Woodbury wrestling: Royals show heart in losses to Forest Lake, TartanA solid learning experience. That’s how coach Justin Smith characterized his Royals wrestling team’s performance in their Dec. 16 triangular meet against Tartan and top-10 ranked Forest Lake.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
A solid learning experience. That’s how coach Justin Smith characterized his Royals wrestling team’s performance in their Dec. 16 triangular meet against Tartan and top-10 ranked Forest Lake.
After suffering a 59-15 defeat to Forest Lake in the opening set of the meet, Woodbury came back to the mat and put up a fight in a 38-35 loss to Tartan.
The close loss came, Smith said, because the Royals weren’t able to field a wrestler at 215 pounds. Also affecting the team’s performance was the absence of senior Brandon Borchardt, who was out sick during the week.
“Forest Lake is a very strong program, so they are a nice barometer for us,” Smith said. “They come in and wrestle our guys hard and lets us gauge where we are at and where we need to be. The kids need to see that level of talent every once in awhile.”
Despite the losses, Woodbury was led by solid performances from Connor Harreld at 140, Justin Herold-Plakut at 112 and Quinn Schmalz at heavyweight.
Herold-Plakut, a freshman, kept his undefeated streak this alive by winning both his matches against the Rangers’ James Pleski and Titans’ Peyton Floyd.
“Justin has things he is working on to get better with each match, but we are really pleased with his progression,” Smith said.
Harreld, a junior, went 1-1 in the meet, including a win by pinfall over Forest Lake’s Ryder Paggen. He lost Tartan’s T.J. O’Hara, who Smith said is one of the top-ranked wrestlers at 140.
Schmalz, a sophomore, won by pinfall over Forest Lake’s heavyweight Beau Phinney. He also won by forfeit against Tartan who chose not to field a heavyweight wrestler.
“Quinn’s starting to pick it up a bit,” Smith said. “He looked good on Thursday and we’re looking for him to continue to grow.”
Maple Grove tournament
After Thursday’s triangular, the Royals enjoyed a weekend off, but they are set to go back to work on Wednesday, Dec. 22 for the rescheduled Maple Grove Invitational, which was canceled Dec. 11 after the snow storm.
The eight-team bracket-style individual tourney will be a good test for Woodbury, Smith said.
“Our hope is that all of our kids place, but we know their will be at the very least some good matches,” Smith said.