A year ago the Bemidji wrestling team needed a few matches to establish its best lineup but once the Lumberjacks figured out who should wrestle where, they caught fire.
Because of injury and other factors the Bemidji coaches are, once again, learning as the season is progressing. Tuesday in a home triangular against Alexandria and Little Falls the education continued.
In the triangular meet opener the Lumberjacks demonstrated progress as they posted their first dual victory of the campaign with a 35-30 win over Alexandria.
In Bemidji's nightcap Little Falls dominated the upper weights and downed the Jacks 45-27.
"Tuesday was the first time several of our kids were down to weight and this was the first time Brenden Fredriksen had wrestled all year," said Lumberjacks coach Rance Bahr. "The younger kids are starting to understand their roles and it looks like we're starting to get most of our lineup back."
Fredriksen didn't win his match against Ariel Way of Alexandria but by gutting out an 8-7 setback he assured that Bemidji would win the meet.
The Jacks led 35-24 when Fredriksen squared off against Way in the 220-pound match and anything short of a Cardinal pin would give Bemidji the team win. Fredrikson was ahead 5-4 after two periods but yielded a near fall and an escape around his own reversal and eventually lost 8-7. But by holding his opponent to a narrow decision win Fredriksen made sure that the Lumberjacks would post their initial team triumph.
"Brenden wrestled well, especially considering that this was his first match of the season," Bahr said. "As a team we lost two matches in overtime and another two or three by one point.
If we re-wrestle those matches they may go the other way and then we win easily.
"But I'm never going to complain about winning our first meet of the year."
Bemidji trailed 9-0 after two matches but Logan Crosby's 18-2 major decision at 120 and Robert Treuer's pin at 126 gave the Jacks an 11-9 lead.
The Cardinals regained an 18-11 advantage with a decision and a pin but the Lumberjacks answered with five straight victories.
Craig Maas started the run with a 10-4 decision at 145 and pins by Kodi Craft at 152 and Kade Johnson at 160 upped Bemidji's advantage to 26-18.
Dustin Greenman followed with a 7-0 decision and after Josh Dreyer was awarded a forfeit at 182 BHS was ahead 35-18.
The Lumberjacks lost the final three matches but only one was by a fall so the team victory was secure.
"Considering we are coming off a two-week holiday break and we were rusty, I think we wrestled well against Alexandria," Bahr said.
Against Little Falls Bemidji posted six victories including pins by Kade Johnson at 160 and Fredriksen at 220 plus Logan Crosby's technical fall at 120. Also winning by decision for BHS were Brian Maas at 113 (a major 13-0 decision), Ryle Masterson at 138 and Kodi Craft at 152.
Bemidji returns to action Friday and Saturday at the Hibbing Invitational.
Bemidji 35, Alexandria 30
106-Piepenburg (A) dec. B. Maas 5-3, 3OT
113-Ohlhausen (A) pin O'Beirne 3:01
120-Crosby (B) maj. dec. T.Johnson 18-2
126-Treuer (B) pin Brown 4:35
132-Schiltgen (A) dec. Masterson 4-2
138-Nienaber (A) pin Fogarty 3:24
145-C.Maas (B) dec. Sonczalla 10-4
152-Craft (B) pin Anderson 0:50
160-K.Johnson (B) pin Moske 1:03
170-Greenman (B) dec. Nelson 7-0
182-Dreyer (B) won by forfeit
195-Hockert (A) pin Wanner 3:00
220-Way (A) dec. Fredriksen 8-7
Hwt-Cumberbatch (A) dec. A.Johnson 3-2
Little Falls 45, Bemidji 27
106-Kapphahan (LF) maj. dec. O'Beirne 4-0
113-B.Maas (B) maj. dec. Jenks 13-0
120-Crosby (B) tech fall Lange 16-0
126-Wilczek (LF) pin Sauceda 0:52
132-Scherping (LF) tech. fall Treuer 16-1
138-Masterson (B) dec. Schultz 6-5
145-Kifer (LF) pin C.Maas 2:39
152-Craft (B) dec. Lodermeier 6-3
170-K.Johnson (B) pin Petrone 2:37
170-Gastecki (LF) pin Dreyer 2:34
182-Grams (LF) pin Greenman 3:54
195-Ross (LF) pin Wanner 1:01
220-Fredriksen (B) pin Webb 4:52
Hwt-Swanson (LF) pin A.Johnson 1:01