LITTLE FALLS – The Bemidji wrestlers took advantage of their final opportunity to compete for team glory Saturday as the Lumberjacks advanced to the semifinals of the Section 8-3A tournament where they lost to No. 2 seed Little Falls 58-12.
Prior to that match, however, BHS made life miserable for Brainerd. Entering the tournament as the sixth seed Bemidji upset the third-ranked Warriors 39-24, reversing a 39-34 regular season loss to Brainerd less than two weeks ago.
Bemidji pounced on Brainerd in the section quarterfinals, winning the first four matches and exploding to a 21-0 lead.
“The kids wrestled solid matches against Brainerd. We turned around some of the results from the first time we faced them and, overall, we wrestled very well,” said BHS coach Rance Bahr.
Tyler O’Beirne set the tone with a second-period pin of Bryton Mutz in the 106-pound match.
Brian Maas duplicated that result at 113 and Adrian Azure upped Bemidji’s advantage to 18-0 with another pin win at 120.
Dylon Sauceda continued Bemidji’s torrid start by posting a 2-0 decision triumph at 126.
Brainerd finally got on the board with decision wins at 132 and 138 but Gannon Strain claimed a 9-4 victory at 145 and Alex O’Neal won 8-1 at 152 to regain momentum for the Lumberjacks.
BHS capped the team win as Kade Johnson posted a pin at 170, Josh Dreyer won 8-5 at 195 and Alex Johnson earned a 1-0 decision at heavyweight.
“Going into the tournament Brainerd felt it had a shot at winning the section but we were able to control our match with them,” Bahr said.
In the semifinals, however, Little Falls proved to have too much depth and Bemidji couldn’t overcome injuries and illness that took their toll late in the season.
The Lumberjacks managed to win three matches. Brian Maas pinned his 113-pound opponent in 48 seconds while Craig Maas won 11-7 at 132 and Kade Johnson 11-10 at 170.
“We were missing Logan Crosby (sick), Drew Peterson (injured) and Brody Wilander (injured) and that forced match-ups that didn’t benefit us,” Bahr said. “We matched up well against Brainerd but not so well against Little Falls.”
Moorhead claimed the section title by stopping Little Falls 37-28 in the championship match. Bemidji ended its team season 11-12. The Jacks will return to the mat Friday and Saturday when they head to Brainerd for the Section 8-3A individual tournament.
Section 8-3A Wrestling
Bemidji 39, Brainerd 24
106: O’Beirne (Bem) pin Mutz 3:08
113: B.Maas (Bem) pin Scholsser 1:15
120: Azure (Bem) pin Breuen 2:42
126: Sauceda (Bem) dec. Zelinske 2-0
132: Babineau (Bra) dec. C.Maas 5-3
138: Eschenbacher (Bra) dec. Treuer 2-1
145: Strain (Bem) dec. Solid 9-4
152: O’Neal (Bem) dec. Stewart 8-1
160: Flickinger (Bra) pin Martell 4:23
170: K.Johnson (Bem) pin Engelmann 0:54
182: Ruben (Bra) pin Smith 0:15
195: Dreyer (Bem) dec. Laber 8-5
220: Anderson (Bra) pin Yoemans 3:57
Hwt: A.Johnson (Bem) dec. Weiss 1-0
Little Falls 58, Bemidji 12
106: Kapphahn (LF) dec. O’Beierne 7-0
113: B.Maas (Bem) pin Jenks 0:48
120: Beack (LF) pin Azure 3:58
126: J.Jenks (LF) dec. Sauceda 11-2
132: C.Maas (Bem) dec. Lange 11-7
138: Scherping (LFF) pin Gast 2:57
145: McMahan (LF) dec. Treuer 7-2
152: Petrone (LF) pin Strain 1:28
160: Yorek (LF) pin O’Neal 2:47
170: K.Johnson (Bem) dec. Gastecki 11-10
182: Reis (LF) pin Dreyer 0:21
195: Ross (LF) won by forfeit
220: Copa (LF) pin Yoemans 0:30
Hwt: Swanson (LF) pin A.Johnson 1:23