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WDC wrestlers fall to New York Mills

Propelled by five forfeits, the New York Mills Eagles pinned the Wolverine wrestling team by a final of 45-30.

Despite the large amount of forfeits, fans were treated to some fine wrestling. Lee Hotakainen got things started for the Wolverines at 126 with a pin over Charlie Fox. Hotakainen blitzed Fox with a series of takedowns and a tight cross face cradle en route to the win.

Taylor Ericksrud of New York Mills, knocked Devin Barthel from the ranks of the unbeaten with a hard fought 4-2 win. In a scary moment, Barthel landed hard early in the match, twisting his back the wrong way. Ericksrud was called for a slam, but Barthel was able to continue, falling just short at the end of the match.

Austin Koljonen earned his first pin of the year when he glued Ryan Roberts to the mat late in the third period at 160, while Brandon Monson ended the Wolverine scoring at Heavyweight when he turned a tight match into a pin with 17 second left.

"Overall we wrestled well," said Coach Gallant, "We are looking for improvement and effort right now, and I thought the effort put forth was very good, particularly from guys like Tyler Wheeler and Blaine Snyder. They are young kids at tough weights and they lay it all on the line and I can see them improving. That type of effort is going to take them where they want to go in the future."

Due to illness and injuries, the Wolverines only brought six wrestlers to the annual 33 team Big Bear Tournament in Cass Lake on Dec.20 and 21.

Devein Barthel fell just short of the placement round when he fell 3-2 to Luke Pundsack of Hutchinson in the Consolation Round. Barthel started with two outstanding performances. He smacked Dylan Hardy of Deer River with a tight cradle to start his tournament with a fall at the 1:42 mark. In the second round Barthel dominated Holten Truax of Bertha-Hewitt Verndale in a 13-1 match. In the Quarter finals, Barthel ran into eventual Champion Tone Fueffinger of Hibbing. Fueffinger, who was 35-6 last season showed why he would go on to the championship with a combination of takedowns on the way to a 12-4 decision.

Lance Pierce also started with a quick pin over Fergus Falls' Sam Nerbower at 138. The freshmen led 7-2 at the time of the fall. Pierce fell twice in his next two matches. Tyler Wheeler, Blaine Snyder, Caleb and Brandon Monson all went 0-2 in the ultra competitive tournament.

The Wolverines will return to action at home on Jan. 9 versus Pelican Rapids.

"We hope to get our guys back healthy and we expect to fill most of the weights," said Coach Gallant. "I like the effort we are getting, we have a lot of work to do. It starts with being healthy and getting enough kids on the mat to compete day in and day out."

New York Mills 45, Wadena-Deer Creek 30

106: Nick Hendrickx (N) wins by forfeit

113: Jeremiah Harper (N) wins by forfeit

120: Riley Seifert (W) wins by forfeit

126: Lee Hotakainen (W) pinned Charlie Fox 3:31

132: Johnny Flynn (N) wins by forfeit

138: Tyler Ehnert (N) wins by forfeit

145: Taylor Ericksrud (N) dec. Devin Barthel 4-2

152: Maison Frederick (N) dec. Kyle Wheeler 7-3

160: Austin Koljonen (N) pinned Ryan Robert 5:41

170: Gunner Flynn (N) tech fall Blaine Snyder

182: Isaac Malone (W) wins by forfeit

195: Tyler Patron (N) wins by forfeit

220: Cole Grabow (N) maj. dec. Caleb Monson 11-3

285: Brandon Monson (W) wins by fall 5:43