Knowing they would have to find a way to make up for the lack of a full 15-weight roster to stand any chance of winning the tag team title, the Pipestone Area wrestling team entered the Webster Area Invitational tournament on Thursday in Webster, SD, with a pin-it-to-win-it attitude.
And that’s exactly what the Arrows did, winning 20 games with 17 pins leading the 13-team field with 140 points to win the championship. Not only have the Arrows edged out Clark / Willow Lake (136.5) and Sisseton (124.5) for the tag team title, but John (JJ) Martens and Hudson Burnett have also gone undefeated this season winning the individual brackets of 120. and 126 pounds, respectively.
âWe fought well; it was fun, âsaid Pipestone area head coach Brian Bos of his Arrows’ efforts. âThose pins gave us 34 extra points there. It was a big confidence factor for most of our guys and it was a competition that suited us to do wellâ¦ to go there and not have a few categories. We did what we had to do and the ones we really needed to fight well came out and won it for us.
And Martens (13-0) and Burnett (12-0) led this effort, albeit in disparate fashion.
“JJ kind of made things a lot closer than he needed to be, had a few overtime games in the semi-finals and the final, and Hudson is just on another level than everyone else,” Bos said. . âWe had a few guys upset after being beaten in the semi-finals and they came back to finish third in their group. I just chatted with them about what it might be like if it happened in the sectionsâ¦ preparing for a real second game if it were to happen there. You can’t lose, just focus on it and expect to come back and win a real second game. Take some time to absorb it, come back and put the hammer down. They were on a mission after being beaten.
Martens opened up pretty well, pinning Garrettson’s Issac Stoterau 42 seconds off their incline in the first round, but Webster’s Haeden Jorgenson and Sisseton’s Ian Metz proved more difficult tasks. Martens had to go through a period of sudden victory in every tilt before sending the pair, 3-1 and 7-5, respectively, claiming their individual crown.
Meanwhile, Burnett roamed his smallest group of seven grapplers, nabbing Deuel’s Gavin Kloos early in the second half of the semi-finals and passing almost two full periods before pasting runner-up Jude Olson of Border West in the final.
Senior PAS Nate Bobendrier also landed a second place at 138 pounds as part of the Arrows team push. Bobendrier won two by fall in quick succession, 17 and 49 seconds, respectively, before losing to Cael Larson (16-0) of Webster, undefeated by fall in the final.
Junior PAS Aiden Voss also made an appearance in the final, but came off the wrong end of a pinfall to C / WL’s Lucas Kannegieter at 182 pounds. Voss advanced to the final with a first-round crash against Miles Wyman of Deuel and followed with a 6-3 semifinal victory over Jesse Bears Heart of Mobridge / Pollack.
âAiden has been working his tail for several years now; I hope the wins will be more meaningful for him than in the past, âsaid Bos. âHe’s gaining confidence and now he just has to go out and get it. He has earned the right to be in these situations, he has to come out, finish them and prove to himself that he has his place there.
Bos will be hopeful that Brayden Burmesiter, Davis Budden and Jackson Melcher can follow suit, as the line-up returned to “put the hammer” in their respective third-place matches on Thursday night. Burmeister, wrestling at 113 pounds, won by fall in his opener but suffered a hiccup (10-2 loss) against future winner Cole Sykora of Border West in the semifinals. However, as noted, Burmeister came back strong in his third-place tilt, tackling C / WL’s Taylor Merkel with just 35 seconds left of the game.
After a pair of falls in the 132-pound division, Budden hit a roadblock, in the form of Boe Iverson – losing to the Sisseton grappler 4-3 in the semifinals. Although it took longer, Budden also came back with a pinfall to take third place – tackling Deuel’s Jaxon Quail at 4:59 to end his tournament with a win.
And at 170 pounds, PAS sophomore Jackson Melcher went 1-1 in the seven wrestler bracket to take third place. Melcher dropped his first game, 9-3, against runner-up Dominic Constant of Deuel, but came back strong to pin C / WL’s Hunter Wren in 49 seconds.
In another action for the Arrows, Carlos Perez-Garcia was 0-2 placing fourth at 98 pounds, Haden Mulvihill finished 1-2 with a drop to 106 pounds, Gavin Olson went 1-2 with a drop to 145 pounds, Bode Bruns was 0-2 at 152 pounds, Xavier Banjoko finished 0-2 at 160 pounds and Valentin Barrios went 0-2 at 195 pounds.
The Arrows will have a week off before facing tougher competition in the Norwood-Young America tournament on Saturday at Norwood Young America. Bos is hoping his grapplers can seize the opportunity and give another solid account of themselves at the varsity and JV levels before resuming the doubles competition at the Luverne Triangular the following Tuesday in Luverne.
âIt will be (the competition) good and they will see more wrestlers than they could face later in the season,â he said. âWe’ll put some of these kids who’ve struggled in college at Webster into JV matches so they can hopefully gain some confidence. It doesn’t make sense to get hammered at college level when they have the opportunity to wrestle in a JV tournament.
For the full results of the Webster Invitational, visit www.trackwrestling.com.