Gator wrestlers make history, capture back-to-back section crowns

Gator 126-pound wrestler Brogan Beito allowed the Frazee Hornets’ Lukas Volstad to score a reversal and take him down two times in a 36-second window in the second period during Section 8A Championship dual action. Volstad let Beito up again, leading Beito 8-3 at the time and looking to score more.

Volstad would get in on another shot, but this time Beito hit a move he has hit numerous times this season— a neck wrench throw— taking Volstad to his back at the edge of the mat with 1:07 left in the period. Eighteen seconds later, the Gator crowd roared and Beito jumped to his feet in celebration following a pin; the Gators led 15-3.

This dramatic turnaround later proved to help provide the difference in a 41-30 Gator victory, giving the team back-to-back section team titles for the first time in program history, but the eighth section title overall, following action at Fertile-Beltrami High School on February 14.

Asked if he felt like he was going to end it when he hit that move, Beito said yes.

“When I hit it, it was tight,” Beito said. “I could tell by the way he arched his back into it and I tripped him.”

During last year’s section championship team dual, Beito didn’t give up a pin, but just a technical fall, saving a team point in the Gators’ 31-30 win over Frazee and getting congratulated for it. This time, he would get congratulated, but for a different and surprising reason for both him and Gator Head Coach Isaac Novacek.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to win going out there,” Beito said. “I knew I had to do my job and not get pinned, not give up any bonus points, and it was a big win.”

Before entering the teammate tunnel coming off the mat following his pin, Beito yelled and Coach Novacek held out two hands for a high five. Coach Novacek also let out a celebratory yell too, as he walked towards the head table to check in his next wrestler.

“He’s got his one move with that neck wrench and he hit it and the kid (Volstad) is pinned instantly,” Coach Novacek said. “Right there, it took their (Frazee’s) wind out of their sails and we knew something great was going to happen at that point.”

Speaking of rallying back, to get to this championship dual required a late comeback by the Gators in a 31-29 semifinal victory over the United North Central Warriors earlier that same day. Halfway through this dual, the Gators trailed 21-6 before winning five of the last seven matches, including the final three, to rally back and advance. Since his team’s come-from-behind home win over the Fosston/Bagley Brawlers, Coach Novacek has seen a consistent attitude from his team.

“It’s been just a never say die attitude. Our quote has been… ‘Leave no stone unturned,’” Coach Novacek said. “And basically what that means is leave everything you got on the mat and we did it. We did it.”

Gator 152-pounder Andy Dostal commented on what the message was to the team to get through these tight duals— one related to composure and a team-first mindset.

“We can’t get too high with the highs or (too) low with the lows,” Dostal said. “We got to keep wrestling till the dual is over basically, and just wrestle as a team, as a whole, and not get too hung up on other matches.”

Outside Beito’s victory, the team achieved this section title thanks to other emotional performances from top to bottom. To read about those performances, read the February 20 issue of The Tribune in print or online at page1publications.com.

One of five seniors on this year’s team, Dostal was “speechless” when asked about what it meant to him to help lead his team to state in his final season.

“It’s kind of a priceless moment for my career and for our seniors’ career(s),” Dostal said. “But I guess the goal tonight was repeat as section champs and do what’s never been done before.”

Asked about his team clinching back-to-back section titles, Beito responded, “It’s amazing… no team’s ever done it in (Badger/)Greenbush(-Middle River) wrestling, so it’s cool to be the first.”

Now, the Gators will head to Crookston High School on Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22 for the Section 8A Individual Tournament. Then, as a team, the Gators will travel to the state tournament on Wednesday, February 27. The Gators open first round state Class A team action from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday, February 27 versus top-seeded and Section 5A Champion, the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville Wolves at 9 am.

The Gators have made program history, but the team looks to improve off its performance as a team at state last season—one seeing the Gators go 0-2— and perhaps make even more history.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win it (a state title), but we’re going to start and just try to bring some hardware home at first,” Dostal said. “But we’re going for it all this year.”

Section 8A Gator Dual Results:
Quarterfinals (in Greenbush on February 11): Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 57 Fertile-Beltrami 16
106- Jaxon Janousek (BGMR) over Daunte Yost (FB) Dec 4-3
113- Danyn Janousek (BGMR) win by forfeit
120- Tony Olson (BGMR) over Seth Lavalier (FB) Dec 6-5
126- Brogan Beito (BGMR) over Wesley Ramberg (FB) Dec 10-7
132- Tyler Henderson (FB) over Damian Hanson (BGMR) Fall :33
138- Hunter Hitchen (FB) over Garrett Undeberg (BGMR) Fall 2:31
145- Levi Qualley (FB) over Tristan Locken (BGMR) Maj Dec 14-4
152- Andy Dostal (BGMR) over Tyler Stuhaug (FB) Fall :47
160- Ethan Waage (BGMR) win by forfeit
170- Caleb Vacura (BGMR) win by forfeit
182- Nathan Waage (BGMR) over Micah Herbel (FB) Fall :57
195- Jacob Bergsnev (BGMR) win by forfeit
220- Dominik Vacura (BGMR) win by forfeit
285- Colten Gust (BGMR) over Jude Olson (FB) Fall 1:12

Semifinals (in Fertile on February 14): Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 31 United North Central 29
106- Jaxon Janousek (BGMR) over Aaron Lake (UNC) Dec 9-2
113- Reid Pinoniemi (UNC) over Danyn Janousek (BGMR) Dec 11-6
120- Ethan Hendrickson (UNC) over Christian Berg (BGMR) Fall :36
126- Hunter Skaro (UNC) over Tony Olson Dec 7-6
132- Dylan Rasmussen (UNC) over Brogan Beito (BGMR) Fall 1:36
138- Garrett Undeberg (BGMR) over Hank Tellers (UNC) Dec 3-2
145- Collin O Olson (UNC) over Tristan Locken (BGMR) Dec 12-8
152- Andy Dostal (BGMR) over Eion Ness (UNC) Maj Dec 9-1
160- Dakota Meech (UNC) over Ethan Waage (BGMR) Dec 11-4
170- Caleb Vacura (BGMR) over Cooper Hasbaugen (UNC) Fall :31
182- Vince Dailey (UNC) over Nathan Waage (BGMR) Tech Fall 15-0
195- Jacob Bergsnev (BGMR) over Torrey Carlson (UNC) Dec 10-5
220- Dominik Vacura (BGMR) over Justin Gonska (UNC) Fall :18
285- Colten Gust (BGMR) over Marcus Peterson (UNC) Fall :51

Finals (in Fertile on February 14): Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 41 Frazee 30
106- Jaxon Janousek (BGMR) over Cade Nagel (Frazee) Fall 5:36
113- Jake Nagel (Frazee) over Danyn Janousek (BGMR) Dec 8-1
120- Tony Olson (BGMR) over Christian Carlson (Frazee) Dec 3-2
126- Brogan Beito (BGMR) over Lukas Volstad (Frazee) Fall 3:11
132- Garrett Undeberg (BGMR) over Seth Isola (Frazee) Dec 6-4
138- Preston Mayfield (Frazee) over Damian Hanson (BGMR) Fall :32
145- Kaden Hiemenz (Frazee) over Tristan Locken (BGMR) Fall :31
152- Andy Dostal (BGMR) over Brock Barlund (Frazee) Tech Fall 20-5
160- Mason Newling (Frazee) over Ethan Waage (BGMR) Dec 5-1
170- Caleb Vacura (BGMR) over Danny Graham (Frazee) Fall 1:03
182- Brett Graham (Frazee) over Nathan Waage (BGMR) Fall 1:29
195- Luke Tweeton (Frazee) over Jacob Bergsnev (BGMR) Fall 1:20
220- Dominik Vacura (BGMR) over Byron Kropuenske (Frazee) Fall :56
285- Colten Gust (BGMR) over Wesley Kropuenske (Frazee) Fall 1:38

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