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Wrestling: Dragons come up short, finish dual season at 30-6

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Adrian 170-pound sophomore Matthew Slater puts his Minneota opponent in a fireman’s carry during their Section 3A championship dual Saturday in Lamberton. 1 / 3
CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Adrian sophomore Michael Preuss (top) works his opponent's head during the Section 3A final at Lamberton Saturday afternoon.2 / 3
CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Adrian senior Ben Tarcena (top) wrestles Minneota/Lincoln-HI's Nathan Bueltel at 195 pounds during Saturday afternoon's Section 3A final at Red Rock Central High School in Lamberton. 3 / 3

LAMBERTON — Wrestlers and coaches of Class A’s fifth-ranked Adrian Dragons had absolutely nothing to hang their heads about as they stepped off the mat at Red Rock Central High School Saturday following a loss in the Section 3A final against Minneota-Lincoln-HI.

Winning nine of the dual meet’s weight classes, the Vikings — seeded first in the tournament and currently ranked fourth in their class — put together a solid enough effort in those weights won to earn a 36-23 victory and a trip to the state tournament.

“Minneota is no slouch, and according to the rankings it was four versus five,” Adrian head coach Gregg Nelson said. “Whatever it is, we had a lot of close matches down low and they wrestled well.”

The Dragons made their way to the section championship with a 39-19 victory over 12th-ranked and third-seeded Wabasso/Red Rock Central in the semifinal round. Skylar Hieronimus (106) and Greg Kern (113) were each winners for Adrian early in that dual before the Bobcats came back to win three of the next five matches and trim Adrian’s advantage to eight points, at 17-9.

Down the stretch, Hunter Heitkamp (152), Matthew Slater (160), Dylan Gyberg (195) and Gavin Engelkes (220) were all winners for their Dragons in the semifinal.

On the other mat, Minneota/Lincoln HI ousted Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 42-16, to advance to the championship.

The Vikings staked claim to an early 6-0 lead against Adrian on decisions by Brock Buysee (106) and Eric Hauswedell (113) over Adrian’s Hieronimus and Kern, respectively.

Adrian got on the board with a dominating 11-0 major decision won by Ryan Elias (120). Tony Lynn posted another by defeating Leo Buysse, 14-6. Jesse Slater (182) and heavyweight Tony Sieve each recorded falls for the Dragons.

As Minneota built its lead, Adrian did not fold nor did it hurt its chances by losing focus. That was something else Nelson pointed to as a positive factor on the day.

The Dragons ended a stellar dual season at a 30-6 tally. Only two of those losses, the one to Minneota and another to Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, came against schools from the state of Minnesota.

“They wrestled well and we didn’t beat ourselves. Minneota beat us today,” Nelson said of his team’s effort in the championship. “We can hold our heads high. We had a great season and I think the boys all did about as well as they could have.”

Now, the Dragons will shift gears with one simple goal as the Section 3A individual tournament approaches on Saturday in Pipestone. Three wrestlers for AHS are currently ranked including Hieronimus (1st-106), Lynn (4th-138) and Jesse Slater (3rd-170). Hieronimus’ match, at 106 in the finals, was that dual’s only bout featuring two ranked wrestlers.

“Now that the team stuff is over, we’ll try and get as many kids through as possible,” Nelson said simply. “That will be our focus this next week.”

Adrian 39, Wabasso/RRC 19

106: Hieronimus (A) pin Doubler 1:54; 113: Kern (A) dec. Schroepher 9-4; 120: Frank (W) dec. Fuerstenberg 9-3; 126: Jenniges (W) dec. Elias 5-3; 132: Preuss (A) dec. Christians 3-2; 138: Lynn (A) tech. fall Kemp; 145: Fulton (W) dec. Rodgers 4-2; 152: Heitkamp (A) dec. Albermatt; 160: M. Slater (A) pin Anderson 1:03; 170: J. Slater (A) maj. dec. Mattison 12-0; 182: J. Schroepfer (W) dec. Taracena 10-3; 195: Gyberg (A) dec. Coulter 9-4; 220: Engelkes (A) pin Welch; 285: Schroepfer (W) pin Sieve :28.

Minneota/Lincoln-HI 36, Adrian 23

106: B. Buysse (M) dec. Hieronimus 4-3; 113: Hauswedell (M) dec. Kern 5-4; 120: Elias (A) maj. dec. Reiss 11-0; 126: Hennen (M) maj. dec. Nelson 11-3; 132: VanOverbeke (M) maj. dec. Preuss 10-1; 138: Lynn (A) maj. dec. Buysse 14-6; 145: Bruner (M) dec. Rodgers 7-3; 152: Engler (M) maj. dec Heitkamp 14-4; 160: Esping (M) tech fall VanDyke 26-5; 170: Hennen (M) dec. M. Slater 4-0; 182: J. Slater (A) pin A. Bueltel 2:36; 195: Taracena (A) dec. N. Bueltel 8-5; 220: Esping (M) pin Engelkes 1:44; 285: Sieve (A) pin Twedt 1:04.

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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