VIRGINIA — A scheduled home triangular for the Rock Ridge wrestling team against Hibbing and Pequot Lakes turned into a dual meet for the Wolverines and the Bluejackets with the Patriots unable to make the trip due to illness within the team.
But while the night was short, it didn’t stop the two teams from getting in some good wrestling as Rock Ridge came out on top against Hibbing 51-24.
A full roster meant the Wolverines were able to score some easy points as the Bluejackets weren’t able to field a wrestler in four weight classes, giving those wins to Rock Ridge. In the matches they did wrestle, the two teams went an even 5-5 against each other.
At 106 pounds, Rock Ridge’s Gage Benz pinned Nehemiah Figueroa at 5:25 to get the win. At 132, the Bluejackets’ Ethan Roy took a 5-3 decision against Colton Gallus.
At 145, Erik Sundquist made quick work of Hibbing’s Luke Tichy, pinning him in 31 seconds. At 152, Rock Ridge’s Gavin Benz pinned Jack Bautch at 3:28.
Damian Tapio was next to win for Rock Ridge, earning a 2-1 decision over Bryson Larrabee at 160 pounds. At 170 pounds, the Wolverines’ Miguen Tuchel fell in 7-5 in sudden victory to Hibbing’s Cooper Hendrickson.
Wrestling at 182, the Bluejackets’ Thomas Hagen pinned Rock Ridge’s Gavin Flannigan at 3:37.
At 195, Hibbing’s Drew Shay pinned Kaelan Kimball at 1:30.
The last two matches were split between the two teams with Rock Ridge’s Cory Beier falling to Ian Larrabee at 1:27 at 220 pounds. At 285, Ian Luecken picked up a win by pin at 3:24 over Hibbing’s Alex Henderson.
A close match between the two teams in the bouts that were wrestled, Rock Ridge head coach Dennis Benz told his wrestlers that they had to take Hibbing seriously if they wanted to come away on top.
“Hibbing has some tough kids and we knew this coming into the match,” Benz said. “I told the kids before to not take them lightly just because they are forfeiting a couple of weights. They can easily gain ground really fast if we do not wrestle well.”
On seeing how his team actually performed, Benz believes the Wolverines did wrestle well.
“We needed to keep some of the matches where we were out-manned, so to speak, closer. We had to give up a decision instead of getting pinned and we did well in that regard.
“The thing about wrestling Hibbing is that all of the kids from both teams know each other and they get along well. But when it comes to wrestling, things change and they become very competitive. This is the way it’s supposed to work. You build friendships that will last a lifetime after the match is over and that’s what we like to see as coaches.”
Rock Ridge wrestling will be back on the mat on Saturday for an individual tournament in Ashland. Matches are set to start at 10 a.m.