NEW ULM - There was no shortage of excitement when the New Ulm and River Valley wrestling teams met in the Battle of Brown County on Monday evening.
After each team notched dramatic victories throughout the lineup, the score was left tied at 36-36 when the final match was over.
It took a little while after the action had ended to determine the appropriate tiebreaker, but in the end the victory was given to the Wildcats.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Sam Hoppe defeated River Valley’s Alex Rodriguez at 138 pounds Monday at NUHS.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The tie invoked rule 9.2.2, which states that "All ties in dual team scoring will be broken using the team tie-breaking system," in which a list of 12 criteria are examined in order until the tie is broken. The tie was only broken when Criterion H was reached, which compares the cumulative total points earned in the first periods of each match by each team, which was won by River Valley by the count of 16-2.
"It's a lot of fun to come over here and wrestle," RV head coach Todd Bertram said. "We're two of the last wrestling programs in Brown County, we call it the Battle of Brown County, so I think it's fitting that it went to the eighth criteria to break a tie like that."
The Wildcats pulled out to an early 9-0 lead after Conner Bertram earned a fall at 106 pounds and Sam Baier outlasted Connor Rouse for a 12-7 decision at 113, but the Eagles then seized the lead with a forfeit by RV at 120 and a pin by Luke Cihak at 126.
"I told [Cihak] we needed six points out of him, and he got right out and took the kid down and pretty much put him to his back and pinned him for us," New Ulm head coach John Rieser said.
Wildcats senior Caleb Hammerschmidt earned a hard-fought 4-2 decision at 132 against Austin Brandes to tie the score at 12-12, but Sam Hoppe responded for the Eagles with a decision over Alex Rodriguez at 138. Hoppe entered the third period with an 8-7 lead, but manufactured a near fall with 30 seconds remaining and a takedown as time expired as he won the final period by a 7-1 score.
RV senior Jacob Anderson - ranked No. 4 in the state at 138 pounds - followed with a pin of Riley Shelgren in 3:19 at 145 to again give the Wildcats the lead.
"I guess I kind of needed a little bit of a workout," Anderson said. "I gave him a chance and I gave myself a chance to get better, but overall I think both of us did a nice job."
New Ulm benefitted from three straight forfeits to build a 33-18 advantage, but River Valley cut the Eagles' lead to 33-30 following pins by Tim Krueger and Jordan Meine at 182 and 195, respectively, to set up a dramatic finish.
New Ulm sophomore Braxton Greenwaldt and RV freshman Issai Ramirez wrestled to a near stalemate at 220, with the match tied 1-1 with mere seconds to go, but Greenwaldt pulled off some late heroics to earn a 3-1 decision and give the Eagles a 36-30 advantage.
"I was just happy to get my very first win on varsity this season," Greenwaldt said.
Needing desperately to earn a point as the third period neared its end, Greenwaldt got a hold of Ramirez's leg and manufactured a takedown as time expired.
"I do that a lot during my practice, and I just did it out of habit," Greenwaldt said.
Lance Briard (ranked No. 6 in the state at heavyweight) came through in the clutch for the Wildcats at 285, pinning Andrew Bregel to set up the tiebreaker scenario.
Despite the narrow loss, Rieser was pleased with the effort he saw from his wrestlers.
"I'm real proud of the boys," Rieser said. "Last Friday I think we were a little flat, tonight we came out pumped up, energized and ready to go. I think they did leave it out on the mat and wrestled real hard."
The Eagles will next compete at the South Central Conference tournament in Fairmont on Saturday.
"I'm pretty excited about it," Rieser said. "That's an individual tournament, so the boys can go down there and wrestle as individuals and see how they do. I think we'll have a good week of practice and be ready for competition on Saturday."
The Wildcats will host the Valley Conference tournament on Friday and will then prepare for the Section 4A tournament, which begins Feb. 16.
"We're a young team, but we've seen our kids get better as the year's gone on," Bertram said. "We have a few kids that are going to do really well both in conference and in the section meet. The rest of our kids, we just want them to be able to wrestle and compete, so I think we're on track to be able to do that, both at conference on Friday and section on (Feb. 16)."
River Valley 36, New Ulm 36
106 - Conner Bertram (RV) pinned Ryan Wacker 1:52; 113 - Sam Baier (RV) dec. Connor Rouse 12-7; 120 - Darius Bunce (NU) forfeit; 126 - Luke Cihak (NU) pinned Gerritt Meidl 1:26; 132 - Caleb Hammerschmidt (RV) dec. Austin Brandes 4-2; 138 - Sam Hoppe (NU) dec. Alex Rodriguez 15-8; 145 - Jacob Anderson (RV) pinned Riley Shelgren 3:19; 152 - Cody Stark (NU) forfeit; 160 - Berkay Guenes (NU) forfeit; 170 - Luke Schmit (NU) forfeit; 182 - Tim Krueger (RV) pinned Cole Wilfahrt 2:58; 195 - Jordan Meine (RV) pinned Lorenzo Hernandez 1:31; 220 - Braxton Greenwaldt (NU) dec. Issai Ramirez 3-1; 285 - Lance Briard (RV) pinned Andrew Bregel 3:40.