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East Ridge wrestling: Youthful Raptors draw on positives following loses to top conference foes

The young East Ridge wrestling team lost two dual matches in a triangular at Stillwater against Suburban East Conference foes Forest Lake and the host Ponies on Friday night, but head coach Hans Horning saw some things he liked.

The Raptors lost both team dual matches, but Horning, in his fourth year as head coach, said he was able to walk away from the night with a smile.

"No one likes losing," said Horning. "But these are ranked teams, and we are young. We didn't back down and we pulled a couple of upsets. I am happy with how our kids wrestled."

East Ridge lost its first dual to ninth-ranked Forest Lake 42-23, but they were able to win the first three matches.

After a double forfeit at 106, juniors Ryan Thompson (113), Jake Trevis (120) and Reid Lyden (126) were able to best their Forest Lake opponent to give the Eagles an 11-0 lead. Thompson was able to defeat Grant Brown 8-2, Trevis defeated Luke McCord 7-5 and Lyden gave a strong showing with a 17-1 technical fall over Teddy Pierce.

The next victory for East Ridge came at 152 as junior Emilio Heurta pinned Luke Niemcayk in the second period. Junior Jimmy Vitt was able to notch the last win for the Raptors as he pinned Tyler Anderson in the second period.

Vitt and his brother, freshman Conor, are new to the team and to Woodbury as they just moved to the area from Germany, where their father was stationed.

"The Vitt brothers are a nice surprise this year," Horning said. "They have experience and like the sport. Jimmy will really help us out in our upper weights where we just don't have the numbers."

East Ridge lost 60-12 against the highly touted Stillwater squad, but the upset of the night, on East Ridge's side, occurred when Thompson won a 4-3 decision over fifth-ranked Christian Bahl at the 113 pound weight class.

"I am not surprised at what he just did out there," Horning said of Thompson, who is in his second year of wrestling. "Ryan is a very hard worker. He doesn't cut corners, he is never easy on himself."

Perhaps inspired by Thompson's performance, Trevis followed that match with a fire as he pinned Stillwater's Gage Lebourgeois in 1:06.

The next match was another stunning upset, but for the opposite team as seventh-ranked Lyden got caught on his back and was pinned by Dillan Nelson in the second period.

"Reid handled it very well," Horning said. "He has matured a great deal from last year. Losing this early in the season will help him focus on where he wants to be in March."

Heurta was the only other Raptor to record a win against Stillwater as he defeated Mina Yacoup 9-3 at the 152 pound weight class.

Next up for the Raptors is an away match against Roseville at 7 p.m. Friday.