March 8, 2023 at 6:14 p.m.

Lange leaves it all on the mat

Lange leaves it all on the mat
Lange leaves it all on the mat

By Herman [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Holdingford wrestlers earn medals at state

Holdingford Huskers junior Drew Lange earned runner-up honors in the 160-pound division of the Minnesota State High School League Class AA Wrestling State Individual Tournament March 3-4 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Lange, 48-6 and ranked third, fell to 49-win, No. 1-ranked senior Gavin Gust of Dover-Eyota in the championship round. Facing state ranked wrestlers was common for Lange and the other six Huskers wrestlers who qualified for state. 

“Making it to the finals was a great accomplishment for me this year considering I lost first round at state last year,” Lange said. “I knew it was possible to make it but would not be easy.”

Lange finished 3-1 in the tournament. Following his first round 20-3 technical fall over junior Gaven Cimbura (35-13) of Osakis, he pinned 10th-ranked Isaac Ortiz (35-11) of Eden Valley-Watkins at 3:29 in the quarterfinals. The win sent him against fourth-ranked junior Tucker Zigan of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville. 

That was one of the best matches of the meet. Trailing 4-2 in the final period, Lange opted to wrestle from the bottom. With less than a minute left, he worked an escape. Zigan held a 4-3 lead until inside five seconds, when Lange scored a takedown to win and go to the finals. 

“I just kept moving on bottom, knowing if I kept fighting, I was bound to get him out of position to get an escape or reversal,” Lange said. “Once on our feet with short time left, I knew I had to hit something quick. He had a left-foot lead, so I shot a low single to that side. After some scrambling, we ended up on the edge of the mat with about 10 seconds left. I didn’t know exactly how long was left at the time, but I knew it was my last chance to score. After hooking his leg and hearing the ref award me points, I felt him give up and knew I was moving on.”

Even with the loss in the championship, Lange came out of the tournament with a positive feeling. It is one he hopes to replicate next year.

“The atmosphere of the finals is like nothing else and was an amazing experience being in the spotlight in front of so many people,” he said.

Fourth-ranked Wyatt Novitzki, a 120-pound sophomore, earned the fourth-place medal. He scored 6-2 and 7-3 decision wins in his first two matches. Those victories pitted him against second-ranked and eventual undefeated champion Donovan Schmid of Mille Lacs, who posted a 6-3 win.

The loss sent Novitzki to the wrestlebacks, where he dominated eighth-ranked Minnewaska Area junior Chase Smith in a 6-0 decision to reach the third-place bout. In his final match, Novitzki fell 9-0 to No. 1-ranked freshman Trey Gunderson of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. 

No other Huskers placed, although 145-pound fifth-ranked sophomore William Pilarski (42-8) and 182-pound fifth-ranked freshman Jaxon Bartkowicz (38-9) each wrestled four matches. William Pilarski had a 3-minute, 15-second pin to start the day, then was sent to the wrestlebacks by third-ranked Logan Butzon of Jackson County Central in an 11-0 major decision. He scored an 8-3 win for his second victory but lost to eighth-ranked David Revering from Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie.

Following his 10-8 opening-round win, Bartkowicz fell 8-3 to fourth-ranked senior Cooper Ochsendorf from River/United South Central. A 3:57 pin in the first round of wrestlebacks was followed by a 4-2 loss to seventh-ranked sophomore Carson Gilbert (30-15) from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

Sixth-ranked 10th grader Luke Bieniek started impressively, winning 5-3 in the first round. Bieniek tied that match with a third-period reversal, then scored a takedown at 39 seconds in overtime. His next two matches were major decision losses. In the quarterfinals, he lost 12-1 to No.1-ranked Collin Boese of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. In the wrestlebacks, he lost 15-1, ending his season.

Freshman 113-pounder Wyatt Pilarski (33-6), ranked fourth, fell in both matches. He lost 6-4 to No. 1-ranked Cole Sykora, a senior from Border West. In the wrestlebacks, he lost a 14-3 major decision to seventh-ranked Eli Greenman, a sophomore from Canby.

Seventh-ranked Simon Boeckman, a 138-pound junior, fell in a 5-3 decision to sixth-ranked Solomon Wales of West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville. It was his final match, as Wales was defeated in the next round.


You must login to comment.


Top Stories

Today's Edition