If wrestling had a first half and a second half, such as basketball and football do, then Thursday night’s dual between Faribault and Mankato West would certainly be considered a tale of two halves.
The Falcons won all but one weight class from 106 pounds through 152. It was in the 152-pound matchup that Faribault’s Bryce Nolen controlled his way to a 13-2 major decision over Mankato West’s Lander McMichael, giving the Falcons a comfortable 36-6 lead.
At that point it certainly seemed as if the Falcons were on their way to an easy win, but the Scarlets didn’t go down without a fight. Instead, they won the final six matches of the night, resulting in a 24-0 scoring spree. But the math wasn’t on their side, as their rally didn’t generate quite enough points for them to fully erase Faribault’s lead, and the Falcons were able to breathe a sigh of relief after hanging on for a 36-30 victory.
Despite building a 30-point lead, the Falcons ended up needing nearly all of their points from the earlier matches, which started when JT Hausen edged Ryan Palmer in an 8-7 decision in the 106-pound matchup to give Faribault an early 3-0 lead.
Tyler Boyd and Isaac Yetzer picked up big pins at 113 and 120, with Boyd pinning the Scarlets’ Brody Koberoski in 1:28 and Yetzer pinning Shaffer Ehmke in 2:26.
That made the score 15-0, and the lead was 21-0 after Gael Ramirez received a forfeit at 126.
The Scarlets got their first points of the night in the 132-pound matchup; the Falcons’ DJ Saunders turned in a valiant effort against Mankato West’s Charlie Pickell, but the two-time state champion managed to pin Saunders in 4:21, cutting Faribault’s lead to 21-6.
At 138 pounds, Faribault’s Riley Stoltz controlled the match for a 21-4 technical fall against David Cruz, while the Falcons’ Alex Hoy picked up six big points in the 145-pound matchup when he pinned Nolan Krzmarzick in just 57 seconds.
Nolen’s win came next, but the points dried up after that. Mankato West’s Josh Allen (160) pinned George Soto in 5:10, and then Wyatt Block (170) came up with the biggest win of the night for the Scarlets in a nail-biting 4-3 decision over Josh Oathoudt. Oathoudt was wrestling a couple classes above his weight, as he’s Class AAA’s No. 6-ranked individual at 152 pounds. Block, meanwhile, is unranked, but his big win gave the Scarlets plenty of momentum heading down the stretch.
Gannon Rosenfeld (182) kept Mankato West’s momentum going with an 8-2 decision over Marcos Ramirez, and Noah Langsjoen (195) followed that up with a 7-3 decision over Dylan Lippert to make the score 36-21.
Had Langsjoen and Rosenfeld won via fall, then the final two matches would have carried even more weight (pun intended), but with the Scarlets still down by 15 it was mathematically impossible for them to win the dual.
They did end the night on a high note, however, with Mason Theissen (220) triumphing over Faribault’s Gabe Shatskikha in an 8-2 decision, followed by Matthew Pipes pinning Josh Lenway in just 52 seconds in the heavyweight matchup.
That made the final score 36-30, with Faribault improving to 16-1 on the season, while Mankato West dropped to 4-6.
Faribault is scheduled to compete Saturday at the Eastview Invite.