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JCC wrestlers win tournament at home

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE JCC wrestler Jordan Biehn (top) works over Wabasso/Red Rock Central senior Derek Christians in the finals of Saturday’s JCC Pizza Ranch Invitational in Jackson.1 / 3
CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Worthington senior Anthony Luft (left) wrestles Windom/Mountain Lake junior Joe Fischenich during the 126 pound title match at Jackson County Central. 2 / 3
CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Adrian junior Tony Lynn (right) wrestles Eagan junior Joe Dubbels in the championship bout at 145 pounds Saturday at Jackson County Central's Pizza Ranch Invitational.3 / 3

JACKSON — Jackson County Central wrestling coach Randy Baker thought his team had grown up a little bit after two straight days of wrestling.

After mistakes were made at times in a narrow 38-30 win over Fargo Davies (ND) Friday night in a triangular meet, the top-ranked Huskies came back to score 221 points, win their own tournament and show evident improvement on Saturday in Jackson.

“I had some kids wrestle the same kid today from Davies and they turned the match around,” Baker said. “We had a few of those deals where last night we were a little disappointed with the effort or mistakes and today we eliminated some of those. We had some kids step up today and I saw a little more heart. You have to wrestle for the whole six minutes or for whatever it takes.”

The strongest pieces of JCC’s efforts in the tournament were its starting seniors who earned five of the team’s 11 trips to the medal stand.

JCC seniors Jordan Biehn (1st-132), Dakota Rossow (5th-138), Chris Baker (4th-182) and Jack Zeimer (2nd-220) each received medals alongside Jacob Tvinnereim (3rd-106), Dalton Wagner (4th-113), Jarod Bakalyar (5th-145), Luke Pygman (6th-152), Paden Moore (1st-160), Luke Norland (1st-170) and Keegan Moore (1st-195).

The group of seniors for the Huskies is a mixture of rookies and seasoned veterans. Some have trained together for a long time and others are new to the team, Baker explained. Regardless, they stick together and provide an element of camaraderie to the team.

“It’s not that they’ve wrestled together all the way through but they are having fun with each other in the room,” Baker said of his seniors. “They even do things with each other outside of wrestling like hunting, fishing or just hanging out with each other. That is good to see.”

The team’s four champions on the day happened to be the team’s four returning state qualifiers from last year’s club that won their school’s fourth straight dual team title.

Biehn made himself available to the media following Saturday’s tournament. He placed fourth in the state individual tournament last season and beat Wabasso/Red Rock Central senior Derek Christians by 7-4 decision on the championship mat Saturday.

“I just want to keep wrestling and keep working hard, improving on my weaknesses,” Biehn said. “I just kept pushing the pace today. In that championship match he took me down early. I just needed to keep going after it and eventually I came out on top.

“We have some work to do,” Biehn added of his team. “We’ll go back to the wrestling room and work hard.”

The Huskies will undoubtedly work hard in preparation for what lies ahead, particularly for when they will travel to the two-day Minnesota Christmas Tournament. A trip for the team for the better part of the last quarter-century, the tournament in Rochester will provide a test of every kind, in endurance, skill and team bonding. It features 32 teams hailing from four Midwestern states.

“It is our toughest event in the first half of the season. There are a lot of tough Class AAA schools and there will be a number of state champions there in every weight class,” Baker said. “We can get out of town and it is a good bonding thing for the kids if they can battle through that. It has been a good weekend in the past for us to build our program.”

In the meantime, the Huskies travel to Hayfield Tuesday night and face a tournament in Emmetsburg, Iowa Saturday.

Adrian, Wabasso/RRC and Windom/Mountain Lake bode well; Worthington’s Luft wins at 126 Class A’s No. 8-ranked Adrian took second place with 11 placewinners of its own including Skylar Hieronimus (1st-113), Ryan Elias (3rd-126), Logan Nelson (3rd-132), Michael Preuss (2nd-138), Tony Lynn (1st-145), Logan Rogers (4th-152), Matthew Slater (3rd-160), Jesse Slater (2nd-170), Ben Taracena (3rd-182), Dylan Gyberg (6th-195) and Garrett Engelkes (4th-220).

Adrian’s focus has always been team-first. It is a philosophy that has earned the Dragons a dozen trips to the state tournament. JCC is Adrian’s only individual tournament experience of the year.

“To place 11 out of the 13 weights, I was really pleased with that,” Dragons coach Gregg Nelson said. “It’s a long season ahead but, from what I am seeing, it is encouraging. To have 10 guys place at this type of a tournament is really good.

“We wanted to get mat time and want to get better,” Nelson added. “This is our only tournament of the year and there is a lot of beef here. We wanted to see some of these other teams and see the competition to see how the kids can improve.”

Wabasso/RRC used nine placewinners to earn third place, paced by champions Spencer Jennings (120), Jordan Schroepfer (182) and Alex Schroepfer (285). Windom/Mountain Lake carried seven placewinners to a third place finish. Jared Willaby (138) was the lone champion for the Cobras.

Worthington’s Anthony Luft was the tournament’s champion at 126 pounds. The Trojans took sixth place and boasted eight placewinners in all, highlighted by second place finishes by sophomore Hser Eh Pwae (106) and senior Zach Kempema (160).

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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