Wrestlers compete short-handed, take fourth of 13

Ranger wrestling earned a fourth-place finish out of 13 teams at the Burnsville Invitational over the weekend, where they had just eight wrestlers in 14 weight classes.

The absence of spots were due to the illness of seniors Cameron Niemczyk (142) and Austin Boniface (160), who placed first at Burnsville last year. Ninth-grader Nick Norem (145) and eighth-graders Teddy Pierce (106) and Grant Brown (113) competed with the ninth-grade team on Saturday.

Two Rangers captured first, with senior Andrew Meyers going 5-0 on the day in the 132-pound weight class and heavyweight senior Aaron Calhoun going 4-0 for the title.

“Aaron was probably the most impressive of the guys this weekend,” head coach Billy Pierce said. “That was his first tournament win, and he was fundamentally sound, smart and wrestled hard. It was great to see his hard work pay off.”

Pierce said it was also encouraging to see Meyers improve his record to 10-1 while wrestling well.

“He was pretty dominant out there and wrestled really well,” Pierce said. “It was a good showing for one of our senior captains.”

Taking second was sophomore Luke McCord in the 120-pound weight class and sophomore James Pleski in the 126-pound weight class. McCord improved his record to 10-7 while Pleski now stands at 12-3.

Senior Jeremy McLaughlin took fourth with a record of 2-1 at 220 pounds, while junior Kyle Winberg returned to the mat after a football knee injury to take fifth place and record his first win of the season. Senior Austin Rizzo also returned to wrestling after injury to take fourth at 145 pounds.

Eastview won the tournament with 214 points, with Amery (Wis.) coming in second at 163 and Burnsville in third with 143.5 points. Pierce said he thinks the outcome may have been different with a full lineup, something the Rangers have yet to accomplish this season.

“With just eight guys, we knew we weren’t going to fill all of those weight classes,” Pierce said. “We may have placed second or contended for the championship, but when you get sick or hurt, that happens, and you can’t help that.”

Forest Lake competes next at home against Woodbury at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17.