The Scott West Wrestling Team completed their holiday wrestling season over the weekend by traveling to Fargo, North Dakota, where the Panthers competed in the 14th edition of the Rumble on the Red Championships held at the NDSU Fargodome. Scott West wrestled their way to an 11th place team finish out of a tournament field of 58 teams with this year’s event won by New Prague as the Trojans scored 146 teams points to outdistance second place Northfield and third place Farmington by a comfortable margin.
The always tough Scott West Wrestling schedule will certainly continue to be just that as the Panthers ring in the New Year with the top three teams from the Rumble on the Red Championship.
“It should make for some really good wrestling in January as we have New Prague on the road and Northfield and Farmington at home with one in Jordan and the other in Belle Plaine,” suggested Coach Ripley. “We will have to be ready to wrestle at our best if we want to have an opportunity to compete and win against any of those teams.”
One Scott West wrestler who was ready to wrestle at his best last weekend in Fargo was Panther senior 160 pounder Jace Demmers, just a week removed from a disappointing 3-2 performance in Rochester that left him knocked out of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament without a place. Despite the disappointing MCT performance, Demmers was given the #1 seed in his bracket and this time the Panther wrestler made his wrestling back up the seeded expectations. After cruising to the Rumble on the Red Championship round with four wins that included a 6-1 win over Albert Lea’s AAA #3 rated Caleb Talamantes, Demmers took to the championship mat #1 where he wrestled against Fairmont Martin County West Red Bull and AA’s #3 rated Miles Fitzgerald. After losing the opening take down to the Red Bull, Demmers got an escape and a 3-2 first period lead as he secured a leg attack take down. Demmers went on to win the championship match 4-3 as each wrestler traded an escape in the next two periods with the Panther wrestler holding off a late match Fitzgerald scoring attempt with a strong whizzer.
“We like to say that a loss does not have to define you but how you respond to it does,” responded Coach Ripley. “After the two MCT losses, the Rumble on the Red gave Jace an opportunity to respond to that and he did with a very positive definition.”
Demmers’s very positive, definitive response did not just end with the Rumble on the Championship placing for the 160 pound bracket as there was still more to come. Although the Scott West Panthers had won five Rumble on the Red Team Championships with the latest coming in December of 2017, they had never had a wrestler selected to be the Outstanding Wrestler (OW) of the event. However, that all changed on Saturday as Jace Demmers was selected as the Rumble on the Red OW for the upper weight classes from 152 through Hwt. and the Red Bulls’ Jaxson Rohman at 126 was selected as the light weight classes’ OW from 106 through 145.
Whenever you are wrestling for high placings at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and/or the Rumble on the Red Championships, you are always in some pretty good company and that was certainly the case regarding Scott West sophomore lightweight Zach Tracy as he wrestled his way to a third place Rumble on the Red finish at 106 after finishing 7th at the Fargodome last year.
After reaching the quarterfinal round with two fairly easy wins, Tracy found himself in a dogfight for the remainder of the tournament, wrestling four one-point matches to close out the tournament, winning three and losing one. The first one-point match came in that quarterfinal round where the Scott West lightweight made a first period take down hold up in a 2-1 win over Woodbury’s #3 rated Alex Braun.
The Tracy win over Braun advanced him to the semi-final round where he squared off against New Prague’s #5 rated Koy Buesgens, the wrestler that had beaten him twice just the week before at the MCT. Although this match at the Rumble on the Red would be the closest of their three encounters this year, Buesgens advanced to the championship match as the Trojan wrestler used a second period ride out and third period escape to win the match 1-0.
Following the loss to Buesgens, Tracy bounced back to take third place as he bettered Aitkin’s #10 rated Marshall Larson 3-2 before coming back in his final match of the tournament to beat Prior Lake’s Alan Keohler 3-2.
Points often don’t matter when Scott West senior 220 pound wrestler Hunter Struffert takes to the mat; the Panther big guy wrestled eight matches during the Rumble on the Red Championships and seven of them ended up with a pin fall call. Fortunately for Struffert and Scott West, five of those seven pin fall calls were for Struffert as the Panther wrestler went on to duplicate his 5th place showing at the Fargodome from a year ago. The only match of the eight that did not end in a pin fall call for Struffert came against his former Section 2AA rival Sam McEnelly as the two wrestlers wrestled for the fifth time in their careers over the last two years. Trailing 3-1 going into the third period, Struffert used an escape, take down and ride out for a 4-3 win, his fourth over the Wildcat opponent. The win over McEnelly kept Struffert alive in the consolation bracket of the tournament, and when he took Red Bull Jason Rahn to his back in his next match for the first period pin fall call, that secured his tournament placing. After losing by fall to Delano’s #2 rated Edward Hajes, Struffert came back in his fifth place match with another pin of his own as he recorded his fifth fall of the tournament over Farmington’s #8 rated Luke Weierke.
It will be awhile before there are anymore pin fall calls in Scott West Wrestling as the Panthers will have a break in the action and are not scheduled to wrestle until Thursday, January 9, when they travel to AAA’s #10 rated Woodbury for a quad that will include East Ridge and Park. Scott West will follow up the Woodbury Quad with a trip to Wisconsin for the River Valley Invitational on Saturday, January 11.
Scott West Wrestling Team
Schedule / Results
Nov. 27: Quad @ Anoka (canceled due to weather)
Dec. 5: Wayzata 25, SW 43
Dec. 7: Tournament @ Lakeville North High School [1st Place]
Dec. 13: Prior Lake H.S. 21, SW 41
Dec. 20-21: Minnesota Christmas Tournament @ Rochester RCTC Field House [20th Place]
Dec. 27-28: Rumble on the Red @ Fargo, North Dakota [11th Place]
Jan. 9: Triangular @ Woodbury High School
Jan. 11: TBA @ River Valley High School
Jan. 16: vs. Northfield @ Jordan Middle School-large gym
Jan. 18: @ Eastview H.S.
Jan. 23: @ New Prague H.S.
Jan. 25: @ Conference Tournament @ Belle Plaine H.S.
Jan. 30: Triangular @ Maple Grove High School
Jan. 31: vs. Farmington @ Belle Plaine High School
Feb. 6: vs. Watertown-Mayer
Feb. 7: Triangular @ Annandale High School
Feb. 13: Sectional Tournament @ Jordan High School