Two grapplers pave way to title match
The Rush City-Braham wrestlers opened their season on Saturday with a home invite, where the Tigers placed fourth of nine teams with 136.5 total points.
Rice Lake, Wis., took first (211 points), while Luck, Wis., clinched second (189) and Crosby-Ironton placed third (160.5).
Two Tigers made it to the championship round in their respective weight classes. Luke Rands took second place for a top personal finish at 195 pounds. The grappler was tied at zero in the title match until falling toward the end of the second period.
Junior Jake Lynch also recorded a second-place finish at 220 pounds, losing by a 5-3 division in his final matchup.
Senior Tyler Sitz took third place by winning his last match, 7-5, in overtime. Four Tigers earned fourth place on the day: Jacob Johnson (106 pounds), eighth-grader Dalton Mielke (120 pounds), ninth-grader Dylan Mielke (126 pounds) and junior Dominic Montgomery (160 pounds).
Eighth-grader Dylan Martin took fifth at 113 pounds along with heavyweight wrestler and senior Nick Kost. Freshman Grayson Devlin (138 pounds), junior Francis Loerzel (145) and junior Blaine Blazek (170) placed sixth.
The Tigers did suffer a setback at 182 pounds, where one of the top wrestlers, junior Isaiah Johnson, dislocated his shoulder in his first match. Head coach Andy Hackenmueller said he hopes to see Johnson back on the mat by late January.
Aside from Johnson’s injury, Hackenmueller said he was pleased with how the home invite turned out.
“Everyone on the team got a win,” Hackenmueller said. “From what other coaches said, right now we are wrestling as well as at the end of the season last year, so we have the whole season to improve on that — a few guys had the best performances of their career, so that’s something to build on.”
The Tigers hosted Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson on Tuesday night and next travel for an invite in Big Lake on Friday, Dec. 13.