Behind the strength of 19 pins, and one victory by injury default, the Little Falls Flyers scored their highest finish in the Paul Bunyan tournament Saturday at Brainerd High School.
The Flyers placed 10 individuals in the top eight in their weight class.
Foley, the third-ranked team in Class 2A, won the 42nd annual event with a resounding 290.5 points. Little Falls nipped BOLD by a point, 162-161, for the runner-up trophy.
"I think, overall, the teams were a little bit down this year," Flyers coach Mike Hendrickson said. "We're always pretty balanced. We bring a good club each year, we hope to anyway.
"Foley's got a solid, solid team and everybody else is kind of in the mix. Our big thing was we got 19 pins in the tournament, with one injury default. That's 40 points we got, just like that. That was huge. Winning by a point that's where it came from."
Brainerd was fifth and placed 12 wrestlers in the top eight.
"We're pretty happy with that finish," Warriors co-head coach Jim Kath said. "Foley, obviously, has the No. 1 team here by a long shot and Little Falls put together a nice performance, too."
Brainerd co-head coach Mike Boran added: "Although we had two open weights, because of injury, everybody that wrestled placed. Obviously, we were looking for a little bit better places from some of them, but everybody scored points for us. We're looking for a team effort so that was good."
The Pierz Pioneers were sixth and had seven wrestlers in the top eight.
"It kind of ended up like the matches we should win we usually did," Pierz coach Simon Waltman said, "then the matches where we were the underdog we usually didn't pull out upsets. Things turned out about the way they were supposed to."
The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew, last year's third-place finisher, was 11th with five wrestlers in the top eight.
"We had three open weights," Road Crew coach Tom Demars said. "Two of our returning state entrants weren't wrestling, but should be back after Christmas.
"Last year we were very strong before Christmas, then we got hit with injuries and sickness. Hopefully, it will be the other way around this year."
Final team scores: 1-Foley 290.5, 2-Little Falls 162.0, 3-BOLD 161, 4-Frazee 136, 5-Brainerd 128, 6-Pierz 103, 7-Grand Rapids 99.5, 8-Becker 80.5, 9-Burnsville 79, 10-Bemidji 75.5, 11-Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 70.5, 12-Royalton 63, 13-Osakis 61, 14-Staples-Motley 57
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.