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Panthers see hard work pay off in booster tourney

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 23, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby’s Riley Odden pins Hettinger-Scranton’s Miles Weichmann in the semifinal round of the Rugby Panther Booster Invitational tournament, held at Rugby High School Jan. 16.

Hard work paid off for Rugby Panther wrestlers when seven team members placed among the top seven ranks in their divisions at the Panther Booster Invitational tournament held Jan. 16 at Rugby High School.

Coach Craig Zachmeier said he was pleased with the Panthers’ results.

“We’re getting better,” Zachmeier said. “We’ve just got to keep working and doing what we’re doing. We’re getting better quite quickly compared to some of the teams. We’re gaining a lot.”

Of the eight wrestlers participating for Rugby, seven earned team points for the Panthers.

The Rugby wrestlers finished seventh overall among the 10 schools participating in the Panther Booster Invitational. Pembina County North’s Grizzlies finished first in the tournament.

Rugby wrestler Riley Odden placed highest among his teammates, scoring 18 points for the Panthers after finishing in second place overall in the 145-pound division.

Odden advanced from the quarterfinal round when he took Killdeer’s Birch Bang down in a 45 second fall, then won the semifinal round with a tiebreaker over Miles Weichmann of Hettinger-Scranton. Odden fell to Pembina County North’s Jayce Horgan in 1 minute, 50 seconds in the final round.

Bryson Amyotte, a 113-pounder, and Cole Schneibel, who wrestled in the 285-pound division, each placed third in their competitions.

Amyotte won the quarterfinal match in his division by major decision over Pembina County North’s Brock Freer before falling to Des Lacs-Burlington’s Gunner Rakness in the semifinal round. Amyotte recovered from the setback by taking third place, where he faced Freer again and took him down in a 3:40 fall.

Schneibel took down Killdeer’s Colter Thormahlen in 59 seconds in the quarterfinal round for his division. After losing by sudden victory to DLB’s Jordan Robbins in the semifinals, Schneibel went on take down Dylan Sell in 1:35 in the consolation semifinal round and faced Thormahlen again in the third-place match, where he took the Killdeer wrestler down in 3:57.

Landon Zietz and John Jundt each finished in fourth place in their divisions.

Zietz advanced in the 220-pound division quarterfinals over Hettinger-Scranton’s Bowden Hasbrouck by 2-0 decision. Pembina County North’s Eli Bjornstad took Zietz down in three seconds in the semifinals. Zietz won the consolation semifinal round by 4-3 decision over DLB’s Nathan Robbins, advancing to the third-place round, where he lost by 7-2 decision to Hasbrouck.

Jundt advanced in the 126-pound division after taking down Killdeer’s Cody Simmons in the quarterfinals. Jundt lost by a 7-0 decision to Pembina County North’s Trevor Hinkle in the semifinal round. In the consolation semifinal round, Jundt won by a 5-2 decision over Hettinger-Scranton’s Jeran Frank. Jundt lost by 8-7 decision to Velva’s Shayden Schiele in the third-place round.

Bailey Zachmeier placed seventh in the 138-pound division after falling to Velva’s Gunnar Mogen in the quarterfinals and Hettinger-Scranton’s Gavin Dailey in the consolation round.

Cole Anderson, who wrestled in the 152-pound division, fell in the championship round to Killdeer’s Ashton Frei before falling to Pembina County North’s Demetrius Avila in the consolation round.

“We performed well at home,” Coach Zachmeier said after the tournament.

North Dakota high school wrestling officials decided earlier in the month to eliminate regional tournaments to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Everybody goes to state,” Zachmeier explained. “That means we have to prepare for extra matches (as the season winds down).”

“We’re going to have more matches, more practices, more day after day competition so we can get ready for that grind,” Zachmeier added. “We should be better and better.”

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