By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
MAPLETON — The Sibley East wrestling team is starting to get healthy, and the other teams in Section 4A better take notice.
The Wolverines were nearly at full strength Thursday when they traveled to Maple River for a nonconference dual against the Eagles. Sibley East led 30-24 after the 182-pound match and then received three straight forfeits to win 48-24.
“We’ve been going through the injuries and sickness like everybody else,” Sibley East coach Chad Johnson said. “We’re starting to get better, but now it looks like it’s Maple River’s turn. They were a little banged up tonight.”
The dual started with an excellent bout at 106 pounds where Maple River sophomore Derek Moore took on eighth-grader Tanner Pasvogel. Pasvogel won the first period and Moore took the second before Pasvogel ended up with a 10-8 decision.
“That was a good one,” Maple River coach Jeff Soma said. “(Pasvogel) is a good kid for them, and Derek has been wrestling well for us lately.”
Maple River came away with four pins and a technical fall. Zach Kuhns (120 pounds), Russell Caldwell (126), Aaron Trio (145) and Mitch Stoltzman (160) had the pins while Tyler Olson (182) delivered the tech fall.
Kuhns, a senior, is ranked fifth in Class A. The three-time state qualifier said he's ready for a solid postseason run.
“The coach always says you have to leave everything you have out on the mat, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “It’s my senior year so I have nothing to hold back for.
“I’m a better wrestler now than I was last year. I’ve been working on wrestling better from my feet.”
Sibley East finished the meet with pins from Hunter Retzlaff (138) and Aaron Bates (170). Retzlaff is rated fifth and Bates is third.
“We've been struggling to put our full lineup together,” Bates said. “We’re supposed to get one of our starters back next week so that should help us.
“I’ve been wrestling pretty well but you can always do better. I beat the No. 1-ranked wrestler (Andy Fogarty from Scott West) last week. That was a nice win.”
Johnson believes the Wolverines can put out a pretty salty lineup once they are full strength.
“When you get to the postseason, all you really want is a shot,” Johnson said. “"I think with the lineup we expect to have, we should have a shot (at the Section 4A title).”
Sibley East (10-7) wrestles at the Eden Prairie Invitational on Saturday. Maple River (6-3) takes on Martin County West/Fairmont and Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial at Sherburn on Tuesday.