Wrestlers battle through January
Rugby High wrestlers battled on through January as the end of their season and toughest tournaments yet fast approached.
In their most recent home tourney, the Panthers faced off against the MonDak Thunder, Des Lacs-Burlington’s Lakers and the Kenmare-Bowbells Honkers in the RHS gym January 17.
The Panthers topped MonDak in team points with a 42-10 score. Brenden Kleespie won by fall against MonDak’s Erica Christian in the 113 pound category with a time of 56 seconds, and John Jundt won over Ashden Christian by fall in 1 minute and 24 seconds. 126-pounder Riley Odden won by fall over MonDak’s Austin Harbin in 5 minutes and 30 seconds, while 160-pounder Brady Volk won his match by fall over MonDak’s Ethan Myers in 1 minute, 23 seconds. Dylan Grove took down MonDak’s Austin Richardson by fall in 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Panthers Riley Zachmeier and Isaac Christianson won their rounds against MonDak by default.
MonDak 132-pounder Logan Berg defeated Rugby’s Austin Schneibel by major decision, and Rugby’s Wyatt Schmaltz fell to MonDak’s D’Marco Land in the 138 pound category, with a time of 4 minutes and 46 seconds.
Kenmare-Bowbells narrowly defeated the Panthers in team points with a 33-27 win.
Panther Kleespie took down Honker Joshua Mariner in 22 seconds, while Jundt took down Anthony Topolski of Kenmare-Bowbells in 25 seconds. Schneibel won by fall over Cade Peterson in 44 seconds, and Zachmeier won by fall over Kenmare-Bowbells’ Lathan Stroklund in 1 minute, 31 seconds. Grove won by a 12-5 decision over Honker Michael Schlosser.
Honker Maverick Ford won by fall over Odden in 3 minutes, 8 seconds, while Panther Schmaltz fell to Diontrea Andersen in 4 minutes, 59 seconds.
Des Lacs-Burlington topped the Panthers in team points, 27-18.
Odden defeated Laker Grayson Pease by fall in 4 minutes, 20 seconds, while Zachmeier won by fall over DLB’s Weston Wahus in 1 minute, 26 seconds. Jundt scored 6 points for the team when he won his match by default.
Coach Craig Zachmeier characterized the Panthers’ performance as, “Not too bad; there were some good things. The battle was better. We battled pretty well. Wyatt Schmaltz was sick today; he’s been battling the flu.”
“I think Austin Schneibel’s coming down with it, too,” he added. “But I’m pretty happy these kids came out to battle when they weren’t feeling good.”
Zachmeier said the Panthers most needed to work on “Mental preparation. Our kids aren’t where they need to be; the mental toughness isn’t there. They’re giving up a little too easily in some instances, and yet we’re battling better.”
The Panthers continued their battle in Rolla last Saturday, when they faced 6 teams in the Northern Lights Invitational Tournament.
Rugby placed 6th overall in team points with a total of 75.
Jundt finished 3rd in the 113 pound category after he defeated Larimore’s Bransen Larson in a 5 minute, 7 second fall. Jundt also defeated teammate Kleespie in the same category with a technical fall in 5 minutes.
Odden finished 1st in the 120 pound category, defeating Kenmare-Bowbells’ Maverick Ford in two rounds, one by fall in 5 minutes, 43 seconds, and the second by 13-10 decision.
Jensen placed 3rd in the 126 pound category, defeating Peterson of the Honkers by fall in 24 seconds, and DLB’s Carter Miller by fall in 3 minutes, 47 seconds. Jensen also defeated Rugby’s Schneibel by fall in 1 minute, 26 seconds.
Riley Zachmeier placed 1st among the 138-pounders, defeated Kenmare-Bowbells’ Wry Miller by fall in 1 minute, 40 seconds; Pembina County North’s Cooper White by fall in 1 minute, 6 seconds; Kenmare-Bowbells’ Tyler Burtch by a 16-0 technical fall, and Kenmare-Bowbells’ Stroklund by a 15-0 technical fall.
Volk placed 3rd overall in the 152 pound category, defeating Honker Skyler Ford by 12-6 decision, and Larimore’s Carsen Thorsell in a 9-4 decision. Volk defeated Northern Lights’ Kelin Keplin by fall in 1 minute, 49 seconds.
Grove placed 1st in the 160 pound category with a 10-7 decision against DLB’s Nathan Ferm, a 16-7 major decision over Larimore’s Austin Steffen, and a 5-1 decision over Northern Lights’ 5-1.
The Panther wrestlers will continue to take their battle on the road until they meet again in Rugby February 9 for the North Dakota High School Athletic Association Region 3 Tournament.
This week, the Panthers will face New Salem High School in New Salem.
The Panthers visited New Salem/Almont Tuesday, where the Holsteins defeated the team with a 70-6 score. Jensen put the points on the board for his team when he defeated Holstein Mason Olander by fall in 2 minutes, 20 seconds.
Coach Zachmeier said of the tournament, which was a last-minute duel because of a scheduling conflict with another team’s senior night, “Even though the score was 70-6, it was not a 70-6 duel. We wrestled the best we had all year. “
“Riley Odden wrestled the 2 -time defending state champion, and battled,” the coach added. “Wyatt Schmaltz wrestled the defending state champion, and put the state champion on his back. And Riley Zachmeier moved up and wrestled the #1 guy in the weight class above him for the competition we need this time of year. So, it was a mental thing for us, and we made the trip, even though the score doesn’t reflect how well we wrestled down there.”
The Panthers visit New Salem again this weekend.
“They’re the No. 1 team in the state,” Zachmeier said of the Holsteins. “So, we’ll meet our kids up with them, and battle it out, at the last big tournament of the year.”
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