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Wrestlers take battle on the road before home tourney

By Staff | Jan 17, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Panther wrestler Riley Odden (left) pins his Aggie opponent in Velva last Thursday. The Panthers host 24 schools in the Rugby High gym at the Panther Booster Tourney today.

The Rugby Panther wrestlers battled more than just other teams last week; they faced sickness and a tight schedule of away matches that took them more than 200 miles from home.

The Panthers traveled Thursday to Velva High School, where they saw mixed results against Stanley High School’s Blue Jays and Velva’s Aggies.

Rugby took down Stanley opponents for a 31-18 win. The second match against Velva’s Aggies proved tougher, as the Panthers went down in defeat with a 6-36 score.

Riley Odden helped the team avoid a shutout against Velva, earning six points in the 152-pound division against Michael Thomas with a quick takedown early in the match.

After Aggies took a few Panthers down, Isaac Christenson’s match against Velva’s Bransyn Yanish looked promising for the Panthers. Christenson seemed ready to pin Yanish, but the Aggie soon turned the tables and a grueling struggle. Both wrestlers showed signs of fatigue, grimacing as they grappled on the mat. Yanish ultimately won the match for the Aggies.

After the triangular finished, Odden said, “It felt pretty good (to beat both teams). I was practicing this weekend.”

Odden added, “We’re working on our feet, shooting more that’s taking them down. We’re still working on mat work. We’re getting way better than before.”

“Riley had a good night,” Panther wrestling coach Craig Zachmeier said. “The kid he beat was tough.”

Zachmeier said of the tournament, “The first dual, we did well. The second dual not so good. We lost two matches where we had beaten them earlier in the year.”

Zachmeier said the Panthers seemed tired because “we’ve been battling some sickness.”

The Panthers would travel more than 200 miles east to Casselton the next day for the Central Cass Lettermen’s Tournament, held last weekend.

Eight Rugby wrestlers participated in the two-day tournament, scoring 50.5 team points, tying with the Rams from Roseau, Minn. for 18th place.

Panther wrestlers John Jundt and Riley Odden each placed sixth in their events, while Brenden Kleespie, Aden Jensen and Brady Volk each added six or more points to the team’s total.

In the 126-pound division, Kleespie fell to South Border’s Jace Nitschke in 46 seconds, but defeated Grant Schatzke of Central Cass by fall at 2 minutes, 34 seconds in consolation round three, scoring six team points. Kleespie fell to fellow Panther Jundt in the final consolation round at 1:40.

Jundt placed sixth in the 126-pound division after defeating Kleespie and winning by fall to Oakes’ Blaine Wald in 5:23. Jundt fell to Lisbon’s Caleb Nielsen in 5:18 before taking Pembina County North’s Levi Hinkle down by fall in 4:00. South Border’s Matthew Wolf took Jundt down by 7-6 decision for fifth place in the division.

Odden placed sixth in the 138-pound division when he defeated Bishop Ryan’s Wesley Harvey by fall in 1:42. Odden lost by 14-9 decision to Webster Area’s Andy Johnson before taking down May-Port-CG High’s Bryce Moch in 1:50 and winning the next consolation round by decision over Lisbon’s Simon Sveum, 7-4. Fertile-Beltrami’s Hunter Hitchen won by fall over Odden in the consolation semifinals in 55 seconds before Odden lost by tech fall to South Border’s Jon Shockley in the fifth place round.

In the 152-pound division, Jensen scored six team points for the Panthers when he won by fall over Grafton’s Carter Parsons in 1:59 and took Pembina County North’s Cooper White down in 4:08 in the third consolation round. Jensen fell to Des Lacs Burlington’s Walter Winkler in 1:34 in the fourth consolation round.

Volk scored 6.5 points in the 160-pound division when he won by tech fall over Grafton’s Jonah Linberg in 2:00. Volk also defeated Des Lacs-Burlington’s Weston Walhus by fall in 4:23 in the second consolation round, but fell to South Border’s Jake Herr 1:37 in the quarter final round and Harvey-Wells County’s Carson Mertz in 2:23 in consolation round three.

Also participating was Bailey Zachmeier, who fell in the 132-pound division to Webster Area’s Hayden Niles at 1:13. Zachmeier fell to Webster Area’s Matt Mork in 4:11 in the consolation round.

In the 145-pound division, Christenson fell to Lisbon’s Hunter Schwab in 1:58 and Barnesville’s Hunter Anderson in 57 seconds.

Landon Zietz participated in the 285-pound division, falling to Andre LeTexier of Pembina County North in 39 seconds and Dylan Sell of Central Cass in 59 seconds.

The Panthers will take a break from traveling this weekend when they host 24 teams from throughout the state at the Rugby Panther Booster Tournament in the Rugby High School gym. The event began yesterday afternoon and continues all day today.

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