On Jan. 22, the Blackduck/ Cass Lake-Bena/Indus Bears wrestling team won one match and lost two in wrestling action at Maple, WI. Virginia defeated the Bears, 52-22, in the opening round and host Northwestern outwrestled the Bears, 57-24, in the second round but in the final round, the Bears received eight forfeits to outscore Bayfield 72-0. The host Tigers won all three duals defeating Virginia 37-24 in the closest match of the day. The Bears were led by Craig Brouder and Daven Staples who both went undefeated on the day.
The opening round match started at 171 pounds; Wisconsin still uses the National Federation rule of drawing for the starting weight. Each successive round then starts at the next highest weight, so the second round started at 189 and round three at 215.
This rotating upward allows coaches some leeway in moving wrestlers to different weight classes. Minnesota abandoned this procedure several years ago at the high school level preferring to start all matches at 103 so that younger wrestlers would be less likely to feel that their match was the critical match in determining the team score. Collegiate wrestling uses the draw unless the opposing coaches agree on a starting weight; an option which is not available at the high school level.
Against Virginia, the Bears forfeited at 171 but Brouder won a major decision at 189 to pull the Bears within two at 6-4. Al Goodwin and Garrette Roberts were both first period pin victims before 103 pounder Evan Weisert claimed a forfeit. Improving Tanner George lost a major decision at 112 to a wrestler that had pinned him earlier this season.
Staples eeked out an 8-7 win at 119 and Nathan Jablonski received a forfeit at 125 to pull the Bears within three points at 22-19. The Blue Devils won five of the last six matches to take the dual scoring 30 points on four pins and a forfeit. The only bright spot for the Bears was Zach Preston's 10-3 victory at 145 to up their tally to 22. Pin victims for the Bears were Aaron Geiss, Brady Gross, Joe Nehl and Paul Lutgen.
Brouder received a forfeit to start the second match with a lead but Northwestern scored two pins before Weisert's forfeit tied the team score. George lost a major decision but a pin by Staples put the Bears on top 18-16. Three pins and a forfeit gave the Tigers a 40-18 lead before Nehl received a forfeit to make the score 40-24. Northwestern took charge from there as Preston, bumped up to 152, lost by a third period technical fall then a pin and a forfeit in the last two matches gave the Tigers a 57 -24 victory.
Bayfield only brought four wrestlers so the Bears received eight forfeits in the final round. Staples won by injury default, leading 10-3 at the time of the injury. Geiss, Preston and Lutgen recorded pins in the only other three matches contested as both teams forfeited at 135 and 171.
In an effort to give Blackduck's wrestlers a match, junior varsity wrestlers from other teams wrestled some of the varsity wrestlers. Goodwin, Gross, and Nehl were the three Bears who were given matches and all three recorded pins in those matches. Roberts, Weisert, George, and Brouder also received forfeits from Bayfield but did not get the opportunity to wrestle. The 72-0 rout is the first shutout for the Bears in the last decade.
The Bears have a break from competition until they wrestle Roseau at Indus Feb. 4 in the first ever varsity wrestling at Indus. On Feb. 5, they travel to Walker for the Walker Invitational an individual tournament with wrestling action expected to start about four. On Feb. ,9 the Bears wrestle a triangular at Bemidji with Fosston/Bagley.