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Knight Wrestlers Improve to 15-4

By Kevin Fick, 01/30/23, 7:45AM CST


The West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville Knight wrestlers competed in duals three times the past week.

The first night of competition found the team heading south, all the way to Olivia, where they met up with the Bold Warriors and the Minneota Vikings. First up were the Warriors. Bold is struggling to field a full squad and WCAABE capitalized on their opponents misfortunes. The Knights picked up four forfeits and won 7 out of the 10 matches actually wrestled. The final score found the Knights on top 66-15.

The second dual of the evening pitted a pair of ranked opponents. The #6 ranked Minneota Vikings and our own Knights, whom were at the time ranked #11. The contest began with Owen Gruchow gaining a first period fall, which was answered with a pair of pins at 113 and 120 lbs. Carter Lohse earned himself a decision at 126 lb which brought the score to 12-9 in favor of the Vikings. Minneota gathered a fall at 132 lbs and Solomon Wales returned the favor at 138 lbs. Minneota picked up a decision at 145 lbs which stretched their lead to 21-15. Hunter Gruchow tied up the score at 21 apiece with a fall at 152. Minneota went on a scoring spree on the next three weights picking up two pins and a tech fall. This blew open the score 39-21. The Knights backs were against the wall and their only chance for a win was to pin out the final three weights and get the scored tied up to win it on criteria. Anthony Sykora bumped up to 195 lb and did just that, put his opponent to his back. Beau Robinson took the mat at 220 lb and wrestled a good match, tipping his opponent upside down twice but could not gather the fall. Robinson won his match by a major decision but it put the dual out of reach for the Knights. The Vikings would go on to win the final match by fall and that produced a final score of 41-31 for Minneota.

Anthony Sykora with Head Coach Brandon Gruchow. PHOTO by TAMMIE OLSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Friday found the squad heading north when they faced off with a very solid AA team in the Detroit Lakes Lakers.  WCAABE appeared ready for battle as they dispatched the Lakers with relative ease, winning 9 out of 14 matches.  The bonus points gathered by the Knights brought the score well out of reach by way of 51-27.

About Friday, Coach Gruchow responded, “The weather bug hit us again and another dual was canceled....seems to be the common theme this season. We were thankful that Detroit Lakes was willing to host a dual. And finally, we got everyone back into the line-up! The guys were extremely excited about the full line-up and we wrestled very well. We are getting better at stopping those bonus points but I will assure you that practice will continue to include a lot more discussion and technique in stopping those bonus points. This was a great confidence booster for us tonight!”



In regards to Tuesday Coach Brandon Gruchow said, “We were pretty excited to get Carter Lohse back into the lineup. You could tell it put a little spark in the team. Unfortunately, Minneota was still just a little much for us tonight. They did a great job hitting the cross-face cradle like always and we didn't do a good enough job defending it. Too many bonus points went their way because of it. On a separate note, I would like to give Anthony Sykora a shout-out...congrats on setting the new school win record.  Wrestlers with his athleticism and ability don't come around as easily as a coach would like them to.

Zeke Sieckert Pins his Laker opponent. PHOTO by TAMMIE OLSON PHOTOGRAPHY

The Knights now own a 15-4 record on the year. On the outside, this looks like a successful season in the making and by an large it has been. The wrestling team is winning its duals by a 79% win ratio. They are outscoring opponents by a margin of 50.1 points compared to giving up 23.8. Those are all good numbers. The alarming part of the Knights record is that all four losses have come to very good teams. The Knights do indeed take care of business with the average to pretty good squads but have faltered against the caliber of opponent they will see at the state tournament. There are no excuses in this sport, each dual pits the best 14 against the other teams best 14. As the season progresses ideas begin to form on who the top dogs are. The Knights have suffered a few injuries along the year, their top end performance has suffered with it. This is not a segment to bash the wrestling team, the Knights are a good team with the capability to be great. In the world of sports, momentum is so huge. Fortunately, last Friday was the first we have seen this team all healthy and at the weights they desire since the second week of December. The team has battled admirably to keep up with the Jones across the state and if the night in Detroit Lakes is any prelude…a healthy Knight team is one to reckon with. There are two weeks left before the post season starts. The team will have all the opportunity it needs between now and then to prove to the wrestling community that they do indeed mean business and put themselves in position for a deep post season run.

About the week, Jr. Captain for the Knights Adam Lohse had this to say about his fellow mat men, “We are a great team that works hard year round. We have so much talent in the line up, we need to stay on the positive side of things, keep grinding, and we will be where we want at the end of the year.”

Milestones attained this week include: Jr. wrestler Solomon Wales earned his 100th career victory in Detroit Lakes. Sr. Anthony Sykora broke the all time win record for the school when he picked up his 205th career victory in Olivia. Congratulations to both!

‘Fastest Fall’ and ‘Wrestler of the Week’ must go to the same person. Anthony Sykora is a hammer, he went 3-0 on the week. He earned the new school record in career wins with 205, and is now at 206, that is a staggering number. When his team needed him most, he kept his team alive in the Minneota dual by dumping his opponent in :09 seconds, which was the fastest fall. Sykora took on a top ten AA opponent in Detroit Lakes and made his win by decision look fairly safe and easy.

The grapplers have a big week in front of them. Thursday they will travel to Grove City for a quad with a trio of who's who in the wrestling world. This is the Knights opportunity to claw their way back into the top ten, which looms large for seeding in the post season. They will face the home-team in the 12-10 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons, the #8 ranked 8-5 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars and the heavy hitting #4 ranked 12-1 Royalton-Upsala Cardinals. Saturday, the team travels south to Kimball for the West Central Conference tournament. This is the first year in the new conference for WCAABE. They will face off with ACGC, Benson, Bold, Dawson-Boyd/LQPV/Montevideo, Eden Valley-Watkins, Kimball Area, MAHACA, Minnewaska Area, Paynesville Area, Royalton-Upsala, and Sauk Centre/Melrose.

#11 WCAABE 66 BOLD (BOLD) 15
106: Evan Dingwall (WCAABE) over Ava Kiecker per fall 4:35.
113: #9 Owen Gruchow (WCAABE) over Trevor Plass per fall 0:53.
120: Tucker McGee (WCAABE) won by forfeit.
126: Carter Lohse (WCAABE) over Tyler Larson per fall 0:23.
132: Brady Kiecker (BOLD) over Sam Olson per fall 2:48.
138: #8 Solomon Wales (WCAABE) over Trey Zamarron per fall
145: Adam Lohse (WCAABE) over Tanner Kautz per fall 1:27.
152: #3 Austin Kiecker (BOLD) over #4 Hunter Gruchow per decision 5-4.
160: Ezekiel Sieckert (WCAABE) over Elijah Swenson per fall 2:45.
170: Stevie McMath (BOLD) over Gavin Flint per fall 5:49.
182: #1 Anthony Sykora (WCAABE) over Tate Sheehan per fall
195: Beau Robinson (WCAABE) won by forfeit.
220: Will Rustan (WCAABE) won by forfeit.
285: #9 Justin Blascyk (WCAABE) won by forfeit.

#6 Minneota (MIN) 41 #11 WCAABE 31
106: #9 Owen Gruchow (WCAABE) over Quinton Anderson per fall 0:49.
113: Kaden Lasnetski (MIN) over Evan Dingwall per fall 1:47.
120: #3 Adam Devlaeminck (MIN) over Logan Schmall per fall 1:49.
126: Carter Lohse (WCAABE) over Mason Javers per decision 9-4.
132: #5 Peyton Gillund (MIN) over Sam Olson per fall 0:30.
138: #8 Solomon Wales (WCAABE) over Ezequiel Monzon per fall
145: Brock Fier (MIN) over Adam Lohse per decision 10-7.
152: #4 Hunter Gruchow (WCAABE) over Chase Johnson per fall 0:27.
160: #2 Zack Fier (MIN) over Ezekiel Sieckert per technical fall 16-0.
170: Alex Depestel (MIN) over Jeremy Blascyk per fall 1:12.
182: Noah Gorecki (MIN) over Gavin Flint per fall 1:03.
195: #1 Anthony Sykora (WCAABE) over Kyler Lozinski per fall 0:09.
220: Beau Robinson (WCAABE) over Eli Gruenes per major decision 8-0.
285: Hudson Scholten (MIN) over Will Rustan per decision 5-0.

New rankings were released January 26, via the ‘Guillotine’.

#16 (A) WCAABE 51 (AA) Detroit Lakes (DL) 27
106: Evan Dingwall (WCAABE) over Talan Baker per fall 3:44.
113: #9 Owen Gruchow (WCAABE) over Donavan Zima per fall 0:23.
120: Jeremy Linn (DL) over Tucker McGee per fall 3:10.
126: Beau Somdahl (DL) over Carter Lohse per fall 3:13.
132: Adam Lohse (WCAABE) over LeRoy LaCrosse per fall 1:43.
138: #10 Solomon Wales (WCAABE) over Brock Bouchie per fall 0:53.
145: #8 Tyson Ullyott (DL) over #5 Hunter Gruchow 9-8.
152: #9 Cade Okeson (DL) over Kolby Peters per fall 4:55.
160: Ezekiel Sieckert (WCAABE) over Brock Swiers per fall 1:06.
170: Jeremy Blascyk (WCAABE) won by forfeit.
182: #1 Anthony Sykora (WCAABE) over #7 Cade Jackson per decision 4-1.
195: #10 Beau Robinson (WCAABE) over Zachary Carlson per fall 4:27.
220: #10 Will Rustan (WCAABE) over Tynan Simpson per fall 1:49.
285: #5 Jeffery Moen (DL) over #7 Justin Blascyk per fall 5:57.