The Morris Area/Hancock/Chokio-Alberta wrestling team dropped two duals at Melrose Thursday, Dec. 20 against the host team and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
The Tigers were missing a top wrestler, but still hopeful of winning at least one dual. The end result was a close loss to host Sauk Center/Melrose and a total drubbing by No. 2 Class A ranked Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
Senior 220-pound wrestler Joel Harrison stayed home due to illness and the Tigers didn't have the experience to finish off the matches.
"The Tigers also wound up bumping wrestlers up in weight to fill the hole," said assistant coach Blaine Hill. "The only bright spot was that we had wrestlers to fill the hole, something that hasn't happened in many years."
First the Tigers faced Sauk Center/Melrose in a close match falling to the home team 41-33.
In the opening individual match, Jared Rohloff lost by a 10-4 decision to Jordan Winter at 106 pounds. Then Matt Munsterman was pinned by Kolten Kulhman at 113 pounds in 1:34 giving SC-M a 9-0 lead.
The Tigers then took the lead with two pins. Mitchell Ascheman pinned Noah Lezer in 2:30 at 120 pounds and Travis Ostby pinned Junior Perez in 1:01 at 126 pounds.
Evan Nelson lost by major decision 10-2 at 132 pounds to Will Funk to put SC-M up 13-12 and then a pin by Dillan Johnson over Mitchell Wolbeck in 5:55 at 138 pounds gave the Tigers the lead again.
Myles Smith lost by major decision 18-7 to Tommy Latzka at 145 pounds.
Then the Tigers and SC-M each won two matches with pins to keep the Tigers in the lead going into the last three matches. Jerid Berning lost by pin to Derek Karasch in 4:53 at 152 pounds and Trent Ostby was pinned by Dalton Benker in 3:51 at 160 pounds. Seth Nelson won by pin in 2:25 over Cole McElwain at 170 pounds and Connor Metzger pinned Arturo Stefanoni in 3:02 at 182 pounds.
In one of the most exciting matches of the night, sophomore Alec Gausman came back from a 3-0 deficit to win his match over Jade Olson 7-5. This gave the Tigers a 33-29 lead going into the 220-pound match.
The Tigers bumped newcomer to the team and the varsity Matt Vinson. Vinson is only a freshman and was pinned in 4:26.
Then sophomore Jacob Sperr was undersized to match up against heavyweight Charlie Barhorst and was pinned in 2:42 to seal the win for SC-M 41-33.
In the second dual, the Tigers were totally dominated by one of the top Class A programs in the State, A-C-GC. The Falcons have five wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their respective weight classes and the rest of the team is extremely experienced. The final score was 68-6.
The only bright spot for the Tigers was Metzger picking up his 17th win of the season. Metzger pinned Matthew Whitcomb in 3:37.
"Metzger will no doubt get a look for ranking at 170 pounds when the new rankings come out on Dec. 27," said Hill.
The Tigers' Matt Munsterman lost by major decision 12-1 at 106 pounds and Travis Ostby lost by major decision 16-5 at 126 pounds. The Tigers forfeited at 120 pounds, but so did A-C-GC. The Tigers also forfeited at 152 pounds to top ranked Larry Bomstad. All the rest of the Tiger wrestlers lost by pins