After a hard-fought battle at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul March 2-4, the Buccaneers came away with a couple of medals for their work at the state wrestling tournament.
Junior Zach Buseman and senior Cole Klinkner, two of five Blue Earth Area wrestlers who earned a trip to the state tourney after Section 2A competition, had fourth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively, after two days of individual matches.
Buseman, ranked No. 2 heading into St. Paul, had a perfect opening day at the tournament with wins over Crookston and Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena opponents before advancing to Saturday's 152-pound third-place match.
Zach Buseman, above, had a fourth-place finish for the Buccaneers at St. Paul’s state wrestling tournament March 2-4.
Klinkner, meanwhile, mirrored Buseman's spotless opening day before wrestling his way to the 145-pound fifth-place match after slip-ups in the semifinals and wrestleback follow-up.
Buseman, who finished his fourth state appearance with a record of 40-7, rallied from a 3-2 semifinal loss to No. 6-ranked Keaton Long, of West Central Area, to log a 1-0 wrestleback victory over Matt Schindler, of Eden Valley-Watkins, and contend for third place in Class A.
Squaring off with No. 1-ranked Kelby O'Reilly, of Goodhue, Buseman was unable to claim the No. 3 spot with a 4-1 defeat. But a fourth-place finish earned him the highest marks of any individual wrestler representing BEA at the tournament.
He kicked off his state journey with a big preliminary match win over Crookston's Preston Desrosier, too.
Klinkner, on the other hand, who ended his senior campaign with a 31-11 record at 145 pounds, was downed by No. 4-ranked Maverick Jackson, of Zumbrota-Mazeppa, in a 6-1 semifinals decision after Klinkner stole a quarterfinals match against No. 5-ranked Kaden Spindler, of West Central Area, 8-2.
Unlike his opening-day performance, in which he also cruised past Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg's Caleb Collins, 3-0, Klinkner was unable to top his foes on Saturday, earning sixth place after a 5-2 wrestleback loss vs. Chandler Mooney, of Roseau, and a tight 6-5 defeat at the hands of Spindler.
As for the other Buccaneers wrestling in St. Paul, No. 6-ranked Jesus Quintero went 1-1 in the first day of action before falling to Jacob Arends, of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, prior to the medal round.
Senior Jared Armon and freshman Caden Ochsendorf, meanwhile, were both eliminated from contention on the opening day of the tourney.
Quintero, wrestling at 182 pounds, was taken down in a 4-2 decision that ended his run after a .500 performance out of the gate.
Armon, BEA's 195-pounder, was pinned by Dominik Vacura, of Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, then eliminated after Vacura later dropped a 7-0 quarterfinal decision to Jacob Bennett, of Zumbrota-Mazeppa.
Ochsendorf, facing off with No. 1-ranked St. Charles wrestler Mark Buringa at 120 pounds, lost 12-3 and was then edged, 6-4, in a wrestleback opportunity against Seth Johnson, from Osakis.
Other Buc wrestlers who did not make a state appearance placed in the top six at the Section 2A Tournament. They included Davis Sunken, Koby Nagel, Dalton Nagel, Jaxon Klinkner and Jordan Huse. Armon and Cole Klinkner, meanwhile, were Section 2A champs prior to state.