Pierz tops Milaca wrestlers 36-27


Pierz tipped Milaca 36-27 in a battle of state-ranked wrestling teams last Friday night at Milaca. The match was part of a triangular.

The Pioneers, ranked No. 11 in Class A by The Guillotine magazine, won eight of the 14 matches.

“The Pierz-Milaca matches are always close and this was a good win for us,” said Pierz Coach Mark Jensen.

After Milaca eighth-grader Jon Hall started the dual with a pin, Pierz won five of the next six matches to build a 24-9 lead.

In a key match at 120 pounds, Pierz senior Brandon Sullivan won a 4-2 decision over Milaca senior Ray Hoffman. Sullivan is ranked No. 7 in Class A at 120 pounds while Hoffman is ranked No. 8 in Class AA at 120.

Wolves sophomore Dru Kuchenbaker won a 6-4 decision over senior Evan Woitalla at 138 to halt a four-match Pierz winning streak. Woitalla is ranked No. 8 at 138 in Class A.

Junior Jack Barsody won a decision at 152, junior Josh Otten scored a pin at 182 and junior Austin Weidner had a fall at 195 to cut the Pioneers’ lead to 33-24.

Senior Ryley Smude won a hard fought 4-3 overtime decision over Milaca junior Colton Sailor at 220 to clinch the victory. Smude is ranked No. 8 at 220 in Class A.

Milaca senior heavyweight Brandon Merten, ranked No. 4 in Class AA, closed out the scoring with an 11-5 decision over senior Curtis Brisk, who is ranked No. 5 in Class A.

“Pierz has a solid team,” said Milaca Co-Head Coach Mitch Vedders. “We came up with a good effort.”

The Wolves trimmed Cloquet-Esko 64-15 in their other match in the triangular as Hall at 106, Hoffman at 120, ninth-grader Keegan Swing at 132, Otten at 182 and Weidner at 195 scored pins.

On Thursday, Dec. 19, Milaca trimmed Albany 59-18 in a Granite Ridge Conference dual at Albany.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Wolves slipped past Princeton 35-34 and trimmed Mille Lacs Area 52-21 in a triangular at Onamia.

Brandon Merten’s pin in 16 seconds at heavyweight gave the Wolves the victory over Princeton.

Junior Jake Merten lost a 12-4 major decision to Princeton senior Cole Warren at 220 but surrendered just four team points, which allowed Brandon Merten to lift the Wolves to a win with a pin at heavyweight.

Kuchenbaker notched a pin at 138 and junior Hunter Noor scored a technical fall at 126.

Milaca, 9-2 in duals, is idle until Saturday, Jan. 4, when it travels to the Farmington Tournament.