NB grapplers fall to Bluejackets

Senior Tristan LaBelle circles his Bluejacket opponent at 182 pounds. LaBelle would win by fall in the third period. Junior Arik Steele prepares for the start of the third period, where he earned an escape point and two-point takedown to win, 7-6, at 160 pounds. Senior Seamus Hunter controlled his heavyweight counterpart early on, winning by fall in the first period.  
Photos by Kat Ladwig
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Junior Arik Steele prepares for the start of the third period, where he earned an escape point and two-point takedown to win, 7-6, at 160 pounds.

Vikings earn first dual win on road

The North Branch wrestlers faced the No. 5 team in the state (Class AAA), Cambridge-Isanti, at home last Thursday. The Vikings fell, 43-27, despite the Bluejackets not wrestling three of their five state-ranked grapplers.

The Vikings fell behind early on, 19-0, before senior Alex Fitchka put his team on the board at 132 pounds. Fitchka won by fall at 45 seconds.

Junior Aaron Senne jump-started a run at 145 pounds by defeating Reegan Lane, 3-2, which was followed by a 4-2 victory by senior Cameron Sampson at 152 pounds to put the score at 25-12.

Junior Arik Steele came out of the gates strong at 160 pounds by earning a takedown and near fall in the first period to pull out a 7-6 win, bringing the Vikings within 10 points, 25-15. Following a fall at 170 for North Branch, senior Tristan LaBelle won by fall in the third period after taking a 2-1 lead in the second period.

The Vikings would suffer pins at 195 and 220 pounds to put the Bluejackets up 43-21 before No. 9 (Class AA) Seaumus Hunter took over at 295 pounds for the home team, earning six points by fall in just 1:09.

North Branch also traveled to the Mounds View duals over the weekend, where the Vikings fell to Milaca-Faith Christian (34-33), Maple Grove (48-23) and Tartan (47-12) before earning their first win of the season over Dassel-Cokato, 36-31.

Senne was the lone wrestler for the Vikings to go undefeated at the Mustang invitational.

Next, North Branch hosts an eight-team tournament on Friday, Jan. 17. The event starts at 4:30 p.m.