When Wahpeton’s Josh Krump, the No. 1 wrestler in Class A North Dakota, is the fourth seed, that’s a clear sign of a loaded bracket.
Krump and Daniel Erlandson from Breckenridge were both in the 220-pound division in the annual Dan Unruh Invitational in Wahpeton. Erlandson pinned his way to the title round where he lost to Luke Tweeton from Frazee, Minnesota, in a 7-4 decision. Tweeton bested Erlandson at the state tournament last year.
“(Tweeton’s) a kid (Erlandson’s) been going up against since eighth or ninth grade. I was really impressed with that match and the way Daniel went up against him,” Breckenridge coach Tom Haire said. “Luke’s coming back for his senior season and was No. 2 in the state last year. Daniel gave him all he could handle, but just came up a little bit short.”
Tweeton toppled Krump by a 17-6 major decision in the semifinal round and the hometown grappler capped off his tournament with a pin over Lisbon, North Dakota, wrestler Sam Rieger. Krump has come a long way from not even placing in the tournament last season.
“(Krump) had one of the tougher brackets at the tournament. Those four right there were very tough and a couple other kids were in the mix of being the top kids in their state,” Wahpeton coach Ryan Brandt said. “We knew to place in the top four was tough and he knew that going in there. I think he learned a lot from when he wrestled Tweeton that he needs to go back to the wrestling room and work a little harder. When he went out and got that pin against Rieger I know he was as excited as me and Coach (Hunter) McCall were. I was super stoked for him.”
Erlandson had a wild match with Rieger as well. He was trailing in the final period and punched his ticket to the title bout by getting him in a headlock and pinning him.
Along with Krump, four other Huskies placed at the competitive meet. Garrett Lathrop finished fifth at 170, Hunter Owens took sixth at 126, Tanner Thiel came in sixth at 170 and Jackson Burchill rounded out the placers with a sixth-place showing at 182.
“I thought our kids wrestled tough. I know a lot of them were pretty disappointed with how they finished and how they didn’t achieve what they thought they could do,” Brandt said. “We just have to go back to the practice room and work on it. It’s just the first tournament of the year and we have many more to come. The main one that counts is the one at the end of the year.”
It was the first matches back in the lineup for Lathrop, who is a senior on the team this season.
“(Lathrop) looked really sharp out there. His conditioning is what he looked at that he needs to work on,” Brandt said. “Practice room matches aren’t going to simulate actually being out there. He’ll get that as the season progresses more and I think that’ll prove drastically once he gets some more matches under his belt.”
Besides Erlandson, Breck only had four other wrestlers competing in their first matches of the season. Aidan Ruddy was the only other placer with a fourth-place finish in the 145-pound division. The sophomore ran into a section foe from Ottertail Central, Minnesota, in the third-place match where he lost 8-2.
“Going into Friday, we didn’t know if (Ruddy) was going to wrestle. He was sick on Monday, had a hip injury on Wednesday and Thursday and couldn’t get in some full practices. We said we’ll warm you up and if it’s hurting, we’ll hold you out, but it was feeling good,” Haire said. “He had a tough match against the eventual champion and then won his consolation round to get to the third-place match. He’s firing on all cylinders at this time of the year. Aidan’s got a motor that doesn’t stop.”
Wahpeton moves on to a home triangular against Lisbon and Valley City, North Dakota, which is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.
“Lisbon’s a very good Class B team and Valley City right now is undefeated in Class A and EDC wrestling,” Brandt said. “They’re going to be very tough opponents for us and if we come out and wrestle like we did against Red River and Devils Lake, I think we have a good chance of keeping it close or possibly beating them.”
Breckenridge heads to Ortonville, Minnesota, for a 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 quadrangular.
“We go into these the dual-meet season with some open weights, but in the places we match up, same thing: Go out there and give it your all. Whatever happens happens,” Haire said.