The way things were going for B.J. Wasserzieher it was going to be a boring week.
The junior for the Aitkin Gobblers wrestling team could only watch his team defeat Staples-Motley 48-18 and Crosby-Ironton 71-8 Jan. 18. Wasserzieher didn't wrestle in either meet because neither team had a 140-pounder to go against him.
"You try to not get too worked up about it," said Wasserzieher. "You find out at weigh-ins or the morning before. You just try to help your team and cheer them on."
On Jan. 20, Wasserzieher was able to wrestle but his match against Kyle Prickett of Mille Lacs ended in 39 seconds with a Wasserzieher pin.
"We needed the points," said Wasserzieher. "We needed to get the momentum back because we lost the first match. We needed to get more points. They got four so we needed six."
Things changed for Wasserzieher at the Skip Nalan Tournament at Grand Rapids Jan. 22.
Wasserzieher, who entered the tournament with a 22-3 record, was tested.
Wasserzieher won the 140-pound championship by beating Jeremy Thurman of Nashwauk-Keewatin with a 6-3 decision.
"The kid he beat in the finals was a state placewinner," said Aitkin coach Dan Stifter. "It was good to see him have a good match. He was able to pick up a couple of pins."
In his first match he pinned Josh Sorenson of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in 21 seconds. In the semifinals Wasserzieher pinned Nick Sluka of Roseau in 2:52.
It was the second time Wasserzieher won the Skip Nalan.
"I was confident that if I wrestled my style and controlled the match I could beat (Thurman)," Wasserzieher said. "I can get pretty aggressive sometimes."
B. J. Wasserzieher
Weight class: 140 pounds
That aggressiveness has Wasserzieher five victories away from 100. The junior is also stockpiling points for Aitkin.
"We have really started to count on him in dual and individual meets to pick up big points for us," said Stifter. "He does a good job of scoring those points."
Wasserzieher owns a 25-3 season record with 18 pins, four decisions and three forfeits. Wasserzieher has earned 138 points for the 15-4 Gobblers.
He's also aiming for his third Great River Conference title and his first trip to the Class 2A state tournament. Wasserzieher would like to continue Aitkin's winning ways.
"We thought that we would have a good shot of doing well this year since we only lost one senior from last year," said Wasserzieher. "I thought we could perform with all the other schools."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Joe Stoll, Pillager, totaled 26 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds against Verndale and 17 points against Menahga.
Isaac Johnson, Verndale, scored 23 points against Pillager.
John Holder, Aitkin, scored 23 points against Ogilvie and 25 against Chisholm.
Aaron Kampa, Lake Region, scored 20 points against Heartland and 18 against Calumet.
Hockey -- Mikael Lickteig, Little Falls, scored three goals against Alexandria.
Wrestling -- Jon Andres, Pierz, finished 5-0 last week and reached 100 career victories.
Hank Virnig, Kyle Bednar and Kyle Girtz, Pierz, were 5-0 last week.
Jason Brill, Troy Biermaier and Brandon Freudenrich, Little Falls, were 5-0 last week.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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