Wrestlers show strong in opener
The Rugby High School wrestling team wasted no time establishing itself as a Region 3 contender. The Panthers opened their season at the Velva Tournament on Dec. 6.
Carrington won the tournament handily with 291 points followed by Bishop Ryan at 189 and Rugby with 142. Region foe Des Lacs-Burlington was a close fourth place at 130.
“Now we actually have a chance to qualify as a dual team,” RHS senior Devon Berg said, “which is nice because it hasn’t been done in awhile.”
Berg, a 220-pounder, wrestled for the first time after taking last season off and finished third. His confidence is reflected in a strong showing by RHS throughout the lineup.
Berg and freshman brother Joey Berg (113) were among five Panthers to finish the Velva Tournament with just one loss.
The younger Berg led the team with a 4-1 record. He dropped his first match, a quarterfinal against eventual champion Carrington’s Lucas Geiszler.
“It’s built me up a lot of confidence,” Joey Berg said, “especially after the first match because I was winning and lost it, and I pretty much pinned my way after that.”
Joey Berg won three of the next four matches with pins and the other victory came in a 13-3 major decision.
RHS senior Reid Mundahl (160) was the only varsity Panther to finish second in his weight-class, dropping the championship in a 9-2 decision for Carrington’s Chaz Bauer. Mundahl advanced to the final with a 10-7 decision over DL-B’s Jordan Evanoff and a pin of Bishop Ryan’s Corbin Manley at 1:31. RHS coach Craig Zachmeier described Mundahl as “dominant”. Mundahl is ranked No. 1 at 160 in the first Region III Coaches Poll, but will likely make his way to 152 pounds in the coming months.
Third-place winners for RHS included freshman Kaden Jaeger (138), senior Bennie Mygland (170), sophomore Ethan Morin (182) and Spencer Koehmstedt (285). Zachmeier was especially encouraged by Koehmstedt’s strong start.
“He lost to a kid that was ranked in the top five all of last year,” Zachmeier said. “We out-wrestled the kid, but had to adjust to a different style of wrestling.”
The team’s next meet took place Thursday at Bishop Ryan with the Lions, Rolla and DL-B joining the Panthers. RHS is at the Carrington Tournament today, facing elite non-region foes including the Cardinals, North Border and Napoleon.
“We have to have better conditioning,” Zachmeier said. “We lost two overtime matches. That’s totally unacceptable, so we’ve been doing a lot of conditioning this week.”
Devon Berg agreed with the conditioning assessment, saying he thought his wrestling was “terrible.”
“It wasn’t the best,” Devon Berg said. “We’re really out of shape.”
RHS hosts Stanley and Velva in a tri-match Tuesday at Charles Hanneman Gymnasium.
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