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Goodhue’s Matt Lexvold, right, works the arm of Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Jacob Bennett during the Cougars’ 57-19 victory Thursday night. Lexvold earned a 3-0 decision behind a third-period near fall that gave the Wildcats a 13-12 lead. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)

Wrestling: Z-M dominates Goodhue

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GOODHUE – Parents Night and Senior Night are special moments, especially when combined together.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa made the short trip to Goodhue Thursday evening to watch as the Wildcats and their parents were introduced in front of the crowd. The Goodhue seniors ended the festivities holding balloons as the fans cheered.

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A couple hours later, and those balloons were the only thing with much air left as the Cougars pummeled the Wildcats, 57-19.

“Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. It is pretty much that easy,” said Z-M head coach Link Steffen. “We’ve had a couple tough duals lately against a couple tough teams, and things didn’t go our way. Tonight they did. You just have to prepare so things go your way more often than they don’t.”

Less than two weeks ago, the Cougars lost three consecutive duals in a tournament. Since then, the Cougars have reeled off seven straight wins, punctuated by Thursday’s thrashing of a rival.

“They seemed to be a little bit hungry tonight. They didn’t seem to be satisfied with a decision or a major, they wanted more points and go from a decision to a major to a tech to a fall. They wrestled pretty dang tough from whistle to whistle,” Steffen said.

It was going to take a massive effort, and maybe a minor miracle, for Goodhue to pull out a dual victory. But the early going was uplifting for the Wildcats who took a 13-12 lead after Matt Lexvold secured a 3-0 decision over Jacob Bennett.

But then the dual entered the middle-to-upper weights, and Z-M’s size took over.

Freedom Hunt got a 12-1 major decision over Mason Huemann to give the Cougars the lead for the final time. Cody Heitman followed with a technical fall over Logan Breuer before six of his teammates ripped off a half-dozen pins.

Josh Dahling stopped the Cougars’ 36-point streak with a fall of his own over Shane Bode, but the damage was done.

“There were a couple matches I thought we could have been more competitive in,” said Goodhue head coach Josh Grant. “But at the same time, we didn’t match up with them very well at all. They have some very good upper weights, and they’re able to turn three-point dual-team points into six points pretty fast. And that ran up the score pretty fast. Our kids are out there giving a good effort, but we’re just really undersized … in some of those middle weights we’re giving up 15-20 pounds.”

The Wildcats (7-7 overall, 2-4 HVL) will be back on the mat Saturday when Goodhue heads to Robbinsdale Armstrong for a tournament. The Cougars (18-5, 7-1) are off until a Tuesday home date with Lake City.

With five duals and a tournament left in the season, Z-M, who sits just outside the Class A rankings, is in position to make some noise. Ahead of them in Section 1A are No. 7 Kenyon-Wanamingo and No. 8 Chatfield, two teams the Cougars will see before the regular season ends.

“There’s a short season left. And I tell you what, we’re in a tough section this year. But if you would have put me where we’re at (earlier this year), I’d take it,” Steffen said. “We have tough teams left in the conference. But I’ve told the guys we’ve improved a lot throughout this season, one of the most improved teams from start to finish I’ve ever coached. They’ve put themselves in contention once again. They won’t be the No. 1 team in the section, but they’ll be a team that other teams will have to prepare for.”

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Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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