ST. PAUL -- In their first four trips to the Class 1A state wrestling tournament the Pierz Pioneers had never won a dual meet.
This season, an added albatross for the Pioneers was the fact they are ranked No. 1 in 1A for the first time.
The Pioneers removed both elements from their minds Thursday by dismantling fifth-ranked Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Mankato Loyola 49-18 in the quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
"Not ever having won our first one down here, and to do it in the fashion that we did, it certainly puts me at ease," Pioneers coach Mark Jensen said.
Pierz wrestled second-ranked Frazee, which shaded Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander 33-32, in the semifinals Friday afternoon. Eighth-ranked New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and No. 3 Wabasso met in Friday's other semifinal.
"I think the kids are focused," Jensen said of the rematch with Frazee. "We've got two great teams in front of us to get yet, and if it goes our way, that's great. If it doesn't, the kids are going to give it their best shot."
Pierz gave Frazee its best shot in the regular season. That meet was tied 19-19, then the Pioneers pinned the final three Hornets for a 37-19 victory.
"They've got some other kids in their lineup and things are going to be a little different for them," Jensen said of Frazee. "We'll just see how we match up and how we can go."
Eight straight victories Thursday, including pins by Warren Gall, Craig Luberts, Kyle Girtz, Nathan Britz and Jesse Zajac, catapulted the Pioneers into an insurmountable 49-3 lead with three matches remaining.
"Where they were tough we wrestled them tough and beat them down low, and that's what we had to do," Jensen said.
Pierz 49, LC-WM/ML 18
103 -- Hank Virnig (P) dec. Grant Goettl 7-2
112 -- Kyle Bednar (P) tech. fall Joey Wagner 4:04
119 -- Nate Willaert (LCWM) dec. Scott Janson 5-3
125 -- Jon Andres (P) maj. dec. Codey Schultz 15-6
130 -- Joe Hyatt (P) maj. dec. Jeremy Hutchens 13-5
135 -- Warren Gall (P) pinned Steve Reed 5:46
140 -- Craig Luberts (P) pinned Lance Goettl 3:58
145 -- Tony Andres (P) dec. Dylan Tate 8-4
152 -- Kyle Girtz (P) pinned Luke Fitcher 1:22
160 -- Nathan Britz (P) pinned Dusty Hughes 2:31
171 -- Jesse Zajac (P) pinned Reed Hudson 1:17
189 -- Cory Harnitz (LCWM) pinned Cody Luberts 3:43
215 -- Matt Schroepfer (LCWM) dec. Matt Mrnak 6-4
275 -- Mike Marzinske (LCWM) pinned Tyler Stumpf 1:50
Overall -- P 31-2. Next meet -- Pierz vs. Frazee, 1A semifinals, 1:30 p.m. Friday, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.