Indus hosts first ever wrestling match
History was made Feb. 4 when Roseau defeated the Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Indus Bears 70-6 at Indus High School in the first ever high school wrestling match held at Indus.
It was a strange home dual for the second year cooperative team as Blackduck High School is 98 miles from Indus High School and Cass Lake-Bena High School is 133 miles away while visiting Roseau only had to travel 93 miles to Indus.
The varsity squad for this dual consisted of two wrestlers from each Cass Lake-Bena and Indus with the remainder coming from Blackduck. The dual with Roseau was first discussed by former Blackduck Head Coach Steve Bechtold and Roseau Head Coach Aaron Rose as an economical way to have a match at Indus even before the B-CL-B-I cooperative was officially approved.
Former Indus Principal Lynn Jennissen, now at St Michael-Albertville, was the primary force behind integrating Indus into this cooperative. Jennissen, who wrestled for Staples-Motley, first discussed the idea with Bechtold as an effort to offer Indus a winter sport for boys.
With athletic directors Theresa Rabe and Mike Hanson in favor of the agreement formal plans were completed in 2008. Both Roseau and B-CL-B-I had a good following of fans at this meet and Indus Wrestling Coach Mike Feininger stated it was the largest crowd he had ever seen at Indus for an athletic event.
The first match wrestled was a junior high match between Andrew Nissen and Hunter Audette which Nissen won by a 12-2 major decision thanks to an excellent opening leg shot. The Rams battled back as Zach Mathews and Jason Yeats both found themselves pressed to the mat by their Roseau opponents before Cooper Jedlicka managed a second period pin. Jedlicka earned a second pin in an exhibition match near the end of preliminary action using a slick shuck to score the takedown.
Matthew Patch gave up the opening takedown to fall behind 2-0, but rallied to go ahead 10-3 in the third period. Unfortunately, he tried to force a move when he was out of position and he found his shoulders stuck on the mat for too long. Paige Moore found herself in the same predicament in the next match and also surrendered the pin.
Tanner Templin used a snap down to score first and quickly secured a pin while Kyle Michalek locked up several cradles for near falls, but was unable to squeeze his elbows together enough to gain the pin in the ensuing match. Michalek had to settle for a 12-3 major decision scoring the last twelve points of the match. David Foster lost a hard fought bout and Trevor Smith scored first with a beautiful double leg but was reversed and pinned.
The varsity squad did not wrestle as well as they have been and Roseau took advantage of that pulling out wins in matches that the Bears should have claimed. Four forfeits accounted for 24 Roseau points, but they also claimed six pins for 36 points. The only winner for the host Bears was sophomore Alex Goodwin who fell behind in the second period after a pair of first period takedowns but reversed his opponent to his back and squeezed tight for the pin.
Davin Staples lost 6-3 in the closest bout of the dual while Tanner George found himself on the short end of a 10-6 score after he was out hustled in the third period. Brady Gross fought to stay off of his back in a headlock for most of the first period and the effort wore him out. Though he battled for the entire six minutes, he ended up on the short side of a 15-1 score.
Nate Jablonski, Aaron Geiss and Jerrick Pemberton were victims of first period pins while Evan Weisert fell in the second period. Butch Strand won the opening takedown but was headlocked to his back when he hung his head too far over. He came out of the headlock and battled back to win 5-4 after two periods, but unfortunately he found his back pressed to the mat in the third period.
In the last, and loudest, match of the night, heavyweight John Doe matched up with German exchange student Lasse Koth. After two periods the score was knotted 2-2 and the Indus fans were cheering loudly for their senior leader. In the third period however Doe found himself in the bottom position and Koth, trained by former Blackduck teacher and coach Tyler Hovda, used a half nelson to roll him to his back.
On Feb. 5, the varsity wrestlers traveled to Walker for the Wolves Invitational Tournament.
Davin Staples led the Bears with a third place finish at 119 pounds recording pins in his last two matches after losing in the semifinals. Al Goodwin and Derek Gustafson both placed fifth in their weight classes, while Brady Gross ended sixth. None of the other four Bears entrants were able to win a match. Staples-Motley had five champions to win the tournament while fourth place Crosby-Ironton had three champs. Runner-up Fosston/Bagley, third place Walker and fifth place Deer River each crowned two champions with Nashwauk-Keewatin/Greenway and East Grand Forks also being denied.
On Feb. 9, the Bears lost two matches in a triangular at Bemidji falling to Fosston/Bagley 55-19 and then losing 62-18 to Bemidji in the last match of the evening. Fosston/Bagley beat Bemidji 45-35 in the opening round of competition to go undefeated on the day.
In the match against the Fosston/Bagley Brawlers, the Bears fell behind 12-0 as seventh graders Weisert and George were both pinned. Staples got six team points back with a pin at 119 and Jablonski added three more with a 9-3 victory. Geiss was pinned by state ranked Luke Conger before Pemberton won a major decision to pull the Bears within five points. Gross gave up a late headlock for five points to lose 10-6 in the closest match of the dual. Zach Preston received a forfeit as the Brawlers bumped up to try to beat Strand.
For the first half of the match, it looked like the strategy would backfire as improving Strand was matching the Brawler move for move. A five point throw ended that hope and Strand found himself fighting off of his back in the last minute to only lose by major decision.
The Bears had to forfeit the next two weights and the Brawlers experienced upper weights scored three pins over Craig Brouder, Goodwin and Gustafson to extend the score to 55-19.
The Bears used the same lineup against the host Lumberjacks with George, Preston and Goodwin the only winners, each winning with a pin. Improving freshman Gross was again involved in the tightest match of the dual losing 6-1 by the scoreboard though the action was much closer than that. Gross was caught in a headlock giving up five points but came out of it on top before the end of the first period though points were not awarded. Ironically while Brady fell victim to the headlock his dad Joe, a 1980 state champion, used it as a lethal move from his arsenal during his wrestling career.
Strand lost by a third period technical fall in the only other match that went for less than six points as Bemidji claimed two forfeits and recorded seven pins to win 62-18. Staples and Jablonski also battled into the third period.
In the junior high and junior varsity competition, several youngsters wrestled multiple matches. Winning at least once in the action on the second mat were Mason Frenzel, Andrew Nissen, Tanner Templin, Trevor Smith, Matthew Patch and Cooper Jedlicka. Also wrestling were David Foster, Zach Mathews and Paige Moore.
With the regular season complete the Bears open tournament action in the section team tournament at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 at the Ralph Englestad Arena in Thief River Falls. After about a decade of wrestling the section duals on two different nights at participating schools political pressure to utilize the arena has pushed all of the action to one day. The Section 8AA Individual Wrestling Tournament will still be held in Cass Lake Feb. 26-27.