. He opened the tournament with a second-run pin over Central Cass’ Cade Meriggan. Mundahl advanced to the quarterfinal, but fell 5-1 to defending state champion Walker Carr of Carrington.

“I’m getting closer to him every match,” Mundahl said. “I’ve wrestled him three times already this year. I’m getting closer by points on him and I’m not letting him score as many points.”

RHS junior Reid Mundahl gets an escape from defending state champion Walker Carr during their 145-pound quarterfinal match. Carr went on to win the match by a 5-1 decision and won the tournament championship. Mundahl finished the tourney in seventh place.

Mundahl won the seventh-place match by forfeit after dropping a 12-11 decision to Bishop Ryan’s Keaton Merck.

Junior Bennie Mygland (152) returned for RHS for the first time after suffering a knee injury in football. Mygland went 1-2 with a second-round pin over Ryan’s Keaton Smith.

“To come off the injury and win a match in a tournament that big is (great), so we’re on board with him,” RHS coach Craig Zachmeier said. “Ethan Morin (182) was back for his first match. He won a match after coming out after a two-year break.”

Said Mygland: “It was kind of like a first tournament for me. I didn’t have my wind. I’m not conditioned enough yet, but my knee feels good and strong. I need to work on my feet, offense and hand control on bottom.”

Eighth-grader Kaden Jaeger (126) and seventh-grader Riley Zachmeier (106) fell in seventh-place matches and recorded 2-3 and 3-3 records, respectively.

Zachmeier dropped his final match to Turtle Mountain’s Easton Crissler, who won by major decision 11-3. The coach’s son proved he could quickly escape on restarts, but Crissler controlled Zachmeier’s head for the majority of the match and stayed heavy from the top position.

Jaeger fell 13-0 to Turtle Mountain’s Clinton Vivier, who immediately gained control.

“I tell them I expect more,” Craig Zachmeier said. “It doesn’t matter how old they are. They’re the ones out there and they’re the ones that have to compete. If they want to wrestle at this level, they gotta show up. It doesn’t matter how old they are. It shows how much heart you have.”

Zachmeier was excited by every win his boys earned because of the level of competition.

“To win a match at this tournament is impressive for our kids and we haven’t peaked yet,” Zachmeier said, “so we’re only improving.

“Every day we’re gonna work with each individual on what they need to improve on. A lot of it now is more mental. We’re away from more of the technique and we’re gonna get into the mental prep that it takes to get over the edge.”

The Panthers hosted New Town and Harvey in duals on Friday and compete at the Rolla Tournament today.

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