'Beast Mode' brings Frazee Class 1A state runner-up honors
It's the two words which the Frazee Hornet wrestling team rode all the way to the Class 1A state championship match, where they eventually lost to the No. 1 ranked Jackson County Central 38-22.
It was the 10th time a Hornet team made the final round in the state meet, while winning a total of four, including 2011 when they were co-champions along with JCC.
But this year's run was a little unique in all the adversity the Hornets had to overcome to have such a successful season as they did.
Inspiration lay in those two words - "Beast Mode" - which refers to the team's fallen teammate, Myrel Schermerhorn, who passed away from injuries inflicted in a car accident last year.
"Myrel lived for wrestling and I have imagined him with me every time I'm on the mat," said senior 138-pounder Bruce Lemon. "I know he is proud of us of what we did."
The team honored Schermerhorn by displaying "Beast Mode" on their headbands, warm-up pants and even bringing an enlarged poster of the Hornet in action out for the ceremonial handshakes on the middle of the mat for the championship match.
The poster took up a couple of seats on the Hornet's sidelines for a constant reminder that Schermerhorn is still a big part of the team.
"I'm proud of what these seniors accomplished with all the adversity they have gone through the last two years," said Frazee head coach John Barlund. "It was just a unique season with all the injuries they overcame. They went through a lot this year and were very successful."
The Class 1A state team tournament basically came down to JCC and Frazee.
Then, everyone else.
The two top seeds of the tourney rolled through the quarterfinals and semifinals, to eventually set up the meeting most would thought would happen and rematch the pair from their 2011 championship tie.
The Huskies cruised through the first two rounds with a 43-19 win over Barnesville and a 39-25 victory over Chatfield.
Frazee had a pair of convincing triumphs over Pierz 47-12 and Sibley East 40-16.
The Huskies employed six state-ranked wrestlers, including three No. 1 ranked wrestlers and two more in the top five.
Frazee had eight top 10 ranked wrestlers, but not as many top ones with two fourth-ranked and one fifth-ranked.
The Hornets struck early with a pair of decisions by eighth grader 106-pounder Tanner Reetz and sophomore 113-pounder Byron Byer, who's match injected some energy in the Green after rallying back from a 5-0 deficit to win 8-5.
"I just kept working hard to come back," Byer added about his win.
But ultimately, the toss-up matches were won by JCC, a couple on late pins - which would have ended as decisions otherwise - tipped the scale to them.
"We knew we had to hold off the pins and weather the storm in the middleweights," Barlund said. "Unfortunately, in some of the situations, they got the breaks and got some of those pins late on us."
The momentum looked like it was going to come gushing over to Frazee's side, after 126-pounder Austin Skillings pulled off a cradle midway through the third period to gain three back points and tie the match against JCC's Cameron Henning.
But Henning struck with a takedown with 11 seconds left to nab the 7-5 decision and tie the match 6-6.
"There were a lot of toss-up matches and a lot of them didn't go our way," Lemon said.
By the 132-pound match, is when JCC's top-ranked wrestlers took over.
No. 1 Eliot Jurries pinned No. 10 Hunter Sorenson; No. 2 145-pounder Paden Moore posted a major decision on Erik Moltzan and No. 1 Luke Norland picked up a big fall on Evan Wendt with just 25 ticks left in the match.
No. 4 Lemon was able to win his match 9-1 over Dylan Riggle at 138, but the storm Barlund wanted to weather, was just too strong as the Huskies built a 28-10 lead after the 160-pound match, which was an open weight for Frazee.
"We just couldn't get things rolling and get into a flow," Barlund said. "That was one of our strengths this year was the ability to gain momentum and not stop."
The title was the Huskies' fourth in a row.
The Hornets also advanced nine wrestlers in the Class 1A individual portion of the state meet, which was Friday and Saturday.
Find full individual state wrestling results and articles in Wednesday's Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Class 1A state team wrestling tournament in Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Thursday, Feb. 28.
Frazee, 47, Pierz 12
106 Tanner Reetz (Frazee) def Brandon Ortman (Pierz) --- Major Decision: 15-4 113 Byron Byer (Frazee) def Andrew Tomala (Pierz) --- Fall: 3:37 120 Grant Jepson (Frazee) def Brandon Sullivan (Pierz) --- Decision: 7-3
126 Austin Skillings (Frazee) def Chris Ortman (Pierz) --- Decision: 1-0 132 Hunter Sorenson (Frazee) def Evan Woitalla (Pierz) --- Decision: 4-0
138 Bruce Lemon (Frazee) def Brett Kapsner (Pierz) --- Fall: 1:09 145 Jordon Goebel (Pierz) def Erik Moltzan (Frazee) --- Decision: 2-0
152 Bradly Meyer (Pierz) def Evan Wendt (Frazee) --- Decision: 3-0 170 Tyler Ziegler (Frazee) def Nick Lochner (Pierz) --- Decision: 7-3
182 Kody VanDenEykel (Frazee) def Ted Dehler (Pierz) --- Major Decision: 12-3 195 Brett Gildersleeve (Frazee) def Travis Johnson (Pierz) --- Fall: 7:59 220 Anthony Reurink (Frazee) def Ryley Smude (Pierz) --- Fall: 3:30 285 Garrett Malstrom (Frazee) def Curtis Brisk (Pierz) --- Decision: 4-2
Frazee 40 - Sibley East 16 106 Tanner Reetz (Frazee) def Tanner Pasvogel (Sibley East) --- Decision: 14-9 113 Byron Byer (Frazee) def Mitch Heibel (Sibley East) --- Decision: 6-0 120 Grant Jepson (Frazee) def Nathan Thomas (Sibley East) --- Decision: 4-1 126 Austin Skillings (Frazee) def Jason Meyer (Sibley East) --- Fall: 3:32
132 Hunter Sorenson (Frazee) def Austin Brockhoff (Sibley East) --- Decision: 6-5 138 Bruce Lemon (Frazee) def Steven Roth (Sibley East) --- Fall: 2:50
145 Hunter Retzlaff (Sibley East) def Erik Moltzan (Frazee) --- Decision: 9-3 152 Evan Wendt (Frazee) def Mitchel Wentzlaff (Sibley East) --- Decision: 3-1 170 Aaron Bates (Sibley East) def Tyler Ziegler (Frazee) --- Decision: 10-4 182 Kody VanDenEykel (Frazee) def Brandon Ashton (Sibley East) --- Major Decision: 13-4 195 Brett Gildersleeve (Frazee) def Jeremiah DuFrane (Sibley East) --- Decision: 4-3 (3 OT) 220 Nathan Rose (Sibley East) def Anthony Reurink (Frazee) --- Technical Fall: 19-3 285 Garrett Malstrom (Frazee) def Clay Mogard (Sibley East) --- Fall: 1:44
Frazee 22 - JCC 38 106 Tanner Reetz (Frazee) def Ryker VanderWoude (JCC) --- Decision: 7-1 113 Byron Byer (Frazee) def Kyle Edlin (JCC) --- Decision: 8-5 120 Jordan Biehn (JCC) def Grant Jepson (Frazee) --- Decision: 5-2
126 Cameron Henning (JCC) def Austin Skillings (Frazee) --- Decision: 7-5
132 Eliot Jurries (JCC) def Hunter Sorenson (Frazee) --- Fall: 138 Bruce Lemon (Frazee) def Dylan Riggle (JCC) --- Major Decision: 9-1
145 Paden Moore (JCC) def Erik Moltzan (Frazee) --- Major Decision: 16-6
152 Luke Norland (JCC) def Evan Wendt (Frazee) --- Fall: 170 Darick Vancura (JCC) def Tyler Ziegler (Frazee) --- Fall:
182 Kody VanDenEykel (Frazee) def Nathan Guggisberg (JCC) --- Decision: 9-3 195 Tanner Menke (JCC) def Brett Gildersleeve (Frazee) --- Major Decision: 16-7 220 Anthony Reurink (Frazee) def Jack Ziemer (JCC) --- Decision: 3-0 285 Garrett Malstrom (Frazee) def Nathaniel Horn (JCC) --- Fall:.