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|Paynesville Press - December 7, 2005|
Wrestlers finish second at Foley
Though they took second at the Foley Tournament to start their season, just like a year ago, the Dogs wrestling team made a bigger statement this year, upsetting Foley 30-25 in the semifinals before losing to Pierz 35-33 in the finals.|
Last year, the Dogs lost to Foley 59-13 in the finals while Pierz did not participate, having just won a state title in football in the annual Prep Bowl. Pierz did beat the Dogs 51-15 in the Section 6A finals last year to advance to state where they won their second straight state title.
On Saturday, the Dogs (rated eighth in Class A) beat Foley (rated seventh in Class AA) and nearly beat Pierz (rated first in Class A).
"It was a great team effort," said coach Tim Woehler. "It was a fun day, fun but stressful," he added. "We had guys step up when we needed."
The Dogs' day started with an easy 53-19 victory over Rocori in the quarterfinals. Rocori forfeited the first three weights, giving the Dogs an 18-0 lead before the first real match. After a Rocori decision, the Dogs won seven matches in a row, building a 53-3 lead before Rocori won the final three weights.
The Dogs got four pins in the match, all in the first period. Recording pins for the Dogs were: ninth grader Jon Kerzman (130), senior A.J. Christian (135), senior Sean Glenz (152), and junior Aaron Burris (160).
Senior Joel Kerzman (145) added a technical fall, and seniors Keith Klein (140) and Aaron Bachman (160) added decisions for the Dogs.
Burris got another pin, against a state-rated wrestler, to key the Dogs' 30-25 semifinal victory over Foley. Foley senior Zack LaVigne is rated fourth in Class AA at 160, and he led Burris 7-2 before Burris caught him in a scrambled position in the second period, put him on his back, and pinned LaVigne in 2:35.
Burris' pin gave the Dogs a 24-16 lead, and Bachman followed with a 7-5 decision over a Foley senior at 171, giving the Dogs a 27-16 lead with three weights to go. At that point, the Dogs either needed one more win or to yield no more than three bonus (only one pin) in those three matches.
Sophomore Kevin Klein lost a close 3-0 decision to another Foley senior, meaning the Dogs could clinch the win with another decision, whether won or lost. Sophomore Jordan Spaeth clinched the win with a 3-2 decision at 215. (Foley got a pin at 275 to make the final 30-25.)
Earlier in the match, the Dogs had rallied from a 13-3 deficit by winning six of seven matches from 130 to 160. Jon Kerzman began this stretch with a decision at 130.
After a dropping a decision, the Dogs then won five straight. Keith Klein's decision at 140, Joel Kerzman's pin at 145, and Glenz's decision at 152 gave the Dogs the lead at 18-16. Burris and Bachman then extended that lead to 27-16.
In the light weights, Jordan Christian was the sole winner for the Dogs, winning a 4-3 decision at 112. Senior Joe Sheridan wrestled well but lost a 7-6 decision at 119 to a state-rated Foley wrestler.
Woehler said the Dogs were the only team to rate Foley as the top team at the seeding meeting. Pierz was seeded #1, Foley #2, and Paynesville #3.
In the finals, the Dogs came close to beating Pierz for the first time since 2001. In 2000 and 2001, the Dogs beat the Pioneers in the section finals while advancing to state. But in 2004 and 2005, Pierz has won in the Section 6A finals - 54-11 in 2004 and 51-15 in 2005 - and then advancing and winning the Class A state title both years.
On Saturday, the Dogs fell two points short of toppling Pierz. While it was a great start to the year, "two points more would have been better," said Woehler of the loss to Pierz. The Dogs still have things to work on, Woehler added.
The Dogs had chances for those extra two points, including some close losses by decision (such as Jon Kerzman's 12-10 loss to state-rated Hank Virnig at 130); some unexpected bonus points yielded by the Dogs; and a near pin by Burris at 152, where he had his opponent on his back for most of the second period before winning by decision.
Paynesville and Pierz traded first-period pins through the first four weights, leading to a 12-12 tie. Sheridan (112) and Jordan Christian (119) got the pins for the Dogs.
State-rated Virnig and Kyle Bednar gave Pierz a 21-12 lead before the Dogs won four straight matches to take a 27-21 lead. (The past two years in the section finals, the Dogs have led only once against Pierz, 3-0 last year after winning a decision at 103.) Keith Klein won a 6-4 decision at 140, Joel Kerzman got a first-period pin at 145, Burris won 8-2 at 152, and Glenz won 5-3 over state-rated Warren Gall at 160.
Pierz rallied with two pins and a decision to take a 35-27 lead into 275, where sophomore Luke Frank nearly recorded a pin for the Dogs before winning by injury default.
This week, the Dogs (2-1) wrestled their first conference match at Albany on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Dogs (grades 6-12) will wrestle in a dual tournament at Wayzata.
Next week, the Dogs will have their first home match on Tuesday, Dec. 13, hosting BBE, New London-Spicer, and Norwood Young America. The Dogs will wrestle Norwood Young America (a new section rival) at 5 p.m., will wrestle NL-S at 6:30 p.m. (with BBE wrestling Norwood Young America at the same time), and will wrestle BBE at 8 p.m.
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