The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team has some big wins already this season, but it made its biggest statement yet on Thursday night.

The Knights, ranked 11th in the latest Class A polls through The Guillotine, beat sixth-ranked Minnewaska earlier this year. On Thursday, WCA-A-B-E proved it can compete with any team in the state by edging two-time defending state champion Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Browerville 28-27. It’s the first loss of the season for the Wolves (23-1) and improves the Knights to 20-3.

LPGE-Browerville is loaded in the low-to-middle weights where Connor Flan (106, No. 4), Gavin Albers (113, No. 5), Braden Thom (120, No. 5), Cael Lorentz (138, No. 10), Carter Meiners (145, No. 4), Landon Gode (152, No. 2) and Mason Gode (160, No. 1) are all ranked in the top 10 of their weight classes. Flan, Albers, Lorentz, Meiners and the Godes all had wins on Thursday, but not one of those came by fall.

“We did a better job than normal with not giving up the bonus points in the matches,” WCA-A-B-E head coach Brandon Gruchow said. “We only gave up one pin and that really helps against tough teams like LPGE-B.”

Solomon Wales (126, 10-0 MD) and Adam Lohse (120, fall, 3:14) had important wins early in the match. The Knights then rallied from a 27-10 deficit by winning the final five weight classes.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Kade Olson got it started with a 10-4 decision win at 170 pounds. Beau Robinson won a 5-0 decision at 182 before Nathaniel Kisgen, ranked second at 182, got his team’s second and final pin (195, 1:40) of the night.

That Kisgen pin set the stage for seventh-ranked Colton Lindquist and Justin Blascyk. Lindquist (220) won a 5-2 decision over Bergen Pesta, and Blascyk completed the team’s comeback win with a 4-1 victory over Trey Lancaster at heavyweight.

Justin Blascyk
Justin Blascyk

“It was great to see those last five guys find ways to win,” Gruchow said. “It was nice to see our guys not give up the bonus points, and we wrestled tough matches against some of their best guys. I was glad to get the win and the guys wrestled tough. I do feel like we had opportunities to win by an even larger margin. A win is a win, and we will take it.”

It’s the 10th straight victory for the Knights as this team looks to be peaking with the section tournament not far off.

“It definitely gives them a boost, but they know deep down that this is all practice for the postseason,” Gruchow said. “They are excited about the way they have been wrestling, but they are equally excited to keep improving, which is exactly where we want them.”

Osakis drops two

Osakis ran into a buzzsaw in Class A’s fourth-ranked Kimball Area on Thursday night as the Cubs won a 75-6 match.

The Silverstreaks also fell in a 50-28 final to Paynesville Area. The lone win for Osakis against Kimball came from Jacob Taplin, who scored a forfeit victory at 106 pounds. The Cubs responded with either forfeit and fall wins in 12 of the final 13 matches.

Taplin made it a 2-0 night as he put down Mason McNab of Paynesville in a major-decision win (13-2) at 106. Logan Grove followed suit with a pin in 1:10, while Gaven Cimbura (132, fall, 2:40), Kale Drevlow (145, forfeit) and Tyson Hagedon (152, fall, 4:48) added wins.

Raiders dominant

Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale-Parkers Prairie is hitting its stride at the right time, and the Raiders were dominant in sweeping a home triangular in Verndale on Thursday.

They were nearly perfect against Mahnomen-Waubun, winning 80-0. They also won a 65-13 match against Border West.

The Raiders got six-point wins in 12 of the 14 matches against Mahnomen-Waubun. Pins came from Bennet Arceneau (106), David Revering (113), Reese Thompson (138), Mason Schroeder (160), Hunter Dean (170) and James Grant (285). Tyler Eggert (182) scored a technical fall (17-1), and Abby Ervasti (145) won a 10-8 decision.

Pins and forfeit wins piled up against Border West too. Revering, Thompson, Schroeder, Gideon Ervasti (220) and Hayden Captain (285) all finished off pins. Eggert also had a contested win with a 23-6 score against Andrew Hennessy at 182 pounds.