PREP WRESTLING: Panthers pounce on TrojansWESTBROOK — A week ago, Joey Kinley recorded career win No. 100. He hasn’t wasted any time working to his next milestone.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WESTBROOK — A week ago, Joey Kinley recorded career win No. 100.
He hasn’t wasted any time working to his next milestone.
A senior on Worthington’s wrestling team, Kinley earned a fall in one minute, 31 seconds in Thursday’s dual against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
However, the victory at 140 pounds was the final win for the Trojans as the Panthers claimed the final seven weights en route to a 53-15 victory.
“Tracy is good,” said Kinley, who earned his milestone with a fall in the Luverne tournament and now has 106 career victories. “We don’t have everybody in our lineup. We just expected to go out there and wrestle.”
Kinley didn’t waste any time against Kyle Gilbertson, recording a takedown immediately and turning the Panther on his back in the first period.
“I wanted to wrestle (Zach) Campbell, I wanted him to bump him up against me,” Kinley said, referring to the state’s fifth-ranked 135-pounder. “I just went out there and wrestled.
“Losing those first matches, got me to just want to get the match done with. I’m just getting ready for sections.”
Kinley is well on his way to repeating his state-qualifying performance from a year ago. After recovering from a knee injury earlier in the season, the senior is undefeated in his last 10 matches.
“He’s still getting the feel back from coming back from his injury,” WHS head coach Mark Prunty said. “That would have been an opportunity to get a couple takedowns, take him down and let him up two or three times. But again, that’s a dangerous game to play, too. He did the smart thing, get the six and get off the mat. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
While Kinley is fully recovered from his injury, his teammates are still working their way back. The Trojans were without six wrestlers who had been in the starting lineup at one point this season.
“Tonight, Tracy put some pretty good kids on the mat up above,” Prunty said. “It’s a pretty tall order to expect a win from some of the kids. They worked hard, they just couldn’t stay off their back.”
The Panthers recorded five falls and won two matches by technical fall and one by forfeit.
“We came out really aggressive,” T-M-B/W-WG coach Karl Campbell said. “I’m really pleased with that. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I wasn’t sure if we were mentally ready coming into the match tonight. I’m very pleased how aggressive our kids wrestled.
“Sometimes it’s just about relaxing and getting after it and not being too tight and too wound up. Our kids were definitely loose and ready to go. We haven’t wrestled since last Saturday, so we had a week off.”
There were no signs of rust for the Panthers on Thursday, despite a fast start by the Trojans.
Anthony Luft gave WHS a 3-0 lead at 103 pounds. However, T-M-B/W-WG’s Caleb Christian avoided the major decision with an escape and a two-point move late in the third period.
“Our kids that lost matches, kept the matches close,” Karl Campbell said. “We knew that Worthington was strong in those early three matches. We only gave up three points on each one of those. We knew if we could come out of the gate and stay with them early, we were pretty confident that we had the guns up top to get after them. Those guys came out aggressive and put up bonus points. I’m very pleased with how our kids wrestled.”
Christian Artiga gave WHS a 6-0 lead after his 6-1 decision at 112.
Jared Kinley, wrestling at 119, jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second period.
“I wrestled all three periods to try to get my endurance up,” he said. “I’ve only made 119 a couple times this season, so I tried lasting the whole match to get my conditioning up.”
He did wrestle all three periods, but T-M-B/W-WG’s Bee Thao held off to avoid the major decision.
“He was a really tough, strong kid,” Jared Kinley said. “He was blocking my shots pretty well.
“I just have to want the major more next time. I’ll go to practice and work harder and wrestle more.”
Joe Ruppert put the Panthers on the board with a fall in 3:22 at 125 before teammate Zach Iverson earned a tech fall (15-0) at 130 to give T-M-B/W-WG its first lead of the night.
“In the lower weights, they did a nice job of damage control in those first three weights,” Prunty said. “That’s where we usually rack up points. We expected three wins and we got three wins, but they made our kids work for it. You have to credit them, they did their job of keeping the match close. I thought we came out and wrestled hard.”
Panther Zach Campbell earned a fall in 42 seconds at 135 before Joey Kinley answered with his pin at 140, cutting the deficit to two points, 17-15.
However, those would be the final points WHS scored on the night.
“We just gave up too many pins,” Jared Kinley said. “I think we just didn’t show up to wrestle tonight. We were flat.”
Ian Mariner gave T-M-B/W-WG a fall at 145 in 1:45 before a tough match at 160.
Panther Jared Towne had an early 2-0 lead on Worthington’s Blake Schroeder, and added an escape in the third period. However, as the clock was winding down, Schroeder made a move. But time expired before he could score any points in a 3-0 loss.
Marcus Stefanic earned a 16-5 major decision against Zach Kempema at 160 in a match that was close early on.
“At 152 and 160 we had two freshmen against two pretty good kids with Towne and Stefanic,” Prunty said. “We had our two ninth-graders that just don’t back down. They never quit. Blake was in a 3-0 match and just about got a five-pointer at the end of the match. That’s what you love to see as a coach is a freshman not backing down.
“Zach gave up the big roll in the first period to give up three back points, but other than that, it was a really back and forth match.”
After 160, the Trojans trailed 30-15.
“Those guys, I know, are disappointed and frustrated,” Prunty said. “But there are a lot of positive things. They are learning that they can take kids like that down. It doesn’t matter how old they are or how experienced, they are starting to wrestle up to their potential. They are just going to get better and better.”
Linch Her (tech fall at 171), Brad Schmidt (fall in 2:21 at 189), Matt Wakefield (fall in 1:41 at 215) and Levi Brummer (forfeit at heavyweight) each picked up wins to close the match.
The Trojans will be at Redwood Valley next Thursday, while T-M-B/W-WG is at its conference tournament on Saturday with sections on the horizon.
“We have a lot of wrestling to do before that,” Karl Campbell said. “We’re trying to get better every day.”
The Trojans, meanwhile, are just ready to be healthy again.
“We have Kyle (Wiese) and Matt (Steffl) coming back soon,” Joey Kinley said. “Once we get our full lineup back, I think we’ll be able to do something.”
103 Luft (W) dec 9-4 Christian, 0-3
112 Artiga (W) dec 6-1 Schoenenberger, 0-6
119 Jared Kinley (W) dec 7-1 Thao, 0-9
125 Ruppert (T) fall 3:22 M. Zavala, 6-9
130 Iverson (T) tech fall 5:43 Peterson, 11-9
135 Campbell (T) fall :42 Clarke, 17-9
140 Joey Kinley (W) fall 1:31 Gilbertson, 17-15
145 Mariner (T) fall 1:45 Mills, 23-15
152 Towne (T) dec 3-0 Schroeder, 26-15
160 Stefanic (T) maj. dec 16-5 Kempema, 30-15
171 Her (T) tech fall 3:25 F. Zavala, 35-15
189 Schmidt (T) fall 2:21 Wheeler, 41-15
215 Wakefield (T) fall 1:41 Hillesheim, 47-15
Hwt. Brummer (T) forfeit, 53-15