December 15, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.

Dramatic county match comes down to heavyweight

Dramatic county match comes down to heavyweight
Dramatic county match comes down to heavyweight

Last Thursday's match between the Wildcats and Vikings was as exciting as last year's regular season dual meet between the two teams, but without the controversy. There were nine pins on the evening and, once again, the match wasn't decided until the very end. But this time, the Wildcats came away with the win, beating the Vikings 40-33 at North Branch.

Wildcat Kyle Schoenecker dominated the 106 pound match with Viking Seth Phillips. A takedown and near fall midway through the first period gave Schoenecker a 5-0 lead. Starting on the bottom in the second period, Schoenecker scored a reversal before pinning Phillips at 2:59 to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead. At 113, Wildcat Dylan Connell had an early takedown near fall and led Viking Aaron Sistrunk 4-1 after the first period. Connell dominated early in the second period, pinning Sistrunk just over 30 seconds into the period to give the Wildcats a 12-0 lead.

But things started to turn for the Vikings at 120. Viking Aaron Senne had a takedown and a near fall of Wildcat Nathan Graeve to take a 5-0 lead after the first period. Senne started on top in the second and wasted little time, pinning Greave 30 seconds into the period to cut the Wildcat lead to 12-6. And Viking Reid Johnson wasted no time in his 126 pound match against Wildcat Joe Valento. Johnson took down Valento five seconds into the match and pinned him in a lightning-quick 23 seconds to tie the match at 12-12. Viking Cameron Sampson won by forfeit at 132 and, just like that, the Vikings were on top 18-12.

In the 138 pound match between Viking Jake Pilz and Wildcat Quade Zupko, each wrestler nearly had a takedown just over a minute into the first period. Later in the period, Zupko grabbed Pilz and tried to complete a takedown. Pilz crawled over the line, trying to take Zupko with him. But Zupko managed to keep his feet in bounds as he completed the takedown for a 2-0 lead with 27 seconds left in the period. Zupko was awarded a near fall at the end of the period for a 4-0 lead after one. In the second period, Pilz escaped at 2:47 to cut Zupko's lead to 4-1. Zupko started on the bottom in the third period. Pilz wasn't able to turn him and Zupko hung on for the 4-1 win, cutting the North Branch lead to 18-15.

Wildcat Bobby Sontag dominated early in the 145 pound match with Viking Mike Vogel, taking a 4-1 lead in the first period. Vogel kept it close for a while, trailing just 5-1 after two. But Sontag had a reversal, a takedown and a near fall in the third period to come away with a 12-2 major decision over Pilz. The four points Sontag earned for the win put the Wildcats back on top 19-18.

At 152, Wildcat Mark Sontag started out fast, taking down Viking Jesse Frink just ten seconds into the first period. He took Frink down just five seconds into the second period and added a two point near fall to go up 6-0. Sontag continued to dominate the match and pinned Frink at 3:23 to increase the Wildcat lead to 25-18.

The best match of the night came in the 160 pound fight between Viking Patrick Mork and Wildcat Joe Virga. Mork scored a takedown at 1:17 to take a 2-0 lead. Virga nearly scored a reversal just over ten seconds later, but Mork thwarted it to maintain his lead. In the second period, Mork started on the bottom. He had a reversal at 3:00 to increase his lead to 4-0. Virga escaped 20 seconds later to cut the lead to 4-1. Virga took down Mork at 3:35 pull within one point at 4-3.

Virga started on the bottom in the third period. He got up and nearly escaped at 5:10, but Mork slammed him back down on the mat to keep the score at 4-3. Mork tried to turn Virga, but Virga hung on. With 4 seconds left in the match, the wrestlers went out of bounds to set the stage for one final move. Virga, starting on the bottom, summoned a burst of energy and stood up, and it looked like he would break loose for an escape that would send the match into overtime. But Mork hung on to Virga's leg for the last second and won the match 4-3. The Vikings now trailed the Wildcats 25-21.

At 170, Viking Sam Peltier took down Wildcat David Barwin 12 seconds into the period to lead 2-0. Peltier nearly pinned Barwin later in the period and led 5-0 after the near fall. When Frink took down Barwin again at 2:21, the North Branch crowd started drumming on the bleachers. The drumming got louder and louder until, at 3:00, Peltier pinned Barwin and the gym erupted in cheers for Peltier, who had just given the Vikings the lead at 27-25.

Wildcat William Pool and Viking Mitch Anderson were locked in a tight match at 182 until Pool scored on a takedown with 25 seconds left in the first period. Anderson nearly completed a reversal with 10 seconds remaining, but Pool regained control to hold on to his 2-0 lead. Anderson started on the bottom in the second period and Pool rode him the entire period. Anderson nearly escaped twice, but Pool threw him back down to the mat each time accompanied by the roar of the crowd. Pool started to wear Anderson down in the third period. He built a 7-1 lead. Going for the major decision, Pool tried a takedown with less than 10 seconds left in the period. But Anderson turned it around and ended up with a takedown of his own, making the final score Pool 7, Anderson 3 and giving the Wildcats a 28-27 lead.

At 195, Viking Bert Leudtke tried to take down Wildcat Kevin Schmidt early in the first period but slammed Schmidt down on his head. Schmidt was awarded a point for the foul and led 1-0. Leudtke scored on a takedown at 0:30 for a 2-1 lead. Schmidt escaped a few seconds later to tie the match at2-2. Leudtke took Schmidt down for a 4-2 lead at 1:00. Leudtke worked Schmidt over after that as an anticipatory roar went up in the gym, finally pinning Schmidt near the edge of the mat with at 1:34 to give the Vikings the led back at 33-28.

Wildcat Jonah Westbury took down Viking Eric Bergstrom at 1:00 of the 220 pound match for a 2-0 lead and it got louder and louder on the Chisago Lakes side of the gym as Westbury worked on turning Bergstrom. The noise kept building till a roar went up at 1:45 when Westbury finished the pin to put the Wildcats up 34-33.

The outcome of the evening, not surprisingly, came down to the last match, the 285 pound bout between Viking Seamus Hunter and Wildcats Chase Kammerer. Just over 30 seconds into the first period, the North Branch crowd started a chant of "Seamus! Seamus! Seamus!" that lasted the rest of the scoreless first period. Kammerer started on the bottom in the second period and nearly escaped at 2:18. He finally completed the escape at 2:48 for a 1-0 lead. Right after that, at 2:55, Kammerer took down Hunter for a 3-0 lead. He turned Hunter on his back at 3:15. The roar started to build again among the Wildcat fans. Kammerer completed the pin at 3:45 and the gym erupted as the referee slammed his hand down on the mat, giving the Wildcats a 40-33 win.

"It's nice to get that win," said Wildcat head coach Shawn Frederixon. "Otherwise you're ticked off for the rest of season wondering what happened. Ultimately, though, it's just one match and there are a lot of other things to look forward to this season. Both teams wrestled hard and we did what we needed to do to win. Quade Zupko beat Jake Pilz, a kid he lost to last year. Joe Virga went six minutes with pat Mork, a two time state entrant and had a chance to beat him. And it was nice to get the two big pins at the end from Jonah Westbury and Chase Kammerer. It's nice for us to be able to rely on those guys.

Viking head coach Tony Aho said "We are disappointed that we could not get it done tonight. Both Chisago and North Branch lost a lot to graduation last year, and we are both trying to get rebuilt fast. Tonight, their guys just plainly outworked us, but we are quite sure that won't happen again. They may get by us, but we will fight harder to not give up pins. Once again, our kids are working very hard and are very coachable, so we expect to reach whatever potential we have by the end of the season."

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