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East Ridge wrestling: Raptors topped by Mounds View in season opener

East Ridge senior Nate Tigges tries to hold down Mounds View’s Vincent Belsito at 182 pounds Thursday in Mounds View. Tigges lost 12-3 and the Raptors fell 41-27 in the dual. 1 / 2
East Ridge senior Burleigh Holder looks for an opening Thursday at 160 pounds against Mounds View’s Andrew Bjorkland. Holder earned a 5-1 decision. (Bulletin photos by Nick Gerhardt) 2 / 2

East Ridge’s season got off to a tough start Thursday with a 41-27 loss to Mounds View at Mounds View High School.

The Raptors won just five matches, including a forfeit victory. East Ridge senior Ryan Thompson pinned Mounds View’s Calvin Ciganik in 1 minute, 50 seconds at 120 pounds to start a string of four consecutive victories for the Raptors. East Ridge sophomore MJ Okada earned a 6-4 decision­ at 126 pounds over Karl Keeler, while Reid Lyden won 9-2 over Sam McGinnity at 132 pounds and senior Josh Stensgard pinned Mounds View’s Harris Deno at 5:33 as the Raptors took a 18-12 lead.

East Ridge senior Burleigh Holder earned a 5-1 decision at 160 pounds to cut the deficit to 23-15 temporarily.

For both the team and first-year head coach Wayne Otto the meet proved more of a get to know each other event with Otto seeing his team in action for the first time.

“We have a bunch of kids that aren’t used to our system so what this is for us is a starting point,” Otto said. “Now we can go back into the room and see how they wrestle and now we can take what they do good and improve upon it and what they don’t do well, change that and coach that up. Up until this point it’s a guessing game. You can’t find much from wrestling the same guys in the room all day long.”

Otto said the team did better than he expected in the first dual of the season and saw some character being built.

“We could have done a little better in some spots, but like I was telling the kids this last match, ‘We could have laid down and gotten pinned. But we didn’t. That’s character there,’” Otto said. “That’s what we’re looking for out of our first meet.”

The Mustangs went on win the final six matches, the final two by forfeit. Mounds View picked up bonus points in three of those matches.

Lyden secured his 150th career victory Saturday at the Maple Grove Invite on his way to winning the 132-pound weight class.

Lyden was one of five Raptors wrestlers to place at the meet. Ryan Thompson placed third at 113 pounds, Jamze Powers took sixth, Nate Tigges took second and Jimmy Vitt finished sixth.

Lyden opened the tournament with a fall against Minnetonka’s Harrison Scane in 3 minutes, 27 seconds. Lyden went on to beat Roseville’s December Hltoo 9-2 in the semifinals and pinned Sauk Rapids-Rice’s Korey Keske in 3:48 for the championship.

East Ridge will hold the East Ridge Tournament Saturday at Concordia College in St. Paul.

—Nick Gerhardt