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Jurries, Wagner look sharp for West wrestlers

Eliot Jurries and Lance Wagner performed admirably for the Minnesota West wrestling team Saturday.

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WORTHINGTON -- Eliot Jurries and Lance Wagner performed admirably for the Minnesota West wrestling team Saturday.

Wrestling against Rochester Community College in Worthington, both matmen won their official matches by fall. They also wrestled exhibition matches, winning those, too.

“They’re doing a good job, especially considering our numbers aren’t great, as far as practicing partners,” said West head coach Randy Baker.

Baker had hoped for a fuller wrestling room this winter, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. Some wrestlers were lost when the football team was forced to shut down its fall campaign, and others left when the school went to distance learning. That made potential wrestlers unsure whether the Bluejays would be able to have a wrestling season.

Four recruits called it quits in October. There are four in camp today, all who have been working out since January.

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The Rochester dual was West’s second of the 2021 season. Last week Tuesday against Iowa Lakes, Jurries won 8-0 at 149 pounds and Wagner won by fall in 2:50 at heavyweight. In the Rochester meet, Jurries pinned Matt Frost in 2:03 at 141 pounds, and Wagner won his heavyweight match against Tristen Wilson in a fall at 4:59.

In the exhibitions, Jurries beat Parker Dobrocky 10-5 and Wagner pinned Mason Smid in 3:51.

“Lance is just getting started, but he beat a couple of quality kids,” Baker said. “Wilson is ranked fifth in the nation and Smit was third in the state, wrestling for Cass Lake-Blackduck. Dobrocky is ranked first at 133.”

Wagner participated in the Minnesota high school state tournament last season for Wabasso/Red Rock Central, though he didn’t place. Jurries, who hails from Sherburn, is in his second year at Minnesota West.

The two other grapplers actively practicing for Baker’s Bluejays are Scott Edwards, a heavyweight from Adrian, and Bryce Bickerstaff, a 184-pounder from Central Lyon/George-Little Rock. Both are expected to be available on Friday when the Jays take on Northwestern of Orange City, Iowa.

On Saturday, West will be at the Dave Edmonds Open in Sioux City, Iowa.

Although the 2021 campaign has already had its share of ups and downs, Baker is pleased at recent developments.

“We’re happy to be back to competing,” he said.

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Matches are being scheduled more or less on the fly. But one event has been circled -- the national tournament set for April 21-22 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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