Arrow grapplers come up short against Trojans and Fighting Saints

Hoping to ride the confidence gained in having won 4-of-6 dual matches to open the 2021-22 campaign, the Pipestone Area wrestling team suffered a big blow during the week.

With junior heavyweight Jayden Hoss opting to quit the team a few weeks into the season, the Arrows had little up top to help them edge out the opposition in two tight fixtures at Thursday night’s triangular in Worthington. The Arrows, as has been the norm in recent seasons, claimed more than their share of the victories in the lower weights, but with limited support up top, the Arrows proved an easier opponent to come back on – dropping tilts to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (45-26) and host Worthington (48-29).

“He changed his goals, and we haven’t,” Pipestone Area head coach Brian Bos said of Hoss’ departure. “It’s going to be a battle of attrition, and a lot of other schools are going through that right now. I told my boys, there are a lot of kids here walking through the hallways who could contribute to the team and help us be more successful, but it’s a tough sport and not for everybody.”

And with a few grapplers out due to illness, Thursday’s target became that much smaller for the Arrows to hit in order to win duals against the Fighting Saints and Trojans. The Arrows unsarcastically gave up points at both 106 and 113 pounds versus the Saints, as Carloseriel Perez-Garcia fell and Brayden Burmeister bowed out by fall and a 5-1 decision to Colton Noble and Trey Gunderson, respectively. 

John Martens, who remained undefeated at 8-0 following Thursday’s triangular, knocked off the Saints’ Noah Johnson by technical fall (17-2) to get the Arrows on the scoreboard, and defending state champion Hudson Burnett and K-M-S’ Dalten Nielsen split forfeits at 126 and 132 pounds to see the Saints claim a 15-11 lead after five bouts.

Pipestone Area’s Davis Budden.

Davis Budden followed for the Arrows and promptly stuck 138-pound opponent Logan Johnson to lift the Arrows to a slim 17-15 lead. Unfortunately for the Arrows, it was the only time they’d lead in the dual, as K-M-S won seven of the final eight tilts.

Senior Nate Bobendrier dropped a tight 4-2 decision to Ely Johnson at 145, Jett Olson pinned PAS’ Bode Bruns at 152 and Luke Froelich and Coy Gunderson earned forfeit victories at 160 and 170 pounds before Jackson Melcher could stop the Saints’ run at 182 pounds. Melcher tallied the final points for the Arrows with a narrow 8-5 victory over the Saints’ Owen Kidrowski. Aiden Voss followed for the Arrows and had the best shot at earning team points, but Masyn Olson doubled him up 8-4 to earn the decision at 182 pounds.

“We can only do what we can do, and I was proud of the way we battled and the way we fought; we just came up short,” Bos said. “We had some kids out with illness too, so that really changed the lineups and matchups; we get a couple of these kids back and suddenly those lineups and matchups are different and we score more points.

“That’s the way it goes, you have to work with what you have and do the best with what we have – make the most of our season, win some matches and get some guys to the state tournament.”

Burmeister came back against Worthington to even his record at 1-1 for the night, besting the Trojans’ Dalton Larson by pinfall at 113 pounds. Martens followed with a 6-5 decision over Worthington’s Oscar Galvez at 120, and before Burnett earned another forfeit at 126 pounds – lifting the Arrows to an early 15-6 lead.

“For me it’s going pretty well; I’m 8-0, so it’s been better this year … have figured a few things out,” Martens said. “A lot of it has been mental. Bos has helped me get over some of the mental obstacles, and I’m excited to see where I can go this year. 

“Now that we’re missing a heavyweight, we’re going to have to shuffle some things around for a while. Down low we’re still going to take care of things like we have been, and the middle guys are going to have to keep on doing their stuff and working hard. We can still win quite a few duals.”

And Budden, who tallied an 11-3 major decision over Miat Htoo in the 138-pound match, will be counted on to keep the Arrows stable in the lower weights.

“It’s been going really well so far; I’ve had one bad match this winter, and I think Thursday night’s match was the best I’ve had,” Budden explained. “I came into the match feeling pretty good about my fireman’s carry, but I switched it up to a double-leg in that one. It worked well and I ended up getting a major with three seconds left – mixing it up by going back to the fireman’s at the end. 

“We all have specific goals; our job down low is to go out and try to get six points, win every match, where some of the other guys it might be just giving up a decision, not a major, a tech or a fall. It’s about doing whatever you can to help the team succeed.”

Bobendrier did his part against the Trojans at 145, as the senior followed up Budden’s major with one of his own, a 9-1 MD over Jose Alvarez that put the Arrows on top 23-12. Again, however, the Arrows could only claim one more victory after the 145-pound tilt, with that going to Voss at 182. The lanky junior stuck Eh Day Htoo with one second remaining in the second period to account for the Arrows’ final team points.

The Arrows will be back in action Saturday when they travel to Harmony for the Filmore Central tournament.