Milaca’s wrestling team came through last week’s action in fine fashion as it topped Chisago Lakes 39-23 in an early season dual showdown Thursday, Dec. 12, at Milaca, then placed second behind Class AAA powerhouse Apple Valley at the Delano Invitational Saturday.
The Chisago Lakes-Milaca dual was a re-match of last season’s Section 7AA finalists. The Wildcats topped the Wolves in that clash to earn their first trip to the state team tournament.
“We were very pleased with how we wrestled against Chisago Lakes,” said Milaca Co-Head Coach Mitch Vedders. “It was a big statement about where our team is at, at this point of the season.
“The key to the win was our experience in the upper weights. Our big guys did a great job under pressure. We’ve had several matches go down to those last three or four weights already this season but we feel very confident in those wrestlers. The experience they have has helped us a ton.
“It was a big win but we know Chisago Lakes is a strong team and will get even better.”
“Milaca was impressive – it got the pins it needed and we didn’t,” said Chisago Lakes Coach Shawn Frederixon, who’s team went into the match ranked No. 5 in the Guillotine magazine’s Class AA ratings. “Milaca’s wrestlers were in good shape and finished their matches strong.
“We’ve still got some work to do, but we’ll get better.”
The Wolves, 5-1 in duals, received pins from eighth-grader Jon Hall at 106 pounds, senior Ray Hoffman at 120, junior Austin Weidner at 195 and senior Brandon Merten at heavyweight.
The pins by Weidner and Merten, and a major decision by junior Colton Sailor at 220, allowed Milaca to pull away from a 23-23 tie.
Junior Jack Gutlovics at 145 and senior Jorgen Erickson at 170 won decisions while junior Jack Barsody scored a technical fall at 152.
Junior Hunter Noor at 132, sophomore Dru Kuchenbaker at 138, junior Aaron Moscho at 160 and junior Josh Otten at 182 lost decisions to the Wildcats’ top wrestlers, allowing just three points at those weights.
Apple Valley, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, won the title at Delano with 232.5 points. Milaca was second in the “individual” format meet with 144 points, Watertown-Mayer was third with 142.5, Delano was fourth with 115.5 and St. Peter was fifth with 63.5.
Hoffman went 3-0 with two pins to lead the Wolves with a first-place finish at 120.
Hall at 106, Kuchenbaker at 138, ninth-grader Reece Sandberg at 145 and Weidner at 195 each posted a 2-1 record while senior Mason Hoskins was 2-2 at 132 and Barsody was 1-1 at 152.
“Right now, we are much better in a team format than in an individual format,” said Vedders. “We were missing some guys because of sickness and bumps and bruises.
“Apple Valley is very good once again.”
Milaca, currently ranked No. 12 in Class AA, faced another rugged schedule this week.
The Wolves were scheduled to face Mille Lacs Area and Princeton in duals Tuesday at Onamia. Milaca is at Albany for a dual tonight (Thursday) before hosting Pierz and Cloquet-Esko in a triangular Friday night, starting at 5 p.m.
Pierz is ranked No. 11 in Class A and has six wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their respective wight classes. Five are seniors.
“Pierz beat us in a close match last year but we have gained some experience since then,” said Vedders. “It should be a good match.”
Weidner, who suffered his first loss at the Delano meet, is ranked No. 4 at 182 while Merten is No. 4 at heavyweight and Hoffman is No. 8 at 120.
NOTE: Milaca edged Princeton 35-34 and topped Mille Lacs Area 52-21 in action Tuesday, Dec. 17, ay Onamia. Brandon Merten’s pin in the heavyweight match gave the Wolves the victory over Princeton which held a 34-29 lead going into the match.
Chisago Lakes 23
Dec. 12, at Milaca
106 – Jon Hall (M) pinned Solomon Lunde, 5:11.
113 – Teddy Pierce (CL) pinned Logan Majerus, :48.
120 – Ray Hoffman (M) pinned Grant Brown, 2:45.
126 – Dylan Connell (CL) tech. fall over Mason Hoskins, 17-1.
132 – Aaron Sistrunk (CL) dec. Hunter Noor, 5-4.
138 – Kyle Schoenecker (CL) dec. Dru Kuchenbaker, 5-4.
145 – Jack Gutlovics (M) dec. Nathan Graeve, 2-0.
152 – Jack Barsody (M) tech. fall over Sean Hoyt, 18-1.
160 – Mark Sontag (CL) dec. Aaron Moscho, 5-1.
170 – Jorgen Erickson (M) dec. Mike Sampson, 5-0.
182 – Joe Virga (CL) dec. Josh Otten, 8-4.
195 – Austin Weidner (M) pinned Adam Klick, 1:43.
220 – Colton Sailor (M) maj. dec. Bill Mechelke, 11-1.
Hwt. – Brandon Mergen (M) pinned Jacob Klein, :44.