The Stillwater Area High School wrestling team saw two extremes in a busy few days, but fortunately, two Suburban East Conference dual victories came out of it for the Ponies.
Stillwater ran into a scrappy Roseville team last Thursday that took the Ponies right down to the wire. Kevin McCloskey's pin in the last match of the dual iced the 39-32 win for Stillwater, who held just a one-point lead going in.
On the other end of the spectrum, at Woodbury Tuesday, the whole thing was wrapped up almost before it began.
The Royals were missing a few wrestlers due to illness or injury, so they didn't show their true form. But either way, the lop-sided 64-8 win was a lot easier to handle for Stillwater coach Rich Keller.
"It was a good tune up for our big meet this weekend (in Rochester)," Keller said.
Against Roseville, Keller pointed to the pins as the key to their narrow win. Stillwater recorded six pins while allowing just one for the Raiders.
"We didn't wrestle our best match. Roseville really matches up with us well," he said. "We traded matches, but our best wrestlers didn't wrestle their best head-to-head. I'm satisfied with the win, and it was nice that we didn't have to play any games."
The games Keller refers to are what Roseville coaches did by holding certain wrestlers back from the Ponies top dogs. The strategy actually came very close to working for the Raiders.
Stillwater was led by the six wrestlers who recorded pins, which were Ryan Schumacher at the 119 weight class in 44 seconds, Mark Lehman (130, 3:44), Chris Anderson (140, 3:06), Matt Eller (145, 4:55), Kevin McCloskey (171, 3:59) and Aaron Stewart (275, 1:35). Marcus Elmer, who won by a score of 8-1, was the only Ponies wrestler to win without pinning his opponent.
You had to search long and hard to find any similarities between the narrow win over Roseville and the blowout over Woodbury. Other than notching six pins again, not much else was the same.
After jumping out to such a strong start, Keller was able to hold Anderson and McCloskey out of the dual, because wrestlers are limited to 36 matches per season, and he wanted so save them for when they're needed.
Eller started off the night with a big 17-2 technical fall at 145 pounds, and the rest of the Ponies followed suit. Ryan Gamboni recorded a pin at 152, with Shayne Nelson (189), Elmer (215), Stewart (275) and Chris Hagel (140) all matching the feat.
Woodbury's only wins came at 112 and 130.