The Pipestone Area wrestling team made an unexpectedly hasty exit from the Section 3A team tournament Thursday night as the fifth-seeded Fulda/Murray County Central Warriors upset the fourth-seeded Arrows 42-31.
Although the loss of a key grappler and the coin flip impacted the Arrows’ ability to repeat their 49-30 season-opening triumph over the Warriors, F/MCC took it to PAS at every opportunity.
“We just got out wrestled,” Pipestone Area head coach Brian Bos said. “They bounced guys up, put their tough kids on our tough kids and we came out the six (points) somewhere else and didn’t quite get it with Davis (Budden) at 138 (pounds), but won the match.
“They bounced their tough guys up, took one of their weaker kids out at the top, filled in at 182 and had a good plan with what they were going to do. We kind of knew what they were going to do, but the flip really cost us. We needed it to go the other way and that would have changed how 182 and 195 came out, and that would have been the difference in the meet.”
Having won several individual tournament crowns at 106 pounds and versatile in duals in the lower weights, seventh-grader Miklo Hernandez certainly would have changed the contest’s dynamic considerably. Unfortunately for the Arrows, Hernandez contracted impetigo and was unable to suit up for the Arrows – forcing Coach Bos to adjust his line around the loss and the unfavorable coin flip.
Still, Carloserial Perez-Garcia gave the home crowd a chance to fill its lungs with a 22-10 major decision over F/MCC’s Kaston Clarke in the first bout (106 pounds) of the night. The Warriors’ Brayden Gilb promptly pulled those markers back and then some, as he managed to pin Andres Guardado 30 seconds into the third period of the 113-pound tilt to momentarily put F/MCC in front 6-4.
Pipestone Area junior and 2022 state tournament qualifier Brayden Burmeister (126) fired right back for the Arrows, recouping six points with a pinfall of Kaden Landsman late in the first period. Burmeister’s victory was welcome, but the Arrows’ lead was as short-lived as the Warriors in the early stages of the dual as F/MCC’s Teague Meyer got the better of Haden Mulvihill at 132 pounds, earning a pinfall victory late in the second period – lifting the Warriors to a slim 12-10 lead.
The Arrows again jabbed back, picking up nine points in the heart of their lineup through junior Hunter Burnett and senior teammate Davis Budden. The former battled through Lucas Kuball’s attempts to block and stall, who was looking for a simple decision, to pin the Warrior grappler midway through the second period of the 132-pound tilt, while the latter went the distance with Denver Ash – scoring on five takedowns and a reversal to claim a 12-8 decision at 138 pounds.
The Arrows’ 12-9 lead promptly vanished, however, as the Warriors won four consecutive matches before the hosts could earn another victory. The Arrows’ Ritch Sobrecary (145) and Carlos Saenlouangraj (152) were quickly sent back to the PAS camp, suffering first-period falls at the hands of Aiden Lorenzen and Quintin Lewis, respectively, Lucas Thooft (160) lost a 9-2 decision to Owen Olsem and Bode Bruns (170) dropped an 8-5 decision to F/MCC’s Carter Benda – failing to score other than with an escape.
Trailing 30-19 with four bouts to go, the Arrows likely needed 3-of-4 to go their way; they picked up two.
“I think all the guys came out to wrestle, they were just better than us tonight,” Bos said. “Without Miko there, we needed a lot to go our way and it… didn’t.”
PAS junior Jackson Melcher (182) and senior teammate Aiden Voss (220) kept hope alive in the PAS camp, sandwiching pinfall victories around Griffin Smidt’s pinfall loss to F/MCC’s Carson Klein at 195 pounds but leaving the inexperienced Avery Gutierrez needing a fall in the heavyweight bout for the Arrows to advance.
The PAS seventh grader was simply outmanned versus F/MCC senior Rylan Klein, who capped the win for the Warriors with a first-period fall.
Although disappointed, the Arrows still have plenty to wrestle for Saturday when they compete at the Section 3A individual tournament in Jackson.
“We still have individual goals to achieve; whether it’s getting to state or getting a medal on Saturday,” Bos said. “That’s what our focus is going to be now. We’ll practice after school tomorrow and see what we’re going to do over the weekend – get a little rest or work out. Will look at it and go from there.”