The Otter Tail Central Bulldogs started their Section 6A tournament on Tuesday night as they traveled to Graceville to face the third seeded Border West Buccaneers. The Bulldogs were the sixth seed and the underdogs heading into the event.  

“I knew it was going to be a tough duel for us.  Border West is loaded with talent at the lower weights and we are not very experienced in those weight classes.  I preached all week that we have to stay off our backs and not give up bonus points if we wanted to win this match,” said head coach Jason Rogers.

Mason Christianson led off the match for the Bulldogs at 106 lbs. and had a very good match against Gunner Hennessy for the Buccaneers.  Hennessy got an early takedown and two near fall points to give himself an early 4-0 lead, but Christianson came storming back with a reversal and near fall points of his own to make the score 5-4 in favor of Christianson.  After exchanging points, Hennessy was able to grab the last points of the match and take the victory 9-6.  This put the Buccaneers up 3-0.  

Then coach Rogers’ worst fear came true as the Buccaneers pinned their way through the next four weight classes.  The score sat at 27-0 after the 132 lbs. weight class.  

The Buccaneers then bumped up their state ranked wrestler Eli Larson to face the Bulldogs Brien Poser.  But after doing the math, the only way OTC had a chance to win was by bumping away from Larson and trying to get a pin by Poser at 145 lbs.  

“Had we won at 106, and had a couple of our lower weights stayed off of their backs, I may have done this differently, but this was the only way we had a chance to win,”  said Rogers.  

So the Bulldogs forfeited to Larson at 138 lbs., putting the Buccaneers up 33-0. The Bulldogs gamble paid off as Poser was able to get the pin at 145 lbs. over Patrick Forcier, finally getting the Bulldogs on the board at 33-6.  

Logan Schleske was able to get another pin as well at 152 lbs. over Brody Nachbor.  This was followed by two forfeits at 160 lbs. and 170 lbs. All of the sudden the Bulldogs were right back in the match at 33-24.  

The 182 lbs. match found two wrestlers without a varsity win by either having to decide the match. William Schwartz took the mat for the Bulldogs against Kevin Casper of Border West.  After some jostling for position Casper was able to hit a throw and get the pin, putting the Buccaneers up 39-24.  

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs had to forfeit 195 lbs. and that put the dual out of reach, as it made the score 45-24 with only two matches left. The Bulldogs won both of those matches as Kale Rich got the pin over Noah Adelman at 220 lbs. and Tristan Evavold received a forfeit at 285 lbs. This brought the final score to 45-36 in favor of Border West.

“This was a great dual for both teams, it played out almost exactly as I had predicted. I knew it was going to come down to one or two matches and unfortunately for us, we came up on the short end. I am very proud of the adversity my athletes had to overcome this year. I don’t think we ever had our full team on the mat all at one time this year. It would have been fun to see what our team could have done at full strength,” said Rogers. 

This brought the Bulldogs dual season to a close with a record of 3-14.  They now prepare for individual section tournament, which will be held on Feb. 26 at Wadena-Deer Creek.