Merrill grapplers drop the hammer on first foes

Despite handing over a sure win at 112 pounds, the Bluejay wrestlers jumped out to another great season start.
They celebrated a return to the Valley with Thursday’s 41-21 road win at Stevens Point, then tied their team record of 310.5 points while winning Saturday’s Black Hawk Invite by a full 50 points over Sauk Prairie.
“It was cool that the kids tied the record with 13 kids,” MHS coach Scott Arneson said. “They are coming together as a team. It’s the nature of the sport that you spend a lot of weekends together. We all pull up to the table together even though some may eat bigger portions.
“We did a really nice job on top getting turns. Sauk Prairie also put nine guys in the finals, but the difference was we had more guys win and more tech falls and pins. We wrestled really well-all basic and solid. I heard some kids talking and they were planning on winning, not hoping they would win. It was nice to hear that language around these kids.”
The Jays did notch a team record 7 titles-from Wyatt Booth (103), Marcus Reinhardt (125), Matt Reinhardt (130), Ray Paul (145), Kyle Swan (160), Noah Lassa (189) and Grant Collins (285). Justin Bloch (152) and Dylan Burkam (171) were 2nd. Garrett Schmelling (119) and Jack Osness (135) ranked 3rd, Mitch Grabko ranked 4th after an injury default, and Michael Ball (140) was 5th.
Lassa and Ball each pulled 3 pins, with the slowest in 1:33 and 1:24, respectively. Paul had a pin and 2 tech falls. Booth, Matt Reinhardt, Swan, Burkham, Collins and Osness all had a pair of pins. Lassa and Booth pinned everyone they faced.
Sauk Prairie totaled 260 points, while Pioneer Westfield edged Mount Horeb 165-156 for third.
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The Bluejay gave a taste of their extra-pointing ways in Thursday’s match with four falls and two majors while taking nine of 14 matches despite the forfeit at 112.
“There were some great matches,” Arneson said. “Point had wrestled Tuesday (a 46-23 win over Mosinee, one of the GNC favorites) so I was a little worried. They had been through the whole thing of making weight, preparing for their match and got their first match out of the way. Our younger kids were nervous.
“Talking to some fans after the match, they thought they were going to beat us.”
Osness (3:15), Paul (1:00), Lassa (3:36) and Booth (:26) pulled pins, and Swan (17-4) and Marcus Reinhardt (8-0) recorded major decisions. Ball (2-1), Schmelling (5-1) and Matt Reinhardt (6-2) also won.
Burkam (13-6), Grabko (7-3) and Collins (9-3) lost decisions, and Bloch (1:28) was pinned.

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