On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Strugglin’ on the mat Minneota is in a battle against time. And time is not on their side. Injuries take “time” to heal — and the Viking wrestling team has plenty of healing to do before the Section 3A finals — which are closing in quickly! Marshall defeated Minneota, 43-22 in a dual wrestling match during a Triangular in Minneota on Friday night. “They’re a very good team,” said Minneota Coach Joel Skillings.

It was the first time Minneota has lost to Marshall since 1984.

Hsa Khee Lar recorded a pin over Truman Wambeke in the 113 bout to give Marshall an early 9-0 lead.

The Tigers would push that lead to 19-0 before the Vikings got on the scoreboard. Hampered even worse than last week by injuries, the Vikings just couldn’t catch up.

Eric Carrasco, who wrestles mostly 106, has 15-12 record and the Vikings lost him for Friday’s two matches after he injured his arm against United a week earlier.

Marshall shut the door on Minneota, beginning at the 182-pound bout. With Marshall holding a 25-16 lead, Wyatt Martin, Jaiden Bahr and Zack Felcyn all got pins to seal the win.

Without Brant Buysse (19-6) and likely out for the year with a broken foot and heavyweight T.J. Esping, (25-4), Minneota was without much of its heavy firepower. Yet, Austin Kloos came through with a 7-2 decision and Shawn Buysse handled Lilija Milanovic, 9-1.

The Vikings won the final match, a pin by Jackson Esping over Thad Pease. IN THE other match, Minneota defeated MAHACA (Morris Area) 58-15.

Minneota’s Kade Lozinski (19-14), got the first win outside of a forfeit on a 13-4 major decision over Ethan Lebrija. From 132-195, the young Vikings ran off a string of wins to vault into a huge lead. Teddy Pesch and Blake Reiss recorded techfalls; Austin Kloos and Cole VanOverbeke major decision; Kyle Banks a pin and Layne Lozinski a pin.

Although Jackson Esping got pinned at 220, MAHA didn’t have a heavyweight and injured T.J. Esping stepped onto the mat to take the win that ended the contest.

Byron Higgin

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