By Brady Ambrose
With the road to the state wrestling tournaments starting this Thursday, the Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove Warriors wrestled three matches in two days, heading to Kasson-Mantorville for a triple dual with K-M and Byron Thursday, and then hosted Plainview-Elgin-Millville Friday night at Caledonia High School.
The trip to K-M was a mixed bag and the Warriors went 1-1, losing to the host KoMets 58-6 and beating Byron 32-27. Blaine Knutson and Jacob Swindell picked up the only wins for the Warriors against K-M. On Friday night the Warriors lost a tough match to the Bulldogs. Both assistant coach Roger Holland and head coach Dan Goergen felt that the Warriors maybe should have won the match. “I think maybe we overlooked them a little bit,” Goergen said. “I think we took them for granted, and the team realized they didn’t bring their ‘A’ game.”
Holland added, “We tried to make some moves in the lineup to cover things but both teams are very competitive and they came ready to let everybody know that they are not a rollover kind of team. They’re going to be here for the section tournament.”
The match was even through the first six weight classes. Jacob Winjum was pinned with 1:23 left in the match at 106 pounds by Chase DeFrang, but Hunter Hauser-Caldwell rolled to a 10-1 win over Sam Ebin at 113. Dylan Lee followed with a pin at 120 pounds to put the Warriors up 10-6, and Luke Werner beat Jordan Goetschmann 7-4 at 126 pounds to give Caledonia a 13-6 lead. But P-E-M won the next three matches before Jacob Swindell rolled to a 19-5 win over Ryan Kottschade at 152 pounds to cut the Bulldogs lead to 18-17.
At 160 Eli Craig was pinned by Jacob Mewhorter, and at 170 pounds Reece Lange lost 12-1 to Jacob Wurst to put the Warriors down 28-17. At 182 pounds freshman Mitchell Schmitz turned in a great effort when he beat Bradley Schultz 2-0 to get the Warriors within eight points at 28-20 with three matches left.
Schmitz took a 2-0 lead in the first period and held on the rest of the way for the win, but at 195 David Wagner lost 14-5 to Dustin Finley to put the Bulldogs ahead by 12 points with two matches to go.
Viktor Guth then moved up to 220 pounds and pinned Elijah Bruer with 17.8 seconds left in the first period to cut the lead to 32-26 going into the final match of the night at 285 pounds.
Caledonia freshman Blake Mauss, who has wrestled at 220 pounds most of the season, moved up to heavyweight and took on senior Nolan Folkert and battled Folkert to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. Needing to get a pin Mauss did everything he could in overtime and recorded a 2-point takedown just eight seconds into overtime for the 3-1 win, but P-E-M won the match 32-29.
“That was probably Blake’s best match of his year so far,” Holland said. “We made an effort but they took a couple matches that we didn’t expect. But, that’s what team is all about, we’re trying to catch up and support each other along the way.”
The Warriors begin the tournament road Thursday. As of press time it was not known if the team would host their first round match or be on the road.