Section 3AA-North wrestling: On to the next step

DAWSON – The Quad County wrestling team entered the Section 3AA team tournament on a slide, having lost seven of its last 11 duals including its final three. On Tuesday night, however, that skid seemed squarely in the past for Quad County as it rolled to a pair of victories to advance to the section semifinals.

Quad County, the wrestling cooperative of Yellow Medicine East, Renville County West and MACCRAY high schools, ripped through the North sub-section’s sixth seed, Redwood Valley/Cedar Mountain, 55-12, winning the first 11 matches to set up a quarterfinals dual with the Marshall/Lakeview Tigers.

Behind three decisions and a pin, Quad County jumped out on the Tigers 15-0 early and never tamed their rediscovered aggression en route to a 43-27 win.

“We were fired up, we were aggressive, we wrestled the best that we have all year today,” Quad County head coach David Wingert said. “It was awesome out of every weight, the fight, the aggressiveness and just the intensity. I haven’t seen that kind of intensity. We’ve had some great duals this year, but man we were up for it today. Marshall’s a great team. They beat us earlier this year, but we really stepped it up here today.”

The Tigers had used their 38-31 defeat of Quad County on Jan. 15 to essentially lock up the second seed in the section, which may have added an extra layer of nerves to the predominantly young Tiger team.

“I think it was (a little nerve-wracking) being the two two seed,” Marshall head coach Justin Bouwman said. “That’s a big deal for us and one of the better seeds Marshall’s ever had. Not having to wrestle right away I don’t know if that hurt us; them being warmed up, them being ready to go get that momentum. I think we were ready, they just came out a little bit harder than we did.”

Senior Riley Roth was the first Marshall/Lakeview wrestler to pick up a match victory, grinding out a 6-0 decision over Dylan Johnson to cut the lead to 15-3. Quad County answered back immediately, however, as Kirby Winson outscored Brent Breczinski 12-2 for a major decision.

Freshman Ramzi Gregoire cut the Tigers’ deficit to 10 points with his second period pin of Evan Suter after three minutes, 39 seconds. It was the closest the Tigers would get, however, as Quad County used a forfeit and a pair of pins over the next three bouts to extend their lead to 37-9 and end any hope of the Marshall comeback.

Brandon Bratsch scored his second win of the night by pinning Jarrett Louwagie at the 3:33 mark of their 160-pound match, while Aaron Lalim went 2-for-2 with falls after pinning Brandon Appel in 1:20.

The Tigers recorded pins from three of their seniors in three of the final four bouts, but the effort was too little, too late to extend the team’s season.

Campbell Hofstetter pinned Zach Fischer after 3:29 at 182, while the Tigers forfeited the 195-pound match. Justin Varpness then pinned Brian Bratsch in 27 second, before Austin Nath closed out the dual for the Tigers with a 9-second pin of Brier Bossman.

The year is not quite over for the Marshall/Lakeview wrestlers, as the individual section tournament is scheduled for Feb. 22 and 23 in Redwood Falls. The extra practice time also provides an opportunity for the Tiger coaches to spend some extra time with their seniors, who were unbeaten against Quad County.

“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back next year, but that’s a great group of leaders right there,” Bouwman said of his seniors. “You ask those guys to do something and they don’t even hesitate, they just do it. It’s going to be hard to let that group go. We’ve got another couple weeks with them yet and we’re going to try and get everything we can out of them.”

Awaiting Quad County in the section semifinals in Slayton or Friday is Adrian Area, who walloped Fairmont/Martin County West 64-6 in Adrian on Tuesday. The Dragon’s have been ranked among the Top-10 in Class AA all season and should provide a stern test for the resurgent Quad County team.

“Adrian’s tough, but we’ll just have to come out and fight hard at every weight and see what happens,” Wingert said.

Also advancing to the semifinals was Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley. The United were the top seed in the north subsection, and defeated MAHACA (Morris Area/Hancock Area/Chokio-Alberta) 43-27 Tuesday night as well.

Worthington/Round Lake-Brewster used identical 42-35 victories over Fulda/Murray County Central and Luverne to earn their match-up with the United.