Alex martel, david erlandson score key wins
• By Zach Haire
The Breckenridge Cowboys Wrestling Team prevailed in two barn-burner duels against Wadena-Deer Creek and Ortonville this past week. The team first traveled to Glyndon on Tuesday, January 19, for duals against WDC and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and were home on Thursday to face off against Ortonville and Ottertail Central. Even with the short turnaround and lingering injuries, the team wrestled very well with a multitude of wrestlers picking up wins.
To open up the evening, Breckenridge defeated section rival WDC by a score of 39-30. Making the difference for the Cowboys was seventh grader David Erlandson who controlled the bout against his senior opponent at 138 lbs. en route to a 6-0 decision.
“We asked seventh graders, Henry Slettedahl and David to step into the varsity lineup to help the team. They did just that," Haire said. "Henry went out against WDC’s best wrestler to hold him to that spot, so that we could get the best match-up for David. Henry had no fear and David came up clutch.”
Also picking up key bonus points in the dual were Aidan Ruddy and Grant Davis who won by pin. The dual was sealed with Wyatt Differding and Daniel Erlandson winning by forfeit at 220 and 285 lbs. In the second dual of the night, the Cowboys fell to a very tough DGF team 69-12. Bright spots for the team included hard fought pins by Matt Noll at 106 and Aidan Ruddy at 152. In the Junior Varsity matches, David Erlandson and Henry Slettedahl showed heart as they both were able to come out on top of close matches by the scores of 7-5 and 9-5. They also each picked up a pin to close out the night.
Thursday – January 21 – Ortonville/OTC
In the first dual of the season in front of the home crowd, the Breckenridge Cowboys knew they had to put on their best performances to defeat the Ortonville Trojans. Kicking off the dual at 106 lbs., Matt Noll did his part by winning a 4-1 decision to improve his record to 5-0. Keeping the momentum going at 132 pounds, sophomore Alex Martel came up with a huge win in a back-and-forth battle with a tough opponent. Martel drove a half nelson early in the 3rd period to secure the pin.
“I’m so happy for Alex. This is only his second year of wrestling, so he’s taken his beatings. To continue to bounce back after tough losses and perform like he did tonight against a good wrestler says a lot about him. His match tonight was the difference maker," Haire said.
Doing what was needed for the team, seventh graders Henry Slettedahl and David Erlandson stepped up and fought hard at 138 and 145 pounds in their first home varsity matches. Wrestling up at 170 pounds, freshman Grant Davis made quick work of his rival with a first period fall which cut the team deficit to 28-27. A forfeit at 182 lbs. gave the visiting team a 34-27 lead with just two matches left in the dual. Wyatt Differding stepped up at 220 lbs. with a huge pin to cut the Trojan lead to just one. Senior Daniel Erlandson secured the 39-34 team win for the Cowboys with a pin of his own at 285 lbs.
“Wyatt and Daniel are team captains (along with Aidan Ruddy). Day in and day out they lead this team. It was great to see them finish off the dual the way they did," Haire said.
Although the grapplers dropped their second dual of the night to a strong OTC team 58-22, they came away victorious in five-of-six wrestled matches, including a pin by Riley Kappes in an exhibition match to start things out. Matt Noll and Alex Martel wasted no time picking up their second wins of the night with first period falls.
“Riley, Matt, and Alex push each other in the wrestling room. Their work ethic and attitudes are second to none. It showed on the mat tonight," Haire said.
Following suit were returning state participants Aidan Ruddy and Daniel Erlandson, who also dominated their opponents as they both improved their records to 5-1. The Cowboys will travel to Barnesville on Thursday, January 28th to take on the host team and United Clay Becker.