The Park wrestling team opened the season with a pair of wins in the Suburban East Conference before taking fifth place in the 15-team Panther Invite in Lakeville.
“It’s a good start,” Park head coach Jim LaBrosse said. “We’re right about where we want to be. We want to stay healthy and see what we can do.”
Park hit the mat for the first time this season at home on Dec. 5 in a triangular with Cretin-Derham Hall and Roseville.
Park beat Cretin-Derham Hall 45-25 then took down Roseville 45-27 to start the year 2-0 in the SEC.
In the win over CDH, Garrett Whitehead won 10-5 at 113 pounds, Daniel Duval won with a pin at 138 pounds, Jake Lanik won with a pin at 152 pounds and Justin Sabin pinned his opponent at 285 pounds. Collin LaBrosse, Daniel Duval, David Giadyu, Cory Flaata and Cody Linssen all won by forfeit.
In the win over Roseville, Park’s Baily Thurmes won with a pin at 106 pounds, Whitehead won with a pin at 113 pounds, Collin LaBrosse won with a pin at 126 pounds, Giadyu pinned his opponent at 145 pounds, Flaata won with a pin at 182 pounds and Linssen won with a pin 41 seconds into his match at 220 pounds. Also, Austin Thurmes won 8-7 at 132 pounds and Devin Hubbard won with a forfeit at 195 pounds.
Park had two champions at the Lakeville Invitational. Collin LaBrosse, who is ranked third in Class AAA, won at 120 pounds and Linssen, who is ranked sixth in Class AA, took first place at 220 pounds. Giadyu, who is ranked eighth in Class AAA, earned second place at 138 pounds and Flaata (170 pounds) and Whitehead (113 pounds) each earned third place.
Overall, Park was fifth with 119 points. Scott West won the tournament with 239 points.
“We wanted to be in the top three and bring home some hardware, but we got fifth at a pretty good tournament,” Jim LaBrosse said. “Scott West walked away with it. Lakeville North is very good too. A match here or there and we could’ve moved up a spot or two. We were pretty happy with that.”
One unfortunate aspect of the year for Park is the loss of Zach Wills for the season with a knee injury he suffered this past fall on the football field.
“That hurts us a lot,” Jim LaBrosse said. “He was a 23-match winner last year. The good thing is he is a sophomore and he’ll have plenty of time with us.”
Park is at Forest Lake for a dual meet on Thursday, then hosts the Wolfpack Invitational on Saturday at Park High School. Wrestling starts at 9:30 a.m. and should conclude at roughly 3 or 4 p.m.
“It should be a tough tournament,” Jim LaBrosse said. “We have some tough teams coming in.”