Last week found the WCA/A/B-E grapplers in dual action three times and the Park Region Conference tournament. As it should be when nearing the end of the season the level of competition certainly increased and tested the Knights on all levels. Although the results may not be exactly what the team intended when the week began it provided a measuring stick in which to gauge themselves, maybe even a gut check.
On Tuesday the Knights traveled to Frazee to face the #2 ranked Hornets. The dual was tight and both teams were trading punches but the Hornets, as all great teams seem to do, found a way to come out on top by a margin of 10 points as they put away the Knights by a score of 37-27.
Thursday WCA/A/B-E headed south to Belgrade to face off with a scrappy Royalton-Upsala unit and perhaps an underrated #9 ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguar team. The first dual of the night was against R/U in which the Knights dispatched with relative ease by way of a 46-20 win. During the match up with the hometown Jaguars the Knights found themselves on the ropes early. WCA/A/B-E did provide a flurry of points at the end to close up a gaudy gap but it was a little to little a little too late. BBE upset the Knights by a score of 36-31.
Saturday found the team traveling south again, this time to Royalton for the Park Region Conference tournament. Nine teams now make up the conference and talent was on display. Three of the teams are currently ranked in the top ten and three others have been in the top 20 at some point this season. That translates to tough wrestling. Speaking with several of the wrestlers the idea was to walk away with another conference crown but when it all shook out runner-up was the position earned. That being said the Knights did wrestle a very solid tournament as they placed all 14 wrestlers on the podium with a pair of champions, three runner-ups, three third placers, a fourth place, a fifth, and four sixth place finishes.
The week was grinding no doubt but that is what this sport is all about...testing yourself! The staff and young men they lead will no doubt use the week as a tool. A motivational tool perhaps, or a wake up call. Improvements will be made and the team will have one more tune up before the post season when they travel to Morris on Saturday for the Tiger Invite which starts at 10 am.
Coach Brandon Gruchow commented about the week as such, “What a week! Many miles were put on and a lot of great wrestling took place. It has been a mix of ups and downs. It would have sure been nice coming out with three dual wins and a conference championship. Instead we got one win and a runner-up. BBE matched up with us extremely well and I would say we did not wrestle to our full potential.” Gruchow continued with, “We obviously wanted to win in everything we competed in but that doesn't always happen because you want it to. In the next week we get to mentally refocus, tune up some technique, push the conditioning, and get ready for the post season. I am still waiting for our team to have that match where everyone wrestles to their full potential, win or lose.”