Bluejackets pin Blue Devils in 7AA quarterfinals

NASHWAUK — The third-seeded Virginia Area wrestling team was eliminated from the Section 7AA Tournament Tuesday with a 40-30 loss against No. 2 Hibbing.

The Blue Devils found success at the lower weights, and even moved some athletes up a weight class with success, but got unfavorable matchups at 145 and 172 that ultimately turned the tide of the match.

Jackson Kendall got Virginia off on the right foot with a 9-6 win against the Bluejackets Ethan Roy. They then grabbed a win by forfeit at 113, with Connor Morcom taking the W.

At 120 pounds, Asher Hedblom (moving up from 113 pounds) wrestled Hibbing’s Preston Thronson and got the pin 2:41 in.

Nolan Campbell then moved up from 120 to 126 for Virginia and pinned Hibbing’s Levi Herr in just 1:20.

Gavin Benz was the next up and also moved up a weight class. Benz went from 126 to 132 and beat Hibbing’s Josh Cannata 8-1.

The Devils sent out Erik Sundquist at 138 pounds and hoped to score a win against Bryson Larabee. Larabee defeated Sundquist earlier in the season 5-2. This match would end in the same outcome as Larabee got the 8-4 win after the six minute bout.

The Devils then sent out Gavin Flannigan at 145 and picked up another loss, falling to Hibbing’s Cooper Hendrickson, 17-6.

A matchup Devils head coach Dennis Benz didn’t want to happen, Virginia’s Jacob Burress had to face off with Hibbing’s David Platt at 152 pounds. Platt came out on top in that match, getting the pin at 2:40.

Virginia rebounded at 160 pounds when Miigwen Tuchell wrestled Owen Hendrickson and got a pin late in the match at 5:25.

Gavin Holmes was next for the Devils, wrestling at 170 pounds. Holmes was no match for the ‘Jackets Ian Larabee and fell 7-1. The Devils lead 30-16 at this point, but would be shut out at the higher weights, giving way to the Hibbing victory.

Beau Tapio wrestled at 182 for Virginia and fell by pin at 2:36 to Drew Shay. Virginia then gave up some points of their own via forfeit, with Hibbing’s Jagger Greenwood earning the points at 182.

At 220 pounds, Ryan Wenzel faced off with Hibbing’s Langston Nash. Nash proved to be a tough fight as the Bluejacket got the pin at 1:22.

The match ended with Virginia forfeiting the heavyweight division to Hibbing’s Chris Tureson making it 40-30 in favor of the Bluejackets.

“Overall, our kids wrestled well,” said Coach Benz. “ The hung in there even when they were outmatched and fought every inch of the way.”

Eliminated from the team competition, the Devils aren’t done yet as they’ll take part in the 7AA Individual Tournament next week in Mora. The tournament is set for the Feb. 21-22.

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