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.