West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville has loaded lineup with lofty goals

The Knights set their sights on championships with a talented roster back from a 25-4 team a year ago.

1 Reubens Swanson 8498.jpg
West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestler Reubens Swanson, left, takes control in a match against Minnewaska during the 2020-21 season. Swanson was a sixth-place finisher at the state tournament at 145 pounds last season, and he returns as a senior this winter to help lead another talented group for the Knights. Alexandria Echo Press file photo

The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling program has been one of the more consistent forces in Class A in recent years, and nothing changed last winter. Head coach Brandon Gruchow doesn’t expect that to change this winter either.

The Knights finished with a 25-4 overall record last season. WCA-A-B-E lost some key figures from that group in Nathaniel Kisgen, Jordan Lohse, Kade Olson, Austin Mattson and Trent Koloski. Lohse (152, 5th place) and Kisgen (182, 3rd place) were all-state performers, but the Knights have a lot of athletes back to help build what Gruchow believes will be another talented lineup.

“We have six returning state prelim participants from last season in Adam Lohse (120), Solomon Wales (126), Reubens Swanson (145), Anthony Sykora (160), Colton Lindquist (220), and Justin Blascyk (285). Reubens (6th), Anthony (5) and Colton (6) all placed at the state tournament last season. Carter Lohse, Mason Richter, Dierk Goeden, Jeremy Blascyk, Ezekial Sieckert, Sam Olson, Grant Lindquist, Ashton Danner, Beau Robinson are all returning letter winners who will help balance the 14 weight classes as well.”

Freshman Hunter Gruchow is also back after an injury kept him off the mat last winter. He was a state participant as a 7th-grader two seasons ago.

“We also have wrestlers who are extremely excited to get on the varsity team,” coach Gruchow said. “Guys like Will Rustan and Jacob Schaffran come to mind. Seventh-grader Owen Gruchow will have a good chance at making his varsity debut this season after having a decorated elementary career. Our expectation this year will be to control the controllables, work as hard as we can to get better every day we step on the mat, embrace the grind the season brings, as well as make this a season to remember.”


The Knights compete in an always-competitive Section 6A field, but Gruchow expects his team to compete right near the top.

“Our lofty, yet attainable goal is to be Class A state champs,” coach Gruchow said. “This team will have enough power to challenge all Class A teams in our state and on our schedule, many of which will be highly ranked. We had a lot of wrestlers doing what they had to do to get better in the offseason months.

“We will be challenged at both the conference and section levels. With teams like (Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale-Parkers Prairie) and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Browerville in our conference and teams like B-H-V-PP and New York Mills in our section, it won’t be easy pickings. Ultimately, the wrestlers hold the power to the success they want to have. The coaches are going to do their best in aiding that success. It has been a couple of years since we have been able to win either the section or the conference tournament. The wrestlers are eager to give it their all to get those titles back in their hands.”


SENIORS - Danner Ashton, Colton Lindquist, Reubens Swanson; JUNIORS - Dierk Goeden, Anthony Sykora, Beau Robinson, Tyler Stone, Justin Blascyk, Blake Flint; SOPHOMORES - Will Rustan, Jacob Schaffran, Kolby Peters, Carter Lohse, Mason Richter, Adam Lohse, Solomon Wales; FRESHMEN - Zachary Vick, Gavin Flint, Jeremy Blascyk, Hunter Gruchow, Tayden Amundson, Caleb Birdsall, Aydan Anderson; 8TH-GRADERS - Brody Brunkow, Sam Olson, Logon Long, Ezekiel Sieckert; 7TH-GRADERS - Owen Gruchow, Charles Bolgrean, Dylan Johnson, Freddi Munoz, Marlon Garza

COACHES - Head coach - Brandon Gruchow, 211-115 career record; Assistant coaches - Dan Wales, John Weeding, Troy Lohse, Jake Richter


Dec. 7 at Osakis Tri, 5 p.m.


Dec. 9 at Wadena-Deer Creek Tri, 5 p.m.

Dec. 11 WCA Invite, 9 a.m.

Dec. 14 at LPGE Tri, 5 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Cass Lake-Bena Invite, 11 a.m.

Dec. 18 at Cass Lake-Bena Invite, 10 a.m.

Dec. 21 WCA Quad, 5 p.m.

Dec. 29 at Fargodome, 10 a.m.

Dec. 30 at Fargodome, 10 a.m.


Jan. 6 at Parkers Prairie Tri, 5 p.m.

Jan. 13 WCA Tri, 5 p.m.

Jan. 18 at New York Mills Tri, 5 p.m.

Jan. 21 at KMS Tri, 5 p.m.

Jan. 28 at Crookston Tri, 5 p.m.

Feb. 3 WCA Quad, 5 p.m.

Feb. 5 Conference championship at Menahga, 9 a.m.

Feb. 8 at Morris Quad, 5 p.m.

Feb. 12 at Morris Invite, 10 a.m.

Feb. 15 Section Tournament, TBD

Related Topics: WRESTLING
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
What To Read Next
Douglas County area basketball, hockey, nordic skiing and wrestling for Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
A 38-24 rebounding edge helped Hillcrest Lutheran Academy earn a four-point win over West Central Area on Monday.
Osakis had an early lead, but strong defense by Barnesville flipped the momentum of the game.
The Alexandria dance team had two top 10 finishes at the Section 4AA on Saturday out of the 15 teams at the competition.