Wrestling: Tigers strong in season debutWrestling at the Ellsworth Invite for the first time, Lake City finished in second place on Saturday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
ELLSWORTH – Though the Ellsworth Invitational has gone on for 49 years, Saturday was the first time the Lake City wrestling team took part in the 10-team tournament.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect, other than Ellsworth has a lot of tradition,” said Tigers head coach Lonnie West. “The format was different than what we expected.
“But,” West added, “it turned out to be a pretty good day.”
With Carston Dammann, Shane Siewert and Will Balow winning titles in their respective weight classes, Lake City made an impactful debut in Ellsworth with a second-place finish.
“I liked the fact that the kids got four or five matches, and each one was a six-minute match,” West said. “Hopefully, we can take this and it’ll lead to better things.”
For both Dammann and Siewert, a wrestling room mantra was prevalent in their minds during their championship matches.
“We have a saying in our room that says, ’Score first, score last,’” Siewert said. “Coach is always stressing that.”
West added, “We got it written on the wall, and we say it every day. The kid who scores first typically wins, I’d say, about 80 to 90 percent of the time. It’s not a guarantee, but you’re in the driver’s seat if you do.”
In a tight first period with Medford’s Tucker Peterson, Dammann scored a late takedown, holding a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. That momentum swing helped carry the 120-pound senior to a decisive 11-3 victory.
“That’s a big mental boost in wrestling,” Dammann said of the first-period takedown. “Those first couple points can decide the match a lot of times.”
In the 152-pound finals, a pair of early takedowns set the pace for Siewert, who battled his way to a win in a 10-3 decision against Ellsworth’s Max Peterson.
Then at 182 pounds, Balow, who rolled into the finals with a pair of pinfalls, put on a clinic against Ellsworth’s Hank Holdorf.
Ranked sixth at 195 pounds in Class 1A, Balow secured the 182-pound title with a 16-3 major decision.
“It’ll take a pretty good kid to beat Will,” West said. “He’s a pretty tough kid. He’s probably pound-for-pound our best wrestler. He’s one of the hardest working kids we have in the room. He earns it, he works for it.”
The Tigers stay at home for their next meet, a triangular against Stewartville and Triton on Thursday.