NEW ULM - Because of a broken ankle he suffered three weeks ago, New Ulm's Luke Cihak has been absent from the wrestling mat while he continues to heal.
On Saturday, Cihak came back for the Eagles and competed. Not only did he compete, but he claimed the 132-pound weight class championship at the South Central Conference meet at New Ulm High School.
If Cihak had any pain on Saturday, it didn't show. Cihak came out aggressive against Blue Earth Area's Mike Ankeny in the championship match, jumping out to an 8-3 lead after the first period.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Luke Cihak defeats Joe Dominquez of St. James at 132 pounds during the South Central Conference tournament Saturday at New Ulm High School. Cihak took home the championship in the 132-pound class.
This helped him establish the early dominance as he cruised to the 16-8 major decision victory.
He said he didn't feel any pain that affected his performance.
"I got it taped and it's sore from going on it I suppose, but I feel just fine," Cihak said.?
He watched Ankeny earlier in the day and he knew what to expect. With the game plan ready, Cihak took to the mat in the championship and won decisively.
"I knew when I watched him and from wrestling him before that he's pretty tough on top, so I figured I didn't want him to be on top, so instead of giving up a reversal, I just cut him and would give him one [points] and try to take him down again."
The championship at the SCC meet is the first of his career. He just missed out last year, finishing second.
"It's nice to get it at our own school here," Cihak said. "The crowd is with you and it feels good."
He doesn't think the ankle will be a problem with the team section meet this coming week and the individual section meet in two weeks.
"I know there are some tough guys [in the section meet] so I won't be seeded as high as I was here," Cihak said. "These next couple of weeks I just gotta keep working hard and strengthen my ankle as much as possible."
It was the only individual championship on the day for the Eagles, who also claimed two third-place finishes.
Blue Earth Area claimed the team portion of the title with 184 points. St. James was second with 170 points, followed by St. Peter (161), Fairmont/Martin County Area (144.5), New Ulm (102) and Waseca (81).
New Ulm coach John Rieser said that the fifth-place finish was about where he expected his young squad to finish.
"I think we cam in as a team and wrestled well, so I was very pleased with where we finished," Rieser said. "We knew that there were some pretty good teams in the conference and some pretty good individuals and we just told them to keep battling and leave it all out on the mat."
Rieser was also pleased with the way Cihak wrestled on Saturday.
"He's been practicing hard all week and he said 'let's give her a shot' and I thought it would be a better match, but Luke came out and wrestled real well," Rieser said.?"I told him he's got two weeks left so let's see what he can do."
Jagger Hoffmann finished third at 138 pounds when he picked up a 12-3 major decision over St. James' Mark Alvarado.
"Third place in that bracket was real good for Jagger," Rieser said. "It was a tough bracket with some tough kids and I think he worked real well on his feet, and that's how you win matches. He won when he needed to."
Ryan Wacker also took home third place at 106. He picked up a technical fall over F/MCA's Wyatt Gillette, 17-2.
"I was real happy, I wanted him to pin that kid but he's working hard and he's improved a lot from last year," Rieser said. "Where he came from last year to this year is incredible. He's got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps working hard."
New Ulm's Lorenzo Hernandez finished fourth at 195 after he was pinned by St. Peter's Bennett Baker in 3:24. Sam Hoppe finished fourth at 152 after he was pinned by BEA's David Franta in 1:45 and New Ulm's Andy Bregel was pinned in 37 seconds to finish fourth against St. James' Victor Torres at 285.
The Eagles had several fifth-place finishers, including Tanner Stark at 113, Austin Iles at 126, Austin Brandes at 145, Nathan Janke at 160 and Cole Wilfahrt at 182.
The Eagles compete in the team Section 2AA wrestling tournament on Thursday at a site to be determined. The teams are scheduled to be seeded on Monday.
Team standings: BEA 184, St. James 170, St. Peter 161, Fairmont/Martin County Area 144.5, New Ulm 102, Waseca 81.
5th place: Chris Ettesvold (F/MC) pinned Noah Schmidt (Was) 1:04; 3rd place: Ryan Wacker (NU) tech. fall Wyatt Gillette (SP) 17-2; Championship: Angel Zamarripa (SJ) pinned Zach Buseman (BEA) 2:29.
5th place: Tanner Stark (NU) tech. fall Avery Emmans (Was) 16-0; 3rd place: Cody Hanson (SJ) pinned Camden Bowers (BEA) 3:22; Championship: Trevor Schultz (F/MC) dec. Chris Pettis (SP) 2-1.
3rd place: Matt Goodrich (BEA) won by forfeit; Championship: Shaun Timmerman (SP) pinned Matt Goodrich (BEA) 1:59.
5th place: Austin Iles (NU) won by forfeit; 3rd place: Collin Thompson (SP) pinned Jordan Stelter (BEA) 2:58; Championship: Richard Soto (SJ) maj. dec. Elijah Gronewald (F/MC) 14-6.
5th place: Levi Bulfer (F/MC) pinned Jackson Kilian (Was) 3:36; 3rd place: Cody Kurth (SP) dec. Joe Dominguez (SJ) 8-2; Championship: Luke Cihak (NU) maj. dec. Mike Ankeny (BEA) 16-8.
5th place: Harley Luhmann (F/MC) dec. Braydon Hauser (SP) 8-2; 3rd place: Jagger Hoffmann (NU) maj. dec. Mark Alvarado (SJ) 12-3; Championship: Jesse Alleven (BEA) dec. Tristan Hoy (Was) 5-3.
5th place: Austin Brandes (NU) pinned Caesar Galegos (Was) 3:01; 3rd place: Tanner Lange (F/MC) dec. Bailey Kurth (SP) 3-1; Championship: Luke Schavey (BEA) dec. Kody Curry (SJ) 8-3.
5th place: Steven Pettis (SP) won by forfeit; 3rd place: David Franta (BEA): pinned Sam Hoppe (NU) 1:45; Championship: Joe Weber (F/MC) dec. Zack Gleiter (SJ) 8-7.
5th place: Nathan Janke (NU) won by forfeit; 3rd place: Phillip Bowie (F/MC) dec. Josh Stordalen (SJ) 6-3; Championship: Kyle Bosacker (SP) pinned Carter Hanson (BEA) 1:52.
5th place: Nathan Gillis (F/MC) won by forfeit; 3rd place: Gus Phillips (BEA) pinned Colin Hoppe (SJ) 3:40; Championship: Zach Gehloff (Was) dec. Ashton Bartlett (SP) 7-1.
5th place: Cole Wilfahrt (NU) pinned Tyler Allen (F/MC) 5:58; 3rd place: Chris Ramos (BEA) dec. Dylan Winegar (Was) 6-4, OT; Championship: Dylan Connor (SP) pinned Devin Wolle (SJ) 5:53.
5th place: Chris Johnson (SJ) won by forfeit; 3rd place: Bennett Baker (SP) pinned Lorenzo Hernandez 3:24; Championship: Kysten Zierke (BEA) pinned Kory Brown (F/MC) :41.
5th place: Anthony Putz (SP) pinned Braxton Greenwaldt (NU) 1:30; 3rd place: Adrian Torres (SJ) dec. Micah Twedt (BEA) 6-5; Championship: Jacob Claybaugh (Was) pinned Luis Figueroa (F/MC) :35.
5th place: Travis Brock (SP) pinned Sam Sierra (Was) :34; 3rd place: Victor Torres (SJ) pinned Andy Bregel (NU) :37; Championship: Colton Hines (F/MC) dec. Martin Granados (BEA) 10-5.