The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton wrestling team managed to prolong its season for an additional hour or so on Thursday after holding off the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Area Knights, but the Grizzlies ran into a buzz saw in the form of the Blue Earth Buccaneers in their Section 2A quarterfinal matchup, and their season came to an end.
WEM/JWP entered the section tournament as the No. 9 seed, while LC-WM was the No. 8 seed. Before the Grizzlies took to the mat around 6 p.m., they had already known that if they won, they’d be facing the No. 1 seed Blue Earth (ranked No. 6 overall in Class A) in the quarterfinal round starting around 7 p.m.
The Grizzlies held off the Knights by a score of 36-34 after Carson Petry won an 11-7 decision over Griffin Gimenez in the 106-pound matchup, followed by Gavin Krause (113) pinning John Northquest in 3:11 and Lucas Morsching (120) pinning Brecken Northquest in 5:51.
The Knights picked up back-to-back pins at 126 and 132 to cut the deficit to 15-12, but the Grizzlies responded with back-to-back pins of their own, as Tucker Reints (138) pinned Alex Harnitz in 3:50 while Kurtis Crosby pinned Dominic Rosin in 1:49.
WEM/JWP’s Ethan Rider (160) picked up six more big points by pinning Sander Ludeman in 1:24, but the Knights won at 170, 182 and 195 to pull within two points at 33-31.
Brant Melchert (220) then won a 7-2 decision over Chayden Ross to make it 36-31, while Jacob Karsten (285) held Alex Sullivan to a 4-2 decision, allowing the Grizzlies to hang on for the 36-34 win.
That earned them the opportunity to face Blue Earth, but the Bucs wasted no time in advancing to the semifinals by obliterating the Grizzlies 82-0.
Blue Earth won the first six matches via fall and won at 145 after the Grizzlies’ Crosby was knocked out via injury. The Bucs then got another pin at 152, received a forfeit at 160 and won a 19-6 major decision at 170 before closing the match with three pins and another WEM/JWP forfeit, resulting in the 82-0 win and bringing a close to the Grizzlies’ season.