On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Shake-up in wrestling?

Section 3A wrestling just could have a new face making a difference this year.

Pipestone Area is the defending champ and Minneota is the long-time holder of the conference crown.

Adrian has come and gone as a leader and so has Jackson County Central. Minneota beat Pipestone last week and the Arrows are short on enough wrestlers. And the Vikings, while coming on fast, are young this year.

But Wabasso/Red Rock Central has dropped down from AA and is back in Section 3A.

Another tough opponent this year appears to be Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove. A big test for the Vikings will come Thursday, January 11 when they travel to Tracy to face the up-start squad.

This could tell us a lot about how the Section 3A title could go this year.

Saturday, Minneota will be at Wabasso for a Tournament and again, the Vikings will learn something about the Wabasso/Red Rock Central squad.

It appears the “Times they are a changin’.”

ODDS & ENDS:

•Southwest Minnesota State wrestling returned to competition for the first time in 2018 on Saturday in the Minnesota State Duals in the Taylor Center. SMSU dropped its first match, 32-12 to second ranked Wisconsin-Parkside but rebounded with a 24-14 win over Central Missouri to wrap up the day. Minneota’s Brock Buysse wrestled both matches at 133 pounds. He dropped the first one on a major decision, 14-4 and the second one, 5-1. Former Viking Cole Hennen, who suffered an injury earlier in the year, has not returned to the mat. Buysse is 7-5 on the year and Hennen 6-4. Other Vikings on the team but not wrestling in the duals are: Alec Engler (2-2) and Nick Esping (1-7).

• The indoor track and field season is underway. A member of the team is Emily Gillingham of Minneota. She is also a member of SMSU cross country team. A freshmen, Gillingham was a four-year letter winner in cross country and five-time letter winner in track. She also was named a two-time all-conference honoree in cross country, was a state qualifier and team MVP as a senior in cross country. Gillingham also was an academic all-stater her senior year at Minneota and was a three-time all-conference competitor in track, She was a multiple state qualifier in track. She is the daughter of Brad and Diane Gillingham and her sister Lizzy Gillingham is currently a junior on the Vikings girls’ basketball team.

•The Dakota Wesleyan women’s basketball team is 15-3. Minneota’s Meghan Travis is a member of the team.

Byron Higgin

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