It was a heartbreaker for the Forest Lake wrestling team during last week’s home meet against Stillwater, which the Rangers lost 32-30.
Forest Lake started strong, with seventh-grader Harley Elling earning a major decision victory, 15-0, which included three three-point near falls at 106 pounds.
Forest Lake earned another six points with a Stillwater forfeit at 113 pounds, followed by a fall in 27 seconds by junior Job Walmsley at 120 pounds, giving Forest Lake a 17-0 lead.
The hosts would give up 14 points in the next three weight classes before junior James Pleski won by fall in 42 seconds at 145 pounds to give the Rangers a 23-14 lead.
Senior Thomas Lillquist lost by decision, 6-2, at 152 pounds, while junior Joe Rydel won 5-3 at 160 pounds. Sophomore Nic Norem led by two points heading into the second period of his 170-pound matchup, then earned a quick two-point reversal before his opponent, Collin Olson, escaped and scored two points on a takedown to come within one point, 4-3. Olson started strong in the third period, scoring two near falls for a major decision victory.
It was a similar story for Luke Niemczyk at 182 pounds. The senior grappler led 3-2 as he entered the third period, scored one point by escape, then fell behind with two takedowns and a near fall.
With the Rangers leading by just three points, senior Will Rivard fell by decision at 195 pounds to tie things up at 26.
Senior Kyle Winberg came out fighting right away at 220 pounds, scoring a quick two points on takedown and another three with a near fall less than a minute into the matchup. Winberg earned another near fall and takedown for a 10-2 victory to put Forest Lake back on top, 30-26.
Ninth-grader Jack Davis, usually a 220-pounder, filled in for two injured heavyweights for the Rangers, but was no match for the Ponies’ 285-pounder. Davis lost by fall in 53 seconds.
Forest Lake also traveled to the Pine Island Invite over the weekend, where eight Rangers finished in the top three of their respective weight classes.
Taking first was Pleski (138 pounds) while Niemczyk (170), Rivard (182) and Winberg (195) placed second. Sophomore Jason Delgado (106), Walmsley (113), junior Sam Finch (145) and Davis (220) placed third on the day.
Next, Forest Lake hosts a triangular on Thursday, Feb. 6. Times are yet to be determined.