Schleske finishes career with 100 wins

Photo by Chad Koenen
Logan Schleske fell to two-time state runner up Landon Gode of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville in the opening round of the state wrestling tournament.

Four Otter Tail Central wrestlers took to the mat on Friday at the XCel Energy Center with high hopes, but those hopes came up a little bit short.  

The day started out good for OTC as 160 lbs. Jaxon Rich was the first to take the mat and was able to get a second period pin over Ashtin Johnson of Springfield. Rich was trailing 5-0 going into the second period and Johnson chose the down position. Rich was able to hook up a cradle and secure the pin.

Next to wrestle was 152 lbs. Logan Schleske as he had to take on two time state runner-up Landon Gode of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville. Gode got an early takedown to take a 2-0 lead, but Schleske got a quick escape to make it 2-1.  Schleske then got in a good shot, but it went out of bounds.  With the restart, Gode was able to get another takedown and secure the pin on Schleske.

Photos by Chad Koenen
Tristan Evavold picks up near fall points in his opening round match of the state wrestling tournament. Evavold overcame a number of injuries this year to advance to the state tournament at 195 lbs.

Up next for the Bulldogs was 195 lbs. Tristan Evavold.  His opponent was Isaiah Renne of ACGC. Evavold came out and pretty much controlled the whole match. Although the lack of mat time started to show as Evavold really started to wear down in the third period.  

With 0:25 left in the match and Evavold leading by 5 points, Rinne was able to get a reversal and put Evavold to his back and get the pin with 3 seconds left in the match.  

“I really didn’t think Tristan’s back was ever fully flat in that exchange.  But when a referee makes a call, there isn’t much you can do to change their mind,”  said head coach Jason Rogers.

The last wrestler to compete for the Bulldogs in the first round was Kale Rich at heavyweight. Rich had to take on Omar Martinez of Sibley East, who was ranked number one, in the final rankings of the year.  

Rich was able to get a throw in the first period to take a 4-0 lead.  He then exchanged a few points with reversals and escapes.  Eventually, Martinez was able to take Rich down to his back and secure the pin.  

This left the Bulldogs with only one person on the winners side of the bracket and three hoping for the best.  The way the state tournament works is that if a wrestler lose in the first round, the only way to get a second match is if their opponent wins his next match.  

Jaxon Rich tries to earn a reversal in the opening round of the state wrestling tournament.

“We were pretty certain that Schleske’s opponent from the first round was going to get a win and were uncertain about the other two,” said Rogers.  

However, the state tournament has a way of doing some extraordinary things.  Gode ended up losing his next match, which eliminated Schleske from the tournament and put an end to his high school career.  

Schleske ended his career with 100 wins and 60 pins for the Bulldogs. He was a two-time state entrant and finished fourth at last year’s super section, which was a modified version of the state tournament.    

Luckily for the Bulldogs, both Evavold and Kale Rich had their opponents win, getting them a second match.  But first Jaxon Rich had to wrestle on the winner’s side of the bracket.  

Rich came out strong right away, getting a takedown and leading 2-0 going into the second period. Rich chose down and unfortunately was not able to get away, giving up near fall points on two separate occasions and losing the match 8-2. This moved him over to the consolation side of the bracket along with Evavold and his brother Kale Rich.

First up was Jaxon Rich as he faced Will Olson from Mahnomen-Waubun. The two had met earlier in the year with Rich securing a 11-8 victory. The rematch was going the same way with Rich getting a quick takedown and leading 2-0.  

Kale Rich tries to flip Omar Martinez on to his back during the opening round of the state wrestling tournament on Friday.

Rich then was going for a throw when Olson was able to manipulate the leverage and land on top of Rich, after a 30 second struggle Rich’s career also came to an end as the referee slapped the mat in favor of Olson. Rich finished his career with the Bulldogs as a two year starter and captain.  He did get to the 50 win club in his career.

Next up was Tristan Evavold as he took on the second seed Jojo Thompson of Deer River. Evavold was in a tight match the whole way exchanging reversals and escapes.  

Trailing 4-3 with about 30 seconds left, Evavold needed either an escape or a reversal to extend his career.  After two valiant efforts, Thompson was able to keep control of Evavold and come away with the 4-3 victory.  This put an end to Evavold’s career as well.  Evavold was a three year starter on varsity and was a captain.  

“An injury kept Evavold sidelined most of his senior year, or things could have been a lot different,” said Rogers. 

Last up for the Bulldogs was Kale Rich at heavyweight.  Rich came out strong against Keegan Kubel of WEM-JWP.  Rich built a 7-1 lead well into the third period, when Kubel was able to hit a roll and pin Rich to end his season.  

Rich is only a sophomore, so he will have other opportunities to come back.  

“Kale wrestled very well in this tournament.  Hopefully this was a good learning experience and motivation heading into his Junior year,” said Rogers. “I was very pleased with the way our boys wrestled.  Even though we experienced a little heart break in a few of our matches, the boys wrestled tough.”