Bobcats’ dream season ends

BENSON – With co-head coach Gary Hindt recording his 700th career victory during the year and the Wabasso/Red Rock Central wrestling team compiling a 25-0 record in duals during the regular season, 2012-13 had been a banner year for the Bobcats. Unfortunately for them, the year will end without a championship banner for the Bobcats, who fell to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 30-26 in the Section 3A wrestling finals on Saturday.

“I just feel bad for the guys that put in all the work,” Bobcats co-head coach Brett Bartholomaus said. “We came together, we improved together all year as a team and for it to just end like that, it’s… wrestling is a tough sport. I know it was tough for the kids and that’s what made it tough for me.”

The Bobcats had previously beaten KMS 31-28 on Jan. 8, but were unable to duplicate the feat again in the postseason.

“We knew going in that our margin of error was very small,” Bartholomaus said. “We knew we had to get points where we could at every weight class, and at the same time we had to conserve points at every weight class. I think if you look up and down the lineup, there are a lot of things that we could have maybe done better, done differently. It takes 14 to win and it takes all 14 to lose a match that close.”

Mitchell Fulton and Spencer Jenniges started off the championship dual with a pair of decisions for the Bobcats, but the Fighting Saints answered right back with three consecutive match wins to take a 13-6 lead.

Wabasso/RRC bounced back with a three-match winning streak of its own, kicked off by TJ Fulton’s 20-6 major decision at 138. Tanner Rohlik added an 11-1 major decision at 145, while Mitchell Schroepfer eked out a 3-2 decision to give the Bobcats a 17-13 lead with six bouts remaining.

It was the last time they would lead.

“We thought we were in good shape,” Bartholomaus said. “We knew we were going to be favored at certain weight classes. We knew we were going to be wanting to preserve points at others weight classes, and it just didn’t work out. We knew it was going to be close, and it was close, but we just couldn’t get it done.”

KMS picked up major decisions in back-to-back bouts to take a 21-17 lead, while Austin Rothers’ late escape held Jordan Schroepfer to an 8-1 decision at 182 to keep the Bobcats a point behind at 21-20.

Jorge Munoz-Pederson ground out a 3-1 decision over Brady Bierl at 195 to put KMS up four, while Chase Nortons’ pin fall over Jared Welch after three minutes, 25 seconds at 220 gave the Saints a 30-20 lead, as well as securing a state berth.

Alex Schroepfer closed out the tournament with a 26-second pin for the Bobcats, who now must prepare for the individual section tournament.

“Wrestling is a tough sport,” Bartholomaus said. “It teaches you humility and it teaches you to be humble in everything you do. I think we have classy kids, I like to think our coaching staff acts their part with a lot of class.

“The other thing wrestling teaches you is how to get back up after you get knocked down,” he added. “I know none of our guys are feeling real good about what happened, but the silver lining is that we get a chance to show what we’re made of when it comes to getting back up after getting knocked down. That’s what I’m looking forward to and that will be my message to the team.”

KMS also defeated the Minneota Vikings on Saturday to reach the final dual.

Behind nine match wins, including four in a row from 145 through 170, the Saints were able to overcome an early deficit and jump in front of the Vikings 27-14.

Minneota responded with a 6-1 decision for Nathan Bueltel at 182 and Isaac Josephson’s clinical 20-5 technical fall over Austin Rothers at 195.

Trailing by five, the Vikings had to have wins in the final two bouts but couldn’t muster the results. Chase Norton pinned Jameson Hettling after 15 seconds at 220 and Colton Kinney wore down Doug VanKeulen, ultimately scoring the pin fall after 5:01, at heavyweight to take the dual 39-22.

It was an improved performance for the youthful Vikings, who were defeated 38-17 by KMS on Jan. 24.

A year removed from a third-place finish at the state tournament and with just four seniors on this year’s roster, the future certainly looks bright for the Vikings.

The Bobcats reached the finals after mauling the Pipestone Area Arrows 56-10. Wabasso/RRC won all but two bouts in the semifinal dual and recorded six pin falls. The Bobcats had match win streaks of five and six bouts during the semifinal.

KMS will find out who it faces in the first round of the state tournament Tuesday evening, but the Saints do know that they are expected to be on the mat and ready to go at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul at 11 a.m. on Feb. 28.

The Section 3A individual tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Pipestone.

Wabasso/RRC 56, Pipestone 10

106-Mitchell Fulton (W) pinned Garrett Ploeger, 1:44

113-Spencer Jenniges (W) maj. dec. Michael Suda, 15-4

120-Josh Altermatt (W) maj. dec. Nathan Westfield, 9-1

126-Derek Christians (W) pinned Jacoby Hunt, 0:45

132-TJ Fulton (W) dec. Cole Nordmeyer, 3-1

138-Alex Ossefort (P) maj. dec. Cole Anderson, 18-5

145-Tanner Rohlik (W) dec. Walker Kor, 6-1

152-Dominic Ourada (W) pinned McKinley Bush, 4:31

160-Mitchell Schroepfer (W) dec. Allan Hachmann, 2-1

170-Blake Altermatt (W) dec. Will Smith, 5-2

182-Brady Bierl (W) pinned Jacob Gelderman, 1:36

195-Jordan Schroepfer (W) pinned Cole Staples, 1:03

220-Jared Nygaard (P) pinned Brian Hagberg, 1:38

Hwt-Alex Schroepfer (W) pinned Blake Wolters, 2:58

KMS 39, Minneota 22

106-Brock Buysse (M) pinned Caleb Collins, 1:34

113-Jordan Engler (K) dec. Eric Hauswedell, 8-2

120-Nick Meyer (K) dec. Landyn VanOverbeke, 6-1

126-Cody Peters (K) dec. Bryce Bruner, 1-0

132-Alec Engler (M) tech. fall Aaron Collins, 17-2

138-Cole Hennen (M) dec. Jared Krieger, 5-0

145-Kyle Baker (K) dec. Nicolas Esping, 6-5

152-Zach Carlson (K) pinned Grant Abraham, 0:54

160-Travis Lamecker (K) dec. Justin Vankeulen, 5-0

170-Jordon Rothers (K) pinned Everett VanHecke, 0:45

182-Nathan Bueltel (M) dec. Karter Van Heuveln, 6-1

195-Isaac Josephson (M) tech. fall Austin Rothers, 20-5

220-Chase Norton (K) pinned Jameson Hettling, 0:15

Hwt-Colton Kinney (K) pinned Doug VanKeulen, 5:01

KMS 30, Wabasso/RRC 26

106-M. Fulton (W) dec. C. Collins, 7-2

113-Jenniges (W) dec. J. Engler, 10-4

120-Meyer (K) dec. J. Altermatt, 6-2

126-Peters (K) maj. dec. Caleb Kemp, 17-3

132-A. Collins (K) pinned Christians, 4:38

138-TJ Fulton (W) maj. dec. Krieger, 20-6

145-Rohlik (W) maj. dec Fred Mansfield, 11-1

152-M. Schroepfer (W) dec. Baker, 3-2

160-Carlson (K) maj. dec. Ourada, 18-7

170-J. Rothers (K) maj. dec. B. Altermatt, 14-4

182-J. Schroepfer (W) dec. A. Rothers, 8-1

195-Jorge Munoz-Pederson (K) dec. Bierl, 3-1

220-Norton (K) pinned Jared Welch, 3:25

Hwt-A. Schroepfer (W) pinned Kinney, 0:26