OTC to wrap up regular season at Minnewaska
The Otter Tail Central Bulldogs kicked off a long stretch of matches on Thursday as they hosted a triangular with Mahnomen-Waubun and New York Mills.
OTC then traveled to Fergus Falls on Friday for a quadrangular with Fergus Falls, Alexandria and Sartell-St.Stephen. Finally, they wrapped up their long stretch with the Park Region Conference in Sebeka on Saturday.
“Due to a couple of cancellations earlier in the year, I was looking for some opportunities to get my athletes some extra matches. Fergus Falls was gracious enough to invite us to their triangular on Friday and made it a quad. The only downfall is that my team would have to wrestle three days in a row, which means making weight three days in a row. That can be very brutal on the body and mind,” said head coach Jason Rogers.
The Bulldogs hosted Mahnomen-Waubun and New York Mills on Thursday night in Underwood. It was seniors night and the Bulldogs were happy to be wrestling at home for only the second time this season.
The first dual of the night found the Bulldogs facing off against the Thunderbirds of Mahnomen-Waubun. The match didn’t start off the way the Bulldogs would have liked as they lost the first 5 matches of the dual and found themselves down 26-0. That is when Senior Brien Poser turned things around with a pin over Manny Fernandez to break the losing streak.
Senior Logan Schleske followed this up with a pin of his own over Lukas Geary, to pull the Bulldogs to a 26-12 score. Tommy Ehlert went out at 152 lbs. and had a barn burner of a match, eventually losing 11-10, this gave the Thunderbirds a 29-12 lead. At 160 lbs., senior Jaxon Rich gained a 11-8 win over Will Olson and at 170 lbs. Gabe Hanson gained his first ever varsity pin over Kota St. Clair. This pulled the Bulldogs to a 29-21 deficit.
Unfortunately the Bulldogs were a little thin up top with injuries, leading to a few forfeits. The dual ended with a pin by Blake Geray of M-W over Kale Rich and the Thunderbirds ended up with the victory 47-21.
Next, the Bulldogs faced the Eagles of New York Mills. The dual started off good for the Bulldogs as Mason Christainson was able to gain a victory over Creed Mursu 8-2 and put the Bulldogs up 3-0.
Tayden Soma then lost a close match with Austin Geiser 7-3, tying up the score at 3-3. New York Mills then went on a three match winning streak making the score 18-3.
At 138 lbs., Poser broke the streak by defeating Brandt Malone by tech fall 21-4. This brought the score to 18-8. The Eagles were able to win the next two matches before Jaxon Rich was able to get a victory at 160 lbs. over Hunter Rust 6-5.
The Bulldogs were also able to get points from Tristan Evavold at 195 lbs. with a forfeit and at 220 lbs. as Kale Rich got the fall over Braeden Peterson. The final score ended up being 46-23 in favor of the Eagles.
“We came out a little flat against Mahnomen-Waubun and didn’t wrestle all that well, but I felt like the boys really turned it around against New York Mills. There was a little more fire in the bellies for this dual and I was proud of the way we wrestled.”Head Coach Jason Rogers
The Bulldogs started off their night by wrestling the Alexandria Cardinals.
Like the night before, the Bulldogs came out very flat to start the night, getting pinned in the first five matches of the dual and found themselves down 30-0.
Brien Poser was able to stop the bleeding by getting a pin over Landon Arvidson in the first period, making the score 30-6. At 145 lbs. Logan Schleske had a tough match with state ranked Blaze Nelson of Alexandria and came up just a bit short losing 13-7.
The Bulldogs were able to gain victories at 160 lbs. by Jaxon Rich by fall and again at 220 lbs. with Kale Rich getting a fall. The final score ended up being 63-18 in favor of Alexandria.
The next dual on the night saw the Bulldogs facing Sartell-St. Stephen. This dual started off better for the Bulldogs as Tayden Soma was able to gain a decision over Alex Hendrickson 8-5.
Mason Christianson followed that up with a pin over Julian Morris and the Bulldogs found themselves up 9-0. The Bulldogs then lost the next four matches, all by fall to give Sartell the lead at 24-9.
Logan Schleske then got the Bulldogs back on the board by gaining a fall over Kaden Brooks, making the score 24-15. After that the Bulldogs were able to gain two more victories, as the Rich brothers came through with pins of their own. The final score ended up being Sartell-St. Stephen 54 OTC 27.
The final dual of the night saw the Bulldogs facing their neighbor in Fergus Falls.
“It is always fun to wrestle the Otters, most of the boys know each other from elementary wrestling days and they have a good time out on the mat,” said Rogers.
The dual started off with a very good match as Mason Christianson faced Jacob Fronning. Fronning took a 3-2 lead into the final period and was able to secure a 8-2 victory putting the Otters up 3-0.
The Otters were able to secure pins in the next three weight classes, putting them up 21-0. At 132 lbs., fans saw one of the best matches of the night as Conner Nelson faced off against Carston Fronning. Nelson took a 2-0 lead into the second period. The two then traded points and headed into the third period tied 7-7. Fronning was able to gain a reversal late in the match taking a 9-7 lead, Nelson then scrambled to get an escape making it 9-8. Nelson then made a last second shot and had Fronning up in the air as time expired and was not able to gain the takedown. Fronning took the win 9-8 and put the Otters up 24-0.
At 138 lbs., Poser received a forfeit to give the Bulldogs their points on the night. The other victories for the Bulldogs came at 152 lbs. as Logan Schleske gained a pin over Jeremiah Patelski and at 160 lbs. as Jaxon Rich got a pin over Lucas Oliphant. Tristan Evavold was able to receive a forfeit at 220 lbs. and Kale Rich gained a forfeit at 285 lbs. The Otters were able to secure the victory 48-30.
“Once again, I thought our boys came out a little flat in the first match of the night, but then were able to pick things up as the night went on. We were able to get some matches against opponents that we normally don’t see during the season, so that was kind of fun as well.”Head Coach Jason Rogers
The Bulldogs then had to get on the bus at 6 a.m. the next morning to head to Sebeka for the Park Region Conference Tournament.
“The Park Region Conference runs both a varsity and JV tournament at the same time, so there is a lot of wrestling going on in two gyms. It makes for a fun day for the whole team,” said head coach Jason Rogers.
The Bulldogs ended up having two individuals make it to the finals. The first was Brien Poser at 138 lbs. Poser started off the day with a bye putting him in the semifinals against Solomon Wales of West Central. Poser and Wales have wrestled each other three times prior to this matchup with Poser winning twice and Wales winning once. All of which were close matches. This one was no different as Poser came away with an 8-5 victory.
The turning point in the match was in the second period. Poser had a 2-1 lead and both men were on their feet as Wales had a beautiful shot to get a single on Poser, as Wales was trying to secure the takedown, Poser was able to counter with a roll up and gain a takedown with two near fall points. This put Poser up 6-1. Wales was able to get a reverse and the score was 6-3.
The third period saw both men score 2 points leading to the 8-5 decision for Poser.
In the finals, Poser faced Reese Thompson from Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie. Poser was able to secure his first Park Region Conference Tournament championship by gaining a pin in the second period.
The other Bulldog to make it to the finals was Jaxon Rich at 160 lbs. Rich also had a first round bye before wrestling Hunter Rust of New York Mills in the semifinals. The two had just wrestled two nights before in Underwood with Rich gaining a 6-5 victory that night. This time Rich was able to throw Rust in the first period giving him a pin and gaining his way to the finals.
In the finals Rich met Eion Ness of United North Central. Ness is ranked fifth in the state, so Rich knew he would have his hands full. After a physical first period Rich found himself trailing 5-0. Ness chose the down position to start the second and Rich took a chance by hooking up a pinning combination called the sazama. Unfortunately, Ness was able to slip an arm out which caught Rich mid roll and Ness was able to gain the fall.
Other Bulldogs that were able to place were Tayden Soma at 106 lbs. with a sixth place finish, Julian Umlauf at 113 lbs. with a fifth place finish, Logan Schleske at 145 lbs. with a fifth place finish, and Kale Rich at 285 lbs. with a fifth place finish. The Bulldogs also had two JV wrestlers that finished in the top 2 of their brackets, with both Anibal Franco and Brock Resch getting second place finishes.
The Bulldogs will finish off their regular season with two triangulars this week. The first is Tuesday in Fosston at 5 p.m. as they face Fosston/Bagley and Park Rapids. The other will be Thursday at Minnewaska as they face both Minnewaska and Barnesville also starting at 5 p.m.