One of the exciting match ups against Barnesville and Border West Friday Feb. 19 included Pelican’s Johnny Ziebell, left, against Brady Kroll Barnesville. Ziebell won in overtime, and earned “Wrestler of the Meet” honors.
Tommy Thach 132# in his win against against Hunter Blilie, Barnesville.
Sebastian Centeno 138# against his Barnesville opponent.

In a rare Friday night meet, the Pelican Rapids Vikings wrestlers traveled to Wheaton to take on the Border West Buccaneers and the Barnesville Trojans.  

This was a good trip for the matmen as they defeated these two Section 6A opponents to raise their record to 6-13. 

The coaches felt this would be a very close match. They were right as each team won seven matches. 

“Bonus points are what won the match for us,” stated Coach Harold Holt. “This is when a team earns more than three points for a win by getting a major decision, technical fall or a pin. We won seven matches, six of them by fall.” 

Despite being down 24-0 after five matches the Viking wrestlers knew that the strength of their lineup was coming up. They won seven of the remaining nine matches by pin. The two that they lost were important because they did not give up any bonus points. 

Going into the last match of the dual Pelican was behind 33-36. Sophomore Abraham Gonzales only had to win for the Vikings to win. Using the tie breaking criteria Pelican would have won on the fifth point which was having won the least matches by forfeit, they had not won any while Border West had won two.  

Instead he took control of the match, he was ahead 7-2 after the first period.  At the start of the second period he let him up so he could take him down to his back earning a pin in 2:29.

Abraham earned wrestler of the meet for this exciting match that brought nearly everyone off the chair cheering. 

 The second match of the evening saw the Vikings defeat the Trojans of Barnesville 59-13. There were only seven matches wrestled because of forfeits on both teams.  

The coaches inserted Ivan Franco at 160 moving Kaden Holt up to 170, and Noah Kapenga up to 182. This allowed Johnny Ziebell to wrestle Brady Kroll of Barnesville who was 16-2 at that time. 

The coaches and Johnny felt it was important for him to have a tough match to help with section seeding.  

It proved to be a tight match as it was 0-0 after one period. Knoll got an escape in the second period to take a 1-0 led. During the third period Johnny got an escape to take a 2-1 advantage only to give up an escape at the end of the third period. 

This sent the match into a one minute Sudden Victory period. The winner would be the first wrestler to score points. 

“Johnny accepted the challenge by taking Kroll down to his back to earn a takedown and a two point nearfall,” said Holt.

The coaches felt that this was the best night of wrestling for the Vikings this season. “They really wrestled hard and wanted these two wins.” 

There are only two weeks of the regular season before Section team starts on March 11. 

While the Section individuals are scheduled for March 16 at an unknown location. 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RACHEL ZIEBELL