Laker wrestlers handle Panthers
DETROIT LAKES - Not only did the front half of the Detroit Lakes wrestling team spark a 41-29 victory over visiting Park Rapids Friday, they basically won the meet after taking a 29-0 lead after six matches.
The Lakers picked up key bonus points in all of those first six matches, including a big pin by Mike Bellefeuille at 119 pounds.
That 29-0 advantage was enough to absorb the Panthers' middle to heavier weights, which captured the final five of six matches.
"We were anticipating Park Rapids to be pretty strong from their middle to heavier weights," said DL head coach Rob Ullyott. "We are stronger from our lighter to middle weights, so we clashed a little there in the later matches."
Senior Brandon Baker recorded his 72nd career win in the midst of DL's early rally, posting a 19-6 major decision at 125 over Dylan Holmer.
The win put DL up 20-0 after Bellefeuille's pin, a forfeit win at 112 and a Gabe Foltz 9-0 major decision at 103.
"I was trying to get some takedowns and get a couple more points, but I had some trouble turning him," Baker said of his attempt to win with a technical fall and gain an extra bonus point.
Baker is also wrestling at a heavier weight this year as DL's normal 119 or 125 pounder. He's been at 103 or 112 during his first couple of years on varsity.
"The opponents are bigger and stronger, so I just needed to switch over to being a more of a technical wrestler," Baker said.
Travis Kienitz continued the rally with an 11-3 major decision on Forrest Drury to put DL up 24-0.
"Travis got us a big win there, and he's just improving every day," said Ullyott.
Garrett Foltz capped DL's furious start with an 18-3 technical fall over Zachary Steffens at 135.
The Panthers started clawing back, beginning with a pin by Derek Werner over Travis Sims, but Josh Tweeton notched his 64th career win with a fall on Logan Spears at 145.
Park Rapids pulled to within 35-17 on a 6-3 decision by Matt Weaver over Alex Feldt and a pair of major decisions by Jared Nash and John Drury.
But one of DL's leaders in wins this season -- senior Brandon Johnson -- stopped the bleeding by sticking Tom Drury with 26 seconds left in the final period to seal the deal.
"Brandon is really starting to figure things out and he had a good win tonight," Ullyott said.
DL has consistently been climbing the ladder of progression through the season, and they are planning on continuing that trend.
"We are getting better every time we step on the mat," Baker added.
The Lakers improved to 8-3 in dual action. They hosted the DL Invite Saturday and will face No. 2 Class 2A-ranked Perham Tuesday inside Ralph Anderson Gym, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Park Rapids at Detroit Lakes, Friday, Jan. 30.
Lakers 41, Panthers 29
103: Gabe Foltz (DL) maj dec. Laine Jenson 9-0.
112: Matt Morris (DL) won by forfeit.
119: Mike Bellefeuille (DL) pin Cameron Free :37.
125: Brandon Baker (DL) maj dec. Dylan Holmer 19-6.
130: Travis Kienitz (DL) maj dec. Forrest Drury 11-3.
135: Garrett Foltz (DL) tech fall Zachary Steffen 18-3.
140: Derek Werner (PR) pin Travis Smis 2:25.
145: Josh Tweeton (DL) pin Logan Spears :46.
152: Matt Weaver (PR) dec. Alex Feldt 6-3.
160: Jared Nash (PR) maj dec. Nate Duchene 9-1.
171: John Drury (PR) maj dec. Ben Gailfus 15-2.
189: Brandon Johnson (DL) pin Tom Drury 5:34.
215: Matt Offerdahl (PR) won by forfeit.
HWT: Ken Weaver (PR) pin Mike Kohler 1:13.