The Woodbury and East Ridge dual came down to the final weight class of Thursday night, the heavyweights. The match would include Marco Cavallaro from East Ridge and Mason Barrows for Woodbury.
The Royals were leading 37-31 heading into this final match. Cavallaro knew that a pin would tie the dual, so that's the only thing he focused on.
Cavallaro jumped into an early lead to start the match, but he knew that the Raptors needed a pin and nothing else. He continued to try and push Barrows over on his back and finally did after a few tries.
After holding him on his back for a few moments, the referee blew his whistle to award Cavallaro a pin and six points for East Ridge. The fans and the Raptors bench were cheering loud because they knew how much this dual meant for each team.
Since the two teams were tied at 37-37, the dual had to be decided by tiebreaker criteria. The first tiebreaker is flagrant fouls, which neither team possessed.
The second tiebreaker was match wins, which each team had seven wins to still make it a tie. Woodbury and East Ridge had to go to the third tiebreaker to determine a winner and that tiebreaker was total falls (or pins) and the Raptors defeated Woodbury 5-4.
"I didn't realize that my pin would give us the tiebreaker," Cavallaro said. "I just knew I had to get a pin to tie the dual up, so that's what I was focused on in the match."
This is the second straight year that East Ridge defeated Woodbury in the dual match, but both teams are looking at some of the positives from Thursday night.
This wasn't the only dual on Thursday night as East Ridge hosted a quadrangular that included Woodbury, Park and Sauk Rapids-Rice.
The Raptors went 3-0 on the night with the closest dual being the Woodbury dual. Woodbury finished the night with a 2-1 record with the only loss coming from East Ridge.
Park completed the night with an 0-3 record, but had a close dual with Sauk Rapids-Rice.
East Ridge and Woodbury
The Raptors started the night with a dual against Sauk Rapid-Rice and East Ridge completed the dual in dominating fashion with a 55-16 win.
Woodbury has had a strong first dual against Park as the Royals won 48-25 and had some strong production from the middle weight classes.
Both teams built some confidence heading into the East Ridge and Woodbury dual, but both teams realize the rivalry and know what's at stake.
"Anytime we have Park and East Ridge in the same building as Woodbury, there's going to be a lot of people that are excited and the crowd is going to feed our kids," said Woodbury's head coach Justin Smith. "I thought they did a nice job of taking that emotion and bringing it to the mat."
In the Woodbury and East Ridge dual, the Raptors took an early lead with the first two matches as Matt Hogue and Johnny LaCore scored 10 points right away. With East Ridge up 10-0, Woodbury came back with Cade Johnson earning a pin and Cole West having a major decision in his match. The dual was tied at 10-10.
Then, East Ridge had a turn and regained the lead with a pin from Ryder Rogotzke and Hunter Lyden to make it a 22-10 Raptor lead. Brady Moesenthin fought hard against Royce Hogue and ended the match with a 4-2 win to make it a 22-13 lead for the Raptors.
East Ridge stretched that lead as Roman Rogotzke finished his match with a fall and gave the Raptors six more points to make it a 28-13 lead. Woodbury came storming back with a pin from Sam Ellis and Brock Rinehart, which trimmed the lead to 28-25 for East Ridge.
Ethan Pittman earned a big win for East Ridge as he defeated Donald Nde 4-3 and gave the Raptors a 31-25 lead. That lead became a tie when Tre Hockenberger pinned Guy Bruflodt and made the dual a 31-31 tie.
Woodbury gained a 37-31 lead after a forfeit from East Ridge and all eyes went on Cavallaro and Barrows in the last match of the dual. Cavallaro earned the pin to tie the game at 37-37 and that pin also gave the Raptors a one-pin lead to win the tiebreaker and also win the dual against Woodbury.
"It helps to get a win against Woodbury," Cavallaro said. "We're ranked above [Woodbury] and it shouldn't have been that close, so we know what we have to work on. We need to be ready to beat Hastings in sections, so we got a long way to go."
As for Woodbury, the Royals feel like tonight was a good measuring stick knowing it's about the halfway point before sections and state tournaments start to take place.
"We were able to feel it a little more," West said. "We were able to feel where we are and where we need to be, so it was a great measuring stick to see what we need to work on individually and as a team."
After the dual, each team had one more dual left to conclude the night. Woodbury and East Ridge each earned the win in the last dual's with dominating wins.
Woodbury finished the night with a 55-9 win over Sauk Rapids-Rice after some strong wrestling matches from the Royals. East Ridge took home the victory over Park with a 54-18 final score to conclude the night with a perfect 3-0 record.
The Wolfpack started the night against Woodbury and came up short with a 48-25 loss, but Park had some strong performances by a handful of wrestlers.
The dual started with a 10-4 decision by Park's Zach Silvis to give the Wolfpack a 3-0 lead right away. Then, Antonio Rizzo scored some points for Woodbury to give the Royals the lead. After that lead change, it became all Royals with four straight victories.
Park captured a pin in the 145-pound match, but Woodbury came back with three straight victories in the next weight classes. Edric Waindim came out for Park and won his match with a major decision to give the Wolfpack four more points.
The dual ended with two straight pins for Park with Krystiyan Mullen and Antonio Davis each earning a fall.
"Section opponents are always fun to face," Johnson said. "You get to see who really wants to win and who really wants to go to state."
After the first dual, Park went on to face Sauk Rapids-Rice in the second dual of the night. The Wolfpack were fighting in each weight class, but fell short as Park lost 40-30 in the second dual.
The final dual was against East Ridge. The Raptors came out first with a close 3-2 win for Matt Hogue. After that match, Park forfeited the next six matches to give the Raptors a 39-0 lead.
After all the forfeits, Royce Hogue defeated Solomon Lankow in a close 8-6 decision to give East Ridge a 42-0 lead.
With Roman Rogotzke's pin and Pittman's decision, the Raptors had a 51-0 lead. Park came back with a few wins as Noah Johnson and Mullen each earned pins in their matches. Reese Lanegren also earned points in a forfeit.
East Ridge was leading 51-18 and Cavallaro ended the dual with a 5-2 decision to make it a 54-18 win for the Raptors.
"This night boosts the team's confidence," Lyden said. "It's great to see the fans out here supporting the teams and it's back to practice tomorrow to continue getting better."
All three teams have about a week of rest to prepare for big invitationals over the weekend of Jan. 18 and 19.
Park will be wrestling at Stillwater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. After that dual, the Wolfpack will be heading to East Ridge once again for an individual tournament over the weekend.
East Ridge will be hosting this invitational on Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan. 19. The invitational is for individuals and will be have brackets for each weight class. The action starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Woodbury will be heading over to Eastview for an invitational at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19.
"I've liked that we keep fighting and putting the pressure on our opponents," said East Ridge's head coach Matt Everson. "We are finding ways to score and letting the kids grow as individual wrestlers."