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B-CL-B Wrestling Update

Eighth grader Tanner George does his best to topple his opponent1 / 2
B-CL-B Bear Joseph Nehl has his opponent almost pinned down.2 / 2

The past week was a very busy one for the B-CL-B-I wrestling team with an eight-team tournament in Mahnomen followed by the Rick Lee Tournament in Bemidji.

The Bears took two of three matches Friday night, losing to Crookston before rebounding to crush Red Lake County, 66-14 and outworking UNC to earn a hard-fought 41-36 victory.

Eighth grader Kyle Michalek led the team with two pins and a superior decision, while Nate Jablonski and Brady Gross also notched two pins. Devon Staples, J.J. Nehl, Cooper Jedlicka, Craig Broder, Nick Grundmeier and Alex Goodwin also earned pins.

The finale against UNC was one of the most exciting matches in recent memory. After falling behind early eighth grader Jedlicka ignited the team with a pin. A spirited comeback win from Jablonski and pin by Gross kept the fire going.

The coaches' well conceived plan to move Stephen Laduke to accept a forfeit and move Goodwin to heavyweight turned out to be the deciding factor in the match as team Captain Goodwin came through with a clutch and match deciding pin. With it's fifth victory of the season, this team continues to impress.

Saturday, a well traveled Bears team returned to action bright and early. Evidence of this teams continued progress was once again evident as the Bears placed nine wrestlers in the top six places as opposed to only one last year.

Staples earned the highest place (second) that a Bear wrestler has attained since standout Joe Bechtold won the tourney in 2004. Staples, only a freshman, continued to add to his team leading win and pin total and was dominant all day, pinning his way to the finals.

Other place winners for the Bears were Mason Frenzel, Nehl, Jablonski, Gross and Broder (fourth place), Goodwin (fifth place) and Michalek, Joe Ellis (sixth place).

Wrestling is a long and grueling season, not meant for the faint of heart. All teams experience the ebb and flow of injury and attrition. The mark of a successful wrestler or wrestling team is often the ability to cope with drawbacks. This team appears to have the leadership and heart to pass the test, weathering the storm well with new teammates stepping up every

This past week, seventh grader Frenzel was impressive wrestling his first varsity tournament and looks to be yet another piece of the puzzle in building a championship calliber team in the near future. The practice rooms of Cass Lake and Blackduck are teaming with quality athletes working hard to contribute and pushing each other to improve.

The Bears wrestling team earned a split in Tuesday night's action, falling to defending section champs Thief River, 52-24 then defeating Deer River, 55-27.

The young Bears team wrestled short handed as their team leader in both wins and pins, Staples, did not compete.

This night marked the first time the Bears have defeated Deer River in quite some time and it resulted in their sixth win this young season, doubling the win total from last year with several more matches to go.

The Bears began the TRF dual with a pin from 103 lb. Andrew Nissen. Matthew Patch had his first varsity win with a fall of 1:58 followed by a come-from-behind victory from Jablonski and one forfeit.

The growth of this program continues to show up in new ways on a week-to-week basis. One of the first signs of wrestling teams "coming into their own" is when individuals wrestle quality opponents without yielding pins, sacrificing themselves for the sake of team points.

At 125 lbs., 119 lb. eighth grader Tanner George wrestled former state champion Jacobe Bergeron and did just that, yielding a superior decision and saving a team point.

The Bears four eighth graders at the top of their line-up came up big against Deer River, allowing them to jump out to an early 18-0 lead.

The match started with a win from Nissen at 103 and a pin from Michalek at 112. The match of the night came at 119 pounds, when Trevor Smith shocked his opponent with a gutsy performance, scoring the deciding points with a few seconds left in the match. George then won by forfeit.

The Bears were pinned at the next three weights, putting their lead in jeopardy, before Jablonski won by pin, once again coming from behind to do so. The team's co-captains took matters into their own hands when 189 lb. Broder pinned his opponent putting the match out of reach and Goodwin defeated Deer River's excellent heavyweight, giving up 50 lbs. in doing so.

Though success in wrestling depends on strength, agility and skill, many matches come down to battles of attrition, where the determining factor is will. It is imperative that young wrestlers compensate for their lack of experience with superior conditioning. Even when the young Bears are outmatched, their coaches have instilled in them a will to keep attacking. This leads to entertaining and competitive matches now and very likely great successes in the years to come.