West-Central-Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville held a five-point lead over fifth-ranked Minnewaska in the opening dual of its home triangular on Thursday night. With the Knights' best chance to clinch their biggest win of the season coming in the 220-pound matchup, Colton Lindquist got the job done.
WCA-A-B-E's Beau Robinson (195) pinned Dylan Koubsky in a minute and 50 seconds to give the Knights a 29-24 lead with two matchups remaining. Looming in the heavyweight bout was Minnewaska's Jakob Swalla, the second-ranked Class A wrestler at 285 pounds, according to The Guillotine.
Lindquist went the distance with Nathan Rankin as the match tied at the end of three periods. A takedown in the opening seconds of the extra session sealed a 32-30 victory for Lindquist and the Knights.
"I don't really know what happened, honestly," Lindquist said. "I wanted to get this win for my team. It was awesome to see us all pumped up. That's kind of what drove me to do it. Two years ago, we upset No. 5 (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa). This reminded me of that. Both nights were amazing and will be fun to remember."
If Lindquist hadn't found a way to pick up a win, the end result would have differed. Swalla picked up his 125th career win with a pin over Justin Blascyk.
"I never really thought I'd be this far into wrestling when I think about how it started," Swalla said. "I wrestled growing up and stuff and played some basketball here and there. In seventh grade, I decided to wrestle and stuck with it. I guess hard work pays off."
Thursday night saw a head-to-head matchup of two of the state's top Class A wrestlers. Minnewaska's Tyson Meyer, the top-ranked guy in the 182-pound weight class, edged out a 3-0 decision win over fourth-ranked Nate Kisgen. Kisgen came close to handing Meyer his second loss in three years.
"I think if (Kisgen) doesn't come out and go big right away, he wouldn't have put himself in a position to wrestle a comeback," WCA-A-B-E head coach Brandon Gruchow said. "He was right there. That match could be his next time."
Gruchow aimed for his guys to not give up the extra points in pins and major decisions while capitalizing on their own mismatches. It started in the opening match when Carter Lohse lost in a 5-0 decision to Nick Ankeny.
"When Carter was able to stop himself from getting pinned, that was a big deal for us," Gruchow said. "The other guys carried that, and I think that's what our team knew had to happen for things to go right for us. You're not always going to beat the guy you're up against, but not giving them the extra points could make the difference."
The Knights trailed 9-0 before Adam Lohse (120, 1:50) got his first of two pins on the night. A decision win from Soloman Wales (126, 4-0) knotted the match 9-9.
Minnewaska's Caden Koziol (132, 0:29) pinned Grant Linquist before Jacob Blair (138, 9-2) beat Ashton Danner to regain the nine-point lead.
WCA-A-B-E's Reubens Swanson looked like he was on his way to picking up a decision win in the 145-pound match. What would've been a three-point gain for the Knights turned into a six-point win due to an injury to Jackson Stadsvold, which ended the match prematurely.
"We got some guys battling some injuries right now," Swalla said. "I think if we can get healthy, we will be fine. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves. Nobody wants to sit out. It just happens."
The Knights evened the score again with a 6-4 decision win from Jordan Lohse (152) over Max Reichmann. Lohse tailed 2-0 after a takedown in the opening period but scored a takedown with 30 seconds left for the win.
Anthony Sykora gave the Knights their first lead with a technical fall victory over Dalton Friedrichs. His steady improvements have been a crucial asset to WCA-A-B-E's success.
"Just in the last few matches, he continues to impress me more and more," Gruchow said. "He's moving in ways that are so impressive. He's going high and low. Kids don't know where he's coming from, and it's been really fun to watch."
WCA-A-B-E's win over Minnewaska is a stepping stone to what Lindquist hopes is a deep postseason run. With the section playoffs right around the corner, he can feel his teammates gaining the confidence to beat anybody across from them on the mat.
"It's easy to feed off each other on this team," Lindquist said. "We want it. This is the hardest working team I've been with. Everybody is working towards the same goal. The coaches push us hard in practice, and it carries onto the mat. We wanted it tonight, and we got it done."
The Knights finished their home triangular with a 57-21 win over MAHACA. Adam Lohse, Grant Lindquist, Sykora, Kade Olson, Colton Lindquist and Robinson all scored fall victories.
The Lakers finished the evening 1-1 with a 55-19 win over MAHACA. Swalla picked up his second fall victory of the night while Schiffler, Ty Walsh and Rankin scored pins. Even though Minnewaska walked away without a sweep, Swalla is confident in his teammates to get where they need to be at come March.
"I think we need to fix the silly mistakes like the ones we had tonight," Swalla said. "Those cost us in the end. The littlest points were the ones that hurt us the most tonight. I'm guessing we'll change the tempo in practice and start picking things up a little bit more. We need to get ready for this last push. I'm pretty confident. We have a lot of experience and have seen the younger guys step up. We'll get there."
WCA-A-B-E 32, MINNEWASKA 30
106: Nick Ankeny (M) over Carter Lohse by Dec. 5-0; 113: Jayce Kovarik (M) over Mason Richter by fall 5:24; 120: Adam Lohse (W) over Chase Smith by fall 1:52; 126: Solomon Wales (W) over Mason Schiffler by Dec. 4-0; 132: Caden Koziol (M) over Grant Lindquist by fall 0:29; 138: Jacob Blair (M) over Ashton Danner by Dec. 9-2; 145: Reubens Swanson (W) over Jackson Stadsvold Def; 152: Jordan Lohse (W) over Max Reichmann Dec. 6-4; 160: Anthony Sykora (W) over Dalton Friedrichs by tech fall 21-3; 170: Ryan VanLuik (M) over Kade Olson Dec. 4-3; 182: Tyson Meyer (M) over Nathaniel Kisgen Dec. 3-0; 195: Beau Robinson (W) over Dylan Koubsky by fall 1:50; 220: Colton Lindquist (W) over Nathan Rankin Dec. 3-1; 285: Jakob Swalla (M) over Justin Blascyk by fall 0:51;
WCA-A-B-E 57, MAHACA 21
106: Tyce Anderson (M) over Carter Lohse by fall 5:46; 113: Dallas Walton (M) over Mason Richter by fall 0:48; 120: Adam Lohse (W) over Andrew Marty (M) by fall 0:52; 126: Ethan Lebrija (M) over Solomon Wales by decision 9-3; 132: Grant Lindquist (W) over Breighton Logan by fall 2:3; 138: Davin Rose (M) over Ashton Danner by fall 5:38; 145: Reubens Swanson (W) over by forfeit; 152: Jordan Lohse (W) by forfeit; 160: Anthony Sykora (W) over Hunter Massner by fall 1:48; 170: Kade Olson (W) over Asher Malek by fall 1:05; 182: Beau Robinson (W) by forfeit; 195: Nathaniel Kisgen (W) over Hunter Gibson Dec. 11-9; 220: Colton Lindquist (W) over Brock Marty by fall 3:01; 285: Justin Blascyk (W) over Carter Gibson by fall 2:42