Osakis wrestling coach Joey Andreasen knows many people look at the final score from a match like the Silverstreaks had on Tuesday night and see a team that’s struggling, but he sees further beyond the final score.
“People always ask me how the season is going,” Andreasen said. “We haven’t won a lot of matches yet, but if you come into our practice room, all you hear is breathing because they are working hard. They’re giving extreme effort, and it’s really fun to watch.”
Andreasen likes that work ethic of a young and inexperienced group this season, which is why he remains positive even after a 57-9 loss to New York Mills.
Osakis (1-5) pushed the Eagles at some weight classes, but NYM is 6-2 now for a reason. The Eagles used a stretch of three straight falls from 145 through 162 around three other forfeit wins to extend their lead and never look back.
“The effort was awesome,” Andreasen said. “We have some really young kids who don’t have a lot of experience. (Eighth-grader) Jacob Taplin is just wrestling awesome. I think he has the brightest future. Gavin Cimbura wrestled a tough match against a junior that he just didn’t quite pull out. He’s an eighth-grader, so I was certainly impressed with that.”
Logan Grove got a forfeit win at 113, and Osakis’ lone contested win came from junior Hunter Harlow at 170 pounds. Harlow attacked from the get-go and racked up big points in a 16-9 win over sophomore Cody Barthel.
“After he got done, I just told him that’s probably the most aggressive I’ve ever seen him be,” Andreasen said. “He just opened up and let himself go. It was fun to see that from him.”
The Silverstreaks had other close contests that didn’t go their way. Cimbura lost a 3-2 decision at 120 pounds. Taplin stuck within 6-4 at 106 pounds, and sophomore Carsten Jacobson lost an 8-4 decision at 138.
Kulzer looks to make good on his last chance
Senior Nathan Kulzer locked up in a tight match with fellow senior Gabe Geiser at 145.
Neither guy could gain an advantage, but Geiser was finally able to use his length to throw Kulzer to the mat in the third period.
These two wrestled to a 1-0 decision in New York Mills a year ago. This time, Geiser got Kulzer on his back to pin him in 4:22.
“I knew that with his height, I had to be physical underneath him and get good shots on him,” Kulzer said. “He had such heavy ties, so he was controlling it. I was trying to make sure to offset his ties and just be quicker than him. I’d get in on a shot, and he defended well. Credit to him. It was a good match besides getting thrown there at the end and it not going my way. We’ll learn from it and continue on with the next match from here.”
Kulzer is the Silverstreaks’ most experienced wrestler in the room. He has over 100 career wins to show for it but has come up just short in his quest to make a state tournament in the past.
“He works extremely hard. He’s extremely tough. He just happens to be in the toughest weight classes in the state,” Andreasen said. “Every weight in the section that he could go, there’s two or three guys ranked ahead of him that are just really talented wrestlers. He’s missed the state tournament twice on overtime matches and last-second calls. We’re just hoping somehow the work ethic he has pays off.”
Andreasen said that in many other eras Kulzer would have two or three state tournaments under his belt by now. The 138-pound weight class where he might fit more naturally has Mason Gode of LPGE-Browerville ranked first, Will Magaard of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg ranked second and Blaine Fischer of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa ranked fourth in Class A.
Kulzer might end up wrestling at 145 at the section meet, but things aren’t easy there either in the 5A field with BBE’s Canon Swanson currently anchoring that weight class as the top-ranked wrestler in the state.
“My main goal and what’s really pushing me is this is all I got. This is it,” Kulzer said. “I set goals last year to make it to state and even place in state. Every year, I come to sections and come up somewhat short, so I made a board in my room that said my goal is to place in sections, make it to state and even place in state if possible.”
Kulzer knows it won’t come easy, but he set out in the offseason to give himself every chance to accomplish that goal.
“It’s just putting in the work in the room and the weight room and then when nobody is looking,” he said. “It’s going in on Saturdays and Sundays and putting in the time and trying to get better.”
Kulzer credited his teammates for doing what they can to push him in practice, but there are no other guys on the roster who can match his experience and ability level at his weight.
Kulzer takes that in stride when it comes to trying to get the best out of himself and his teammates. He’s seen some good things from the young guys in the room, and he’s excited to see how things play out this year for both himself and his teammates.
“I just want guys to learn and have fun,” Kulzer said. “Wrestling is such a grueling sport, and you got to be able to have fun. I keep telling the guys, if you lose a varsity match, don’t get down on yourself. Look at it as, ‘Hey, this is what I need to work on.’
“It takes guts to walk out on the mat by yourself to wrestle. That’s why there’s not a lot of kids who are actually wrestlers.”
NEW YORK MILLS 57, OSAKIS 9
106 - Nicholas Peters (NYM) def. Jacob Taplin, 6-4; 113 - Logan Grove (O) won by forfeit; 120 - Chris Yoder (NYM) def. Gavin Cimbura, 3-2; 126 - Derrik Wegscheid (NYM) won by forfeit; 132 - DAne Niemi (NYM) won by forfeit; 138 - Jacob Guck (NYM) def. Carsten Jacobson, 8-4; 145 - Gabe Geiser (NYM) def. Nathan Kulzer by fall, 4:22; 152 - Logan Small (NYM) def. Kale Drevlow by fall, 3:59; 160 - Bren Salo (NYM) def. Tyson Hagedon by fall, 1:40; 170 - Hunter Harlow (O) def. Cody Barthel, 16-9; 182 - Braxton Saewert (NYM) won by forfeit; 195 - Double forfeit; 220 - Elliot Mann (NYM) def. Brock Faber by fall, 2:29; Braeden Peterson (NYM) def. Lucas Douvier by fall, 0:39