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Panther wrestlers get ready for the Rumble

By Staff | Dec 27, 2019

Submitted by Maribel Odden Riley Odden (right) placed fifth in the 138-pound division at the Linton Holiday Tournament last weekend. Panther wrestlers are competing today at Rumble on the Red in Fargo.

After battling their way through the Linton Holiday Tournament in Linton last weekend, the Rugby High Panther wrestlers returned to their home gym to get ready to rumble.

The Panthers left Thursday for Fargo, where they’re set for more battles at the Rumble on the Red, held Friday and today at the Fargo Dome.

The Panthers finished 19th in last weekend’s Linton tournament, where they faced tough competition from 27 other schools. Participating schools traveled from as far as Grenora and Kindred for the event.

Bruce Odden, team bus driver and parent assistant to the coaching staff, saw his son, Riley finish in fifth place in 138-pound division at Linton.

“Shape wise, we’re in really good shape; better than the other kids,” Odden said. “There are just things they’ve got to work on in practice to get better at. They wrestled hard.”

Odden said he didn’t think the three-hour bus drive was a factor in the team’s finish at Linton.

“Our kids have been down there for the past five to six years, so they all know what to expect,” Odden noted. “It’s a big tournament.”

Brady Volk was the Panthers’ top finisher at Linton. Volk placed third in the 160-pound division.

“We had a battle this weekend,” Volk said. “Most of the brackets were all sixteen man and they had a couple of extra (wrestlers), so they wrestled some pigtail brackets to get into the sixteen man.”

“So,” Volk added, “It wasn’t as big of a turnout as it has been with the holiday tournament, but it was still a good weekend that everybody had.”

“We’ll get a couple of good practices in and get ready for the Rumble this weekend,” Volk said. “That’ll be good.”

Volk said at Monday’s practice the team was working on “a lot of top wrestling. We’re doing pretty good on our feet, but we still have a lot of improvement to do on our top wrestling.”

Volk described top wrestling as “keeping (the opponents) down, turns and getting all our back points.”

2019 State Champion Riley Zachmeier was home on winter break from Bismarck State College. Zachmeier’s dad, Head Coach Craig Zachmeier had been called away from practice temporarily and was unavailable for comment. Riley Zachmeier filled in and helped the Panthers work on their techniques.

“Today,” Zachmeier said, “We’re focusing more on their mat wrestling. What I mean by that is they’re wrestling on the ground. That seems to be where they’re struggling the most right now.”

Zachmeier added, “We’re hopefully going to fix that before the Rumble on the Red.”

Zachmeier said he planned to travel to Fargo with the team.

Linton tournament results for Rugby were: 120-pound division: Bryson Amyotte, 13th place; 126-pound division: John Jundt, eighth place after 7-2 decision to seventh place finisher Matthew Wolf, South Border; 138-pound division: Riley Odden, fifth place by fall over Hugo Garcia, Williams County; 160-pound division: Brady Volk, third place by 7-5 decision over Carson Mertz, Harvey/Wells County.

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