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Bemidji’s Brian Maas (top) wrestling at 126, pinned Hibbing’s Morgan Fuenffinger in the second period of their wrestling match Thursday at BHS. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

WRESTLING: Bemidji dominates Hibbing in home debut

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BEMIDJI — Conditioning is considered a vital ingredient for success by the Bemidji High School wrestling coaches. Head coach Rance Bahr and his staff know that the ability to control the third period of a close match is often the difference between winning and losing.

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“We constantly work on our conditioning and, at this point in the season, being in good condition is typically a strong point of our team.”

In Thursday’s home opening 46-19 victory over Hibbing the Lumberjacks won five of the individual matches in the third period or in overtime, including two by third-period pins.

Among the most dramatic wins, however, came early in the dual when Chance Hinrichs needed a takedown in overtime to edge Carson Link 10-8 in the 113-pound match.

“That match and that win seemed to get things going for us,” Bahr, whose team improved to 4-1 in dual matches, said. “Hibbing extended it late in the third period with a reverse and near fall but Chance recovered and pulled the win out in overtime. That was a great victory.”

Hinrichs, the youngest wrestler to compete for either team Thursday, is a seventh grader. BHS also had wins from three sophomores, a junior and two seniors.

Bemidji also was awarded a pair of forfeits as Dylon Sauceda was unopposed at 138 pounds and Sean Feia didn’t need to work up a sweat at 195.

‘We had a number of kids, and a number of younger kids, step up,” Bahr said. “I really expected a much closer match and I’m sure Hibbing expected the score to be closer. But we were able to pull away at the end.”

The Bluejackets owned a 6-3 lead after three matches but Brian Maas’ second-period pin over Morgan Fuenffinger at 126 gave BHS a 9-6 team lead.

Hibbing tied the meet with a decision win at 132 but Sauceda’s forfeit triumph at 138 ignited a run which saw the Lumberjacks win seven of the final nine matches.

Robert Treuer added to the cause with a dominant 17-6 win over Cole Rybachek at 145. The senior led 4-0 after the opening stanza and extended the margin to 13-2 after the second period. Rybachek was able to avoid being pinned in the final two minutes but he never threatened Treuer’s dominance.

The visitors posted a decision victory at 152 when Tony Fuenffinger downed Lucas Gast but Bemidji’s Gannon Strain answered with a pin of Devante Jelle in the 160 match. Strain owned a 12-3 lead when he stuck Jelle with eight seconds to go in the third period.

The Lumberjacks lost a third-period pin at 170 but Kade Johnson made short work of Ryan Pierson in the 182 pound bout. Johnson toyed with his opponent, trading takedowns for uncontested escapes. He also added a pair of near falls and owned a 12-2 lead when he stuck Pierson with 26 seconds to go in the first period.

Feia’s forfeit win at 195 upped the team score to 37-19 and assured that the Lumberjacks would win the meet. Brady Wilander and Wyatt Yoemans, however, made sure that Hibbing would not mount any type of a rally.

At 220 Wilander posted a 6-2 decision victory and Yoemans capped the night’s success when he pinned Owen Philbrink with eight seconds to go in the match.

“I thought Lucas Gast had a great match at 130,” Bahr said. “Fuenffinger is ranked third in the state and Lucas hung with him.

“We had a great team effort and in order for us to succeed all 14 wrestlers in the lineup have to work together, understand their roles and understand what their job is that night. And this year that is what we are seeing.”

Bemidji will return to action today and Saturday at the Paul Bunyan Invitational hosted by Brainerd. Also expected to compete are Armstrong, Atwater, Becker, Brainerd, Chisago Lakes, Foley, Frazee, Grand Rapids, Little Falls, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Moorhead, Mound, Royalton and Sauk Rapids.

Today’s action begins at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday’s matches will start at 10 a.m.

Bemidji 46, Hibbing 19

106-Lustila (Hib) dec. Solum 8-2

113-Hinrichs (Bem) dec. Link 10-8, OT

120-Bethea (Hib) dec. Beyer 8-4

126-B.Maas (Bem) pin M.Fuenffinger 3:24

132-Pierce (Hib) dec. T.Maas 5-4

138-Sauceda (Bem) won by forfeit

145-Treuer (Bem) dec. Rybachek 17-6

152-T.Fuenffinger (Hib) dec. Gast 9-1

160-Strain (Bem) pin Jelle 5:52

170-Ballek (Hib) pin Schoenborn 5:24

182-Johnson (Bem) pin Pierson 1:34

195-Feia (Bem) won by forfeit

220-Wilander (Bem) dec. Weber 6-2

Hwt-Yoemans (Bem) pin Philbrink 5:52

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pmiller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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