Marshall wrestling team goes 1-1 in Pipestone

The big guys stepped up for the Marshall/Lakeview wrestling squad Thursday as the Tigers split a pair of Southwest Conference duals at a triangular in Pipestone.

The Tigers opened the day with a dual with Pipestone and played catch-up most of the match, falling 49-27. Marshall then faced the Luverne Cardinals in a match that came down to the wire. The Tigers trailed 35-24 heading into the final two bouts and got pins by Justin Varpness (220 pounds) and Austin Nath (heavyweight) to escape with a 36-35 victory.

The Tigers started off slow against Pipestone and struggled to get their footing. The Arrows got pins in the first two matches before Nick Erbes (120) and Matt Facile (126) evened up the score with pins for the Tigers. But Pipestone won the next seven matches from there to take control of the dual.

“There were a couple of matches there where we were a little overaggressive and it cost us. That just kind of widened the gap for us and it was hard to close,” Marshall head coach Justin Bouwman said.

The Tigers finished the Pipestone match strong with three straight wins. First Jared Holland earned a 7-4 decision against Jared Hillard at 195 pounds, and then Varpness and Nath each earned a pin for the Tigers.

Bouwman said the end of the match was important for his team heading into the dual with Luverne.

“The big guys definitely started a momentum swing for us going into that Luverne match,” he said. “That got everyone going. Guys were kind of down in the middle of that Pipestone match and those wins at the end really fueled us.”

Toby Semler (106), Erbes and Facile helped the Tigers off to a hot start against the Cardinals, winning three of the opening four matches. Luverne then won four of the next five to gain the momentum. A pin by Marshall’s Campbell Hofstetter at 170 pounds stopped a string of three straight Luverne wins, and after a pair of pins by Luverne, the Tigers responded with the key pins by Varpness and Nath to seal the deal.

“It’s pretty easy to be confident when you have Justin and Austin up there as the last, especially with how well they’ve been wrestling for us,” Bouwman said.

The Tigers are back on the mat Saturday when they compete at an invitational hosted by Mankato East.