Wrestling: Tigers take 6th at home tourney
LAKE CITY - With a pair of second-place finishers and a third-place finish at the 30th Annual Lake City Invitational on Saturday, the host Tigers finished in sixth place with a team score of 119.5.
With three weeks to go until Section 1A wrestling gets underway, Lake City head coach Lonnie West hopes Saturday's 10-team tournament serves as a launching pad for his team.
"When you're in the middle of the pack, there are some good things and some things you want to work on, and I'd say (Saturday's tournament) was your typical day," West said. "Between now and three more weeks, they need to figure out what they're good at and where they need to sharpen their skills."
Taking the Lake City Invitational was 9th-ranked (1A) Chatfield, which finished with 227.5 points after eight wrestlers made finals, with five first-place finishes. Rochester Mayo (202.5), Caledonia (160.5), Plainview-Elgin-Millville (140.5) and Wabasha-Kellogg (121) rounded out the top five.
While the Tigers were able to get just two wrestlers onto the medal podium on Saturday, West saw some encouraging signs from some of his more unheralded grapplers.
"Derek Bremer got fourth (at 152 pounds), and he wasn't seeded. He came into the tournament with eight wins," West said. "Logan Thomas, in his first year, he came in unseeded and ended up getting fourth (at 132). Andrew Denzer wasn't seeded at heavyweight, and he ended up getting fourth. If you wrestle above your seed, it's a good day."
Carston Dammann (113 pounds) and Shane Siewert (145) each reached the finals for the Tigers, but saw both their title hopes dashed in the third period.
Facing St. Charles' Jacy Ball in the 113-pound finals, Dammann scored a takedown in the first period, and held onto a slim 2-1 lead after two periods. Dammann opened the third with a two-point reversal before Bell got an escape with a minute remaining. Then with 30 seconds left, Bell tied the match with a takedown to make it 4-4, forcing the match into overtime. In the extra minute, Bell secured the title with a double-leg takedown with five seconds left for the 6-4 decision, leaving Dammann and the Lake City crowd stunned.
"(Carston's) beaten (Ball) twice, maybe three times last year, so that's the first time he's lost to that kid," West said. "They'll match up here again at sections as two of the top seeds."
In the 145-pound championship against Rochester Mayo's Jake Hanson, Siewert rebounded after a 2-0 deficit to tie the match at 2-2 through two periods. But in the third, Hanson escaped from the down position for a 3-2 lead. Siewert tried in vain to get a takedown, but was unable to put up another point in a 3-2 loss via decision.
"He keeps things pretty close to the vest." West said of Siewert. "He wrestled well, but (Hanson) just had good defense and Shane couldn't get too deep for the takedown."
In the third-place match at 126 pounds, Andrew Schmidt ended his day on a high note for Lake City, winning an 8-2 decision against Caledonia's Luke Werner. Schmidt came into the tournament with a 15-11 record.
"Overall, it was a pretty good day," West said.
The Tigers are back on the mat Thursday, hosting Cannon Falls/Randolph for a Hiawatha Valley League dual.