Tiger wrestling team goes 2-0 at home triangular

Thursday night was Senior Night for the Marshall/Lakeview wrestling team, and the Tigers showed that experience pays off in a pair of dual wins on their home mat at Marshall High School.

Marshall opened its evening with a 54-12 win over a short-handed River Valley squad that forfeited 10 of 14 matches. The Tigers closed the night against a Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove squad that they had just defeated on Saturday at the Plum Creek Duals in Tracy, and they didn’t have much problem beating them again in a 53-24 victory.

The Tigers honored six seniors before the start of the match against TMB/WWG. It’s a special group for Marshall head coach Justin Bouwman, who took over the wrestling program when they were freshman and has coached some of the wrestlers even before that, so getting a pair of wins on Senior Night was important for him.

“I’ve been with those guys a long time,” Bouwman said. “Jared (Holland) and Campbell (Hofstetter), I coached them way back when they were in second grade. Those guys, I ask them to do anything and they’re right there. There’s never a question, it’s just ‘OK’, and it’ll get done. It’s going to be a hard group to let go.”

The Tigers opened their dual with TMB/WWG with a pair of pins, as eighth-graders Toby Semler (106 pounds) and Kesmond Willert (113) ended their matches within the first period. The Panthers bounced back with a couple of victories, as Logan Axford beat Nick Erbes 4-2 at 120 pounds and Caleb Christian defeated Matt Facile in a tight 9-8 decision.

Marshall responded with pins from Brent Breczinski and senior Riley Roth in the next two weight classes, and Ramzi Gregoire earned a 15-0 technical fall for Marshall at 145 pounds.

TMB/WWG head coach Karl Campbell said the problem for his squad Saturday was giving up the big points.

“The thing of it is, we’re giving up pins and they’re not,” he said. “We’re just giving up way too many pins and way too many bonus points. Honestly, our kids are working hard but we have a lot of guys who are very inexperienced in our lineup. Our first two kids out of the chute, they’re first-year kids. Even though they’re going out against eighth-graders, those are probably eighth-graders who have eight or nine years of experience.”

In the upper weight, the Tiger seniors shined. Holland (195) and Justin Varpness (220) each earned first-period wins, and heavyweight Austin Nath won by forfeit.

On a night where the Marshall seniors were honored, Campbell spoke of the youth and inexperience of his squad, which is building to attain what the Tigers currently have.

“I always say that you have to pay your dues at some point in this sport. It’s very unforgiving,” said Campbell, whose team beat River Valley 54-23. “You have to pay your dues, whether it’s going through the youth ranks and putting your time in there or ninth or 10th grade, you’re going to have to pay your dues. There’s just no way around it in wrestling.

“That’s what you’re seeing with our team right now. We just don’t have enough guys who have that experience, that mat time, that can make us competitive as a team. We have four of five guys that can do that, and when you have 14 weight classes, that’s just not enough.”

The Panthers will get more mat time under their belts on Feb. 1 when they host BOLD. The Tigers are back in action Saturday when they cross state lines to compete at an invite in Parker, S.D.